Americans at War in the Ottoman Empire examines the role of mercenary figures in negotiating relations between the United States and the Ottoman Empire in the nineteenth century. Mercenaries are often treated as historical footnotes, yet their encounters with the Ottoman world contributed to US culture and the impressions they left behind continue to influence US approaches to Africa and the Middle East. The book's analysis of these mercenary encounters and their legacies begins with the Battle of Derna in 1805-in which the US flag was raised above a battlefield for the first time outside of North America with the help of a mercenary army-and concludes with the British occupation of Egypt in 1882-which was witnessed and criticized by many of the US Civil War veterans who worked for the Egyptian government in the 1870s and 1880s. By focusing these mercenary encounters through the lenses of memory, sovereignty, literature, geography, and diplomacy, Americans at War in the Ottoman Empire reveals the ways in which mercenary force, while marginal in terms of its frequency and scope, produced important knowledge about the Ottoman world and helped to establish the complicated relationship of intimacy and mastery that exists between Americans in the United States and people in Libya, Egypt, Sudan, Uganda, South Sudan, and Turkey.
About the Author
Eric Covey is a 2018-19 Fulbright U.S. Scholar and Visiting Assistant Professor of Area Studies in the Department of History and Diplomatic Studies at the University of Abuja, Nigeria. He completed his PhD in American Studies at the University of Texas at Austin in 2014 and was previously Visiting Assistant Professor of American studies at Miami University in Ohio, USA.
Table of Contents
List of Figures viii
1 Memory and Exceptionalism at the Battle of Derna, 1805 12
2 Sovereign Equality among Men and Nations, 1815 - 28 55
3 Literary Mercenaries in Istanbul,1831- 53 98
4 The Monstrous Geography of Central Africa, 1874-75 125
5 Mercenary Diplomacy on the Nile, 1869 - 82 159