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This book shows which historical developments led people to start describing themselves and others as 'minorities'. Why, in the years around 1920, did the concept of 'minority' suddenly become prominent in public affairs worldwide? Within a decade of World War One, the term became fundamental to public understandings of national and international politics, law, and society. Minorities (and majorities too) were taken to be an objective reality, both in the present and the past. Benjamin White uses a study of Syria under the French mandate to show what historical developments led people to start describing themselves and others as 'minorities'. Through close attention to what changed in French-mandate Syria, and what those changes meant, White argues for a careful reappraisal of a term too often used as an objective description of reality.