PALESTINE: Whose Jiftlik?

He had a string of titles — Abdul Hamid II, Sultan of Turkey, Caliph of Islam, Prince of the Faithful, Master of the World and Custodian of the Cities of Mecca and Medina — but he was better known during his reign (1876-1909) as Abdul the Damned. He squatted within a triple-walled palace at Constantinople, amassed women (four wives, 233 concubines) and wealth ($112,000,000 in jewels, millions more in oilfields and other jiftlik, or crown lands). In 1920, after he and his sick empire had died, his numerous heirs began one of the most fantastic inheritance suits of all...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!