Regional variation in the distribution of property rights over land in sixteenth-century Ottoman rural Manisa

Pinar Ceylan, Ghent University, Belgium

The Ottoman State during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries is often cited as a centralized state, which closely monitored agricultural production and strictly commanded its organization.

Until today, mainly due to an overemphasis on the role of the central government, regional variations in property and surplus relations in the classical period has largely escaped from attention.

Concentrating on the Western Anatolian district of Manisa and employing tax surveys dating 1575, this study points to the regional variation in property rights institutions, which resulted in different inequality regimes across space. Empirical evidence suggests the existence of two agricultural production systems characterized by different property and surplus relations, in the southern and northern parts of the district in the late sixteenth century.

Accordingly, inequality structures in these areas reflected regionspecific patterns of property rights distribution within and across direct producers and landlords’ classes. In terms of both access to land by producers and concentration of agrarian surplus among landlords, higher levels of inequality is observed in the densely populated, more developed and highly commercialized area in the south, whereas a more egalitarian socioeconomic structure prevailed in the mountainous northern part, inhabited by a high number of tribal groups.

While stressing the necessity of a comparative regional approach in studying rural inequality in pre-industrial societies, these results also lend support to arguments that inequality levels in these societies are positively associated with level of market development and population.

DOI: 10.36253/978-88-5518-053-5.23

Read full text:




The University of Florence is an important and influential centre for research and higher training in Italy

Love podcasts or audiobooks? Learn on the go with our new app.

Recommended from Medium

Cold Case Quest: Anita Lias

Want to Stop a Nuclear War? It’s time to rethink the Global System

MAD: Not a Permanent solution to (potential) total destruction of civilizations

Understanding Empathy — Diary of a Social Anthropologist

The history of successful (and unsuccessful) U.S. special operations forces

Notes: You don’t know what ‘slavery’ means…

Things to Do: Boston Museums and Historic Sights

Cold Case Quest: Cynthia K. Smith

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
University of Florence

University of Florence

The University of Florence is an important and influential centre for research and higher training in Italy

More from Medium

‘Impostor Syndrome’ simplified & Why ‘only’ you can get over it !

In Conversation with Evan Gilbert

Top 5 Counter Strike: Global Offensive Teams of 2021


Who is Stacie Hass?