Fallujah in the Writings of Foreign Travelers in the Ottoman Era


Writings of foreign travelers have a prominent place in the modern history of Fallujah, their views cannot be found in other sources. These writings have tackled economic, social, cultural and archaeological themes. However, one must be cautious in dealing with the information derived from such writings.

This research paper investigates the writings of travelers to Fallujah from the second half of the 16th century to the beginning of the 20th century. The journeys of these travelers were motivated by factors relating to geographic exploration, economic interests, scientific field studies, and intelligence activities.

In search of a trade route to the east of Asia and India, Western colonial governments started exploring routes through the Cape of Good Hope and the Euphrates. Fallujah was the final destination along the Euphrates route, and many travelers journeyed there, and their writings contain descriptions of important stopping places along the river, the charming nature along the landscape, as well as the risks and difficulties of navigation. Travelers also recorded their views and observations of Fallujah’s houses, local economy, and the role of its port as a final travel destination en route Baghdad. The study offers new insights concerning some of the most prominent travelers who passed through Fallujah, including Cesar Frederick, Leonhardt Rauwolff, and Ralph Fitch. The information provided by these travelers can serve as a basis for a hypothesis suggesting that Fallujah was not established in the late 19th century, as some modern scholars argue but was actually re-discovered during this period, having already thrived for several centuries.

Keywords: Foreign Travelers; Iraq; Ottoman Era; Euphrates; Fallujah.