History 2606E Lecture Notes - Lecture 16: Underemployment, Iltizam, Sanjak

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Published on 9 Feb 2014
Lecture – Ottoman Empire in the Middle East
Arabic speaking provinces of the Middle East
oExperienced in the pre-modern period a different developmental course
when compared to the Europe
oBetween 16-20th centuries while European countries headed towards the
formation of national states; Middle East was different
oMedieval structures and within their geographical boundaries, they
developed national identities
o16-20th centuries the Middle East was conquered and occupied by foreign
powers, first the Ottomans, then the French and the British
oPowers did not represent the local populations but their own interests
Though Ottomans were not referred to as colonialist powers, as the
other two, they were nonetheless focused on their welfare and not
the locals
oAgreed by historians that long centuries under Ottoman rule and later
European rule contributed to the stagnation and the decline of the Middle
Condition is agreed upon as a factor
oIn spite of differences that exist between states and regions, we can see
patterns in the areas of administration, social and political institutions,
agricultural patterns, industrial development and trade
Administrative Division of the Middle East
oOttomans incorporated the Middle East into several vilayets
Arabic word (wilaya) meaning province
oEach vilayets was ruled by a pasha (governor) and was divided into
sanjaqs (districts) ruled by a bey (lord/commander)
Administrative Patterns
oOrganization of the provinces respected and left in place political,
historical, and economic patterns and the geographical frontiers of each
oRegions were to be centralized around their respective cities, an
organizational pattern which allowed economic administrative rule
oOttoman administration in provinces was quite elaborate
Book keepers, money changers, officials
Paid from income collected from government lands, miri,
registered all income in a special script known as kirma, a short
hand notation system (half-Persian, half-Turkish)
oAll registered was done in two copies, one was sent to Istanbul another
remained in the province
Sometimes, scribes were audited locally by an agent sent down
from the capital
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oOttoman kanunnameh was the administrative law, written by the
administration for the purpose of administering the taxation of the Middle
oTax collection in the villages and in the cities was given to a “tax farmer”,
multazim, who after collecting the taxes was expected to send the bigger
portion to Istanbul and keep the smaller portion for the needs of the
province, but most likely himself
oTax on the land was either a fixed sum or calculated on the basis of
productivity per feddan (acre)
Each village gets a statement of des payable under each family
System was supposed to protect the peasants while tying them to
the land
Land Holding
oIn the Asian provinces, namely the Arab Ottoman provinces, revenue was
derived from the tax, collected directly from the peasants
oReforms in the 19th century, when the land was returned to the state, the
land itself was farmed out to the tax collectors who were responsible for
the tax payments to the treasury
oProcess resulted in the tax collectors becoming the land owners
oSlow process of land transfer to the tax farmer was complete as the
multazims achieved ownership and the peasants were tied to the land
More Taxes
oIn addition to the land tax, non-Muslims continued to pay the jizya (head
oImporters and exporters paid duties calculated as a percentage of the value
of the merchandise
oFlock of animals which belonged to nomads were taxed as they passed
through markets
oMarket dues and monopolies in place on salt and tobacco
oFruit orchards was taxed at an established rate
Political Events in Ottoman Syria
oAs a result of the switch of political power, local families begin to take
control of the provinces
Period of Notables
o1724 the first local Arab family to appear in control of Syria, the al-Azm
oIn Palestine, the first family was Zahir al-Umar, replaced by al-Jazzar, “the
o1757: the center of power shifted from Damascus to the Galilee and the
Allowed families to establish their rule
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