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Lawrence of Arabia
The Players T.E. Lawrence Prince Feisal General Allenby King Hussein Dahoum Winston Churchill Lowell Thomas Auda Abu Tayeh Arab Revolt Battle Features The Show Resources Classroom Resources Home  
Prince Feisal
  Feisal was born in 1885, the third of four sons of Sharif Hussein bin Ali, Grand Sharif of Mecca and ruler of the Hejaz Arabs.

Empowered by the belief that he was descended directly from the Prophet Mohammed, Feisal grew into a worldly, confident and charismatic individual, imposingly tall and strikingly handsome.

Lawrence antd Feisal first crossed paths when the young English captain traveled to Arabia in October 1917. Lawrence had instructions to find out what assistance the Arabs required with their somewhat stalled Revolt, and find a man who could lead their forces.

The Sharif of Mecca was the obvious choice but Lawrence found him inflexible and stubborn. It was Feisal, the Sharif's third son, who made the greatest impression.

Lawrence later wrote in his memoirs:
"I felt at first glance that this was the man I had come to Arabia to seek - the leader who would bring the Arab Revolt to full glory."

Lawrence found Feisal to be open and malleable, efficient and ambitious - full of dreams but with the capacity to realize them. Through him the British Army officer believed he could influence the Revolt.

Feisal in return found in Lawrence a well-connected, faithful companion who effectively produced the guns and gold needed to fund the Revolt and keep his tribesmen happy. He intended to use Lawrence to further the cause of Arab independence and cemented their friendship with fine camels, robes and freedom of movement.

Feisal's army welcomed Lawrence's advice and assistance as it fought its way north to Aqaba, which fell spectacularly to the Arabs in July 1917. Feisal's northern army was then transferred to the direct command of General Allenby, who passed his orders to the Arabs through Lawrence.

Fighting a guerrilla war, the Arabs harassed Turkish transportation lines all the way up to Damascus, which gave Allenby an edge on the Palestine Front. Jerusalem fell in December 1917, followed just under a year later by Damascus.

Feisal met with Allenby in Damascus on October 3, 1918, a few days after the liberation. Their meeting was cordial but tense. It was explained to Feisal that the French - and not the Arabs - were to take control of Syria. Feisal was furious to depart empty-handed.

He later traveled to Paris to lobby for the Arab cause and in February 1919 stood before the Council of Ten - which included the Presidents of France and the United States and the Prime Minister of England - and put forward the case for Arab self-rule.

Again his petition failed. Feisal returned to Damascus to lead a rebellion. He had himself crowned King of Greater Syria in March 1920. The French ejected him within weeks at bayonet point.

The British government tried to make amends at the Cairo Conference the following year and offered Feisal the Kingdom of Iraq, which he reluctantly accepted.

He remained the King of Iraq until his death in 1933 from cancer.


T.E.Lawrence | Prince Feisal | General Allenby | King Hussein | Dahoum | Winston Churchill | Lowell Thomas | Auda Abu Tayeh

Feisal led the Arab Revolt
  Feisal led the Arab Revolt  


Lawrence of Arabia