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al-Muntada al-Adabia was an organisation set up in the last years of the Ottoman Empire to promote Arabic culture. Its publicly stated aims were non-political but it became an incubator for the growing Arab Nationalist movement.

The 1908 Committee of Union and Progress, Young Turk, revolution promised to implement political reforms and the establishment of a constitutional government across the Ottoman Empire. The revolution was greeted with approval across the Arab world amongst those who hoped for more recognition of the Arabic language and Arabic culture. In practice the new regime sought to increase central control from Constantinople and to impose Ottoman Turkish as the language of government across the empire.

In 1909 a group of Arab politicians and intellectuals opened a club house in Constantinople with meeting rooms, a library and a hostel. They called it al-Muntada al-Adabi - the Literary Club. Initially, since it had no political agenda it was accepted by the CUP authorities. It was an immediate success, swiftly reaching a membership of several thousand, mostly students, with branches in Syria and Iraq.

Following the outbreak of the First World War the organisation came under suspicion of involvement in anti-Ottoman activities. In 1915 four members of the Beirut branch were hanged for treason.[1]


  1. ^ Antonius, George (1938) The Arab Awakening. The Story of the Arab National Movement. Hamish Hamilton. (1945 edition). pp.108,109