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Arab Levantines
Total Population ~21 million
Languages Arab, Levantine
Religion Sunni Islam, Shi'ite Islam
Related ethnic groups Arab Levantines

Arab Levantines are citizens or residents of the Levantine States who are a part of the ethnically Arab people within the Levant. However, because an important segment of the ethnic Levantines have Arab heritage and sometimes continue to speak a dialect of Arab sometimes Islam (which is nearly exclusive to Arabs within the Levant) is considered the defining factor, Arab Christians having grown to be considered a part of the ethnic Levantine people.

HistoryEdit

Small amounts of Arab people had already started to trickle into the Levant by the 2nd Century BCE, having a large amount of interchange with the ancient Semitic populations. Often these early arrivals were nomadic Arab Christians finding a relatively tolerant safe-haven in the Levant on the fringes of the Talemantine Empire. This trend continued for a number of centuries, Arab presence and cultural influence in the Levant generally building up, focused around the centre of the central Levantine highlands and in the west bordered to the north by the Mashkita region. Within these areas they were often a minority, yet a fairly integrated and accepted one. This would change with the onset of the Islamic time.

ShaddadidMosque

The Shaddadid Mosque in Dimashq

Around 690, (islamic) Arab population movements into the Levant had increased, this would only intensify through the arrival of the Third Caliphate, which took advantage of the crisis of the Talemantine Empire, struggling with the Slavs as well. The Third Caliphate establishes control over much of the Levant, although this control becomes more tentative along the coast where Khazar-Berber Corsairs are more dominant, and the Third Caliphate is restricted to a number of allied ports. While an important amount of the Arab population during these times remains devout Christians, many of them start to turn towards Islam, which was only encouraged by the Caliphate. Around 780, the Third Caliphate started to collapse, and centred around the Eastern Levant the Shaddadid Caliphate was established, it's capital in Dimashq.

Under the Shaddadid Caliphate, the Arabs in the Levant would prosper, much of their most impressive buildings were build in these times and the Shaddadid Caliphate was one of most prosperous and rich Islamic nations. The colors of the Shaddadid flag, blue and green, remain a symbol for the Levantine Arabs to this day, recurring in the flags of the states of Nabatea and Assuria. Stagnation and later an economic crisis started the decline of the Shaddadid Caliphate some decades before the crusades, the first crusade in 1095 made use of this crisis and a succession of weak leaders to first establish dominance in Judea, capturing Jerusalem and several vital ports such as Antioch.

Shaddadid

The Shaddadid Flag

The coming centuries would bring more crusades and would consist of intermittent warfare with the Kingdom of Jerusalem, the other Crusader states and the Bagration Kingdom, which united in the Kingdom of the Levant. By 1300, the year the citadel of Dimashq is finally taken after the lengthy Siege of Dimashq the prosperity enjoyed by the Arabs 3 centuries ago is long gone, many of them in the north have either converted or been massacred. Under Levantine rule, the numbers of Arabs slowly begin to dwindle. Many of the Christianized Arabs would grow to consider themselves ethnic Levantines, others would migrate to Islamic countries. Muslim arabs were generally considered to be of a lower class, forced to pay special taxes and generally shunned from the northern regions.

It wasn't until the 16th century (and after a large amount of muslim revolts) that a more tolerant and ecumenical monarchy evolved which was respectful of the different ethnicities and religions in the Levant. Increasing amounts of Orientalism among the white populations which had come through the Crusades causes an explosion in Arab-inspired architecture and art, however most Arabs remained part of a lower class (except for a handful of influential families) the traditionally Arab regions continue to be considered backwaters in the eyes of the government, the Arabs not necessarily being oppressed, but still being exploited. Over the centuries, within the monarchy minority rights and tolerance became something philanthropic. Whereas the military caste would often have a disregard for such things, the monarchy did not. This was especially true for the Hadrian Dynasty, during which the special tax for non-christians was eliminated and the rights of Muslims and Jews became well protected.

Thus it was not a surprise that during the Levantine Revolution of 1837, many Arabs choose the side of the monarchy supporting King Jaume. Others however hoped to establish an independent Arab state, stretching across most of the southern Levant, the secessionists would even hold Dimashq for two months. The infighting between the secessionists and the monarchists however meant that only few Arabs could aid the main body of the monarchists in the north, and the freethinkers and the military were victorious. The Arab resistance to it's establishment meant that the Republic, while progressive in many aspects was not the most tolerant towards the Arabs, Lord-Protector Galeazzo Masucci on a number of occasion attacking the Islamic faith, this bred discontent across the south and this eventually culminated into the institutional crisis of 1911 during which there were a number of riots in major Arab cities.

Arabpops

The shaded area is where the Levantine Arabs are a majority

The compromise created under the auspices of President of the Levant David Gerges (who rather importantly was fluent in Arab) gave more rights to the separate states, giving the Arab states a degree of self-governance, and created a Levantine constitution guaranteeing all people's and religions of the Levant the same rights. His Presidency, and that of his second-in-command Emmanuel Mola stabilized the Levant and managed to improve the situation in the south. Had it looked like the Arabs were to secede in 1911, by the end of Mola's second Presidency in 1933, the Levant was one stable nation, where the Arabs were an accepted and growing class, although to this day the socio-economic situation of the Arabs is significantly worse.

DemographicsEdit

Over the course of history the number of arabs in the Levant has highly fluctuated, peaking during the late-Shaddadid era when the Arabs were a vast majority. Up to the 1800's, migration and assimilation into the Levantine culture lowered the number of Arabs significantly. However, more tolerant policies and relatively high birth rates have led to the Arabs to become the quickest growing population in the Levant, having doubled in size since the start of the 20th century. At this time there are an estimated 21 million Levantine Arabs, and 2 million ethnic Levantines who identify themselves partially as Arab. Combined this is adds up to a total of about 25 percent.

The total Arab Levantine population is centred in the middle and south-west of the Levant, in southern Akkad, Assuria, Babel, Gilgamesh and Nabatea. There are also Arab communities in Antioch, and in many of the larger cities across the north there are Arab communities. A significant amount of Levantine Arabs continue to live on the countryside, though this has been a changing trend many younger Arabs have been leaving the countryside coming to the cities in the north to work. Among the Arab higher class, there has also been a trend to study (and sometimes stay) in Islamic countries such as Hajr and Wazistan.

ReligionEdit

90 percent of all Arabs in the Levant are Islamic, either Sunni or Shi'ite. Most of the historically Christian Arabs having assimilated into the ethnic Levantine group, and about half of all historically Arab Jews in the Levant still speaks Arabic. On the countryside of Akkad and Gilgamesh there are still Arab Christian and Jewish villages which have persevered through time. It is rare for an Arab to openly declare himself atheist, and is almost unheard of in traditionally Arab areas, the number of openly atheist Arabs is estimated at 4 percent of the total Arab population, and is almost exclusive to Phoenicia and Carthage

Contemporary issuesEdit

Ethnic groups in the Levant
Arab Levantines - Berber-Levantine - Cilicians - Iberians - Jewish Levantines - Levantines - Khazanites
Minor ethnic groups: Angmarites - Bahrevandi - Bhurjedans - Chaldeans - Dhruze - Narikalans - Slavic Levantines - Talemantine Levantines - Yevonites

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