If I asked you to name the most important events of the early 20th century, you’d probably mention the start of World War I in 1914, the Russian Revolution in 1917, the signing of the Treaty of Versailles in 1919, the stock-market crash in 1929, and Hitler’s becoming chancellor of Germany in 1933.
But for millions of people around the world, the most consequential year was 1924. That was when the last caliph — Islam’s supreme religious and political leader, the Prophet Mohammed’s heir — was deposed, thus abolishing the 1,400-year-old institution of the caliphate, and sending all members of the Ottoman dynasty into exile.
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