Forging Urban Solidarities: Ottoman Aleppo, 1640-1700 by Charles L. WIlkins

By Charles L. WIlkins

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One of the more dynamic periods in the historical evolution of Arab Middle Eastern cities, and in the evolution of residential quarters in particular, occurred in the middle centuries of Ottoman rule, from the conquest of the Arab lands in 1516–17 to the Tanzimat reforms beginning in the 1840s. In the sixteenth century, the Ottoman state intervened in the affairs of urban and rural communities alike on levels unprecedented in the history of Islamic states. While adapting to many practices of the Mamluk Sultanate, Ottoman officials nonetheless innovated in aspects of fiscal administration, undertaking largescale cadastral surveys (ṭapu taḥ rīrs) of town and countryside that, in effect, mapped the population to the household level and grouped them administratively in villages, quarters or tribal units, thereafter regulating their affairs through a centralized system.

30, 32, 35, 41; Ṣalāḥiyya, Nos. 27, 28; and Banqūsa, Nos. 26 and 38). Two registers from Banqūsa (Nos. 29 and 31) were omitted because their contents contain a very narrow range of legal transactions (mainly real estate sales) and therefore make little comment on the questions addressed by this study. No registers explicitly labeled as generated by the Jabal Samʿān court survive from this period, though the court probably did function. One implication of this distribution of surviving registers is that legal cases arising in the outlying areas of the city, especially the administrative affairs of residential quarters, may be underrepresented in this analysis.

See also Heghnar Zeitlian Watenpaugh, The Image of an Ottoman City: Imperial Architecture and Urban Experience in Aleppo in the 16th and 17th Centuries (Leiden: Brill, 2004), 142–143. 22 18 The register recording the Damascus survey has now been published in a critical edition by Halil Sahillioǧlu, entitled, Şam Şehrinin XVII. Asırda Sosyal ve Ekonomik Yapısı (1977 Numaralı ʿAvşrız Defteri’ne Göre) (Istanbul: İslam Tarih, Sanat ve Kültür Araştırma Merkezi (IRCICA), 2005). 19 The early 20th-century Aleppan historian Kamil al-Ghazzi writes that in the year AH 1089 (1678–79) the houses of the ashrāf and the janissaries were registered.

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