DOI: https://doi.org/10.21847/1728-9343.2019.4(162).170298

Purchasing the land estates in the Ottoman Empire during 15th - 19th centuries

Andrii Chalyi

Abstract


The article is devoted to the problem of a landowning in the Ottoman Empire during the 15th and 19th centuries. It has become conventional wisdom that due to a feudal structure of the Ottoman’s state there could not be any chance to own the land, purchase or rent, as all land was in solely possession of a Sultan, who granted his guards, nobles and warriors small tenures in order to maintain their loyalty. This system was known as a «timar system» and was used and still being used for proving feudal origins and social core of the Ottoman Empire. The main problem was that the scholars cycled only on the type of land possession which was one out of many. The Ottomans combined many different types of landowning from a personal property to the religious endowments, which were different in taxing, juridical aspects and so on. This order was constructed upon Muslim views on the land and property, according to the Ottoman’s popular Turk views and Ottoman’s laws. The Ottoman’s law-books (kanunnameler) written upon Sultans Mehmet I (1451-1481), Selim I (1512-1520) and Suleyman I (1520-1566) clarified the situation. Everyone in the Ottoman’s state could own, buy, sell, or rent a piece of land, which could be considered as a private property. That was possible with no distinction of sex, race or religion. The state lands were used only in exchange of army service and could not be privatized, but there were numerous accidents of semi-legal actions of converting the timar land into a mьlk (basic property). That became easier to realize after demolition of a timar system by the Sultan Mahmoud II in 1831 (1808-1839) and ratification of the Land code in 1858 which created the land market of European-style in the Ottoman Empire.

Keywords


Near East; the Ottoman Empire; land owning; the ottoman’s land laws; feudalism

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References


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