Population changes in Ottoman Anatolia during the 16th and 17th centuries: The "demographic crisis" reconsidered
International Journal of Middle East Studies
Cambridge University Press
183 - 205
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Whatever the fruits of discussing the problem at such a theoretical level, in the case of Anatolia it is perhaps more important to bear in mind the geographical dimension of the population changes in the late-16th- and early-17th-century Ottoman Empire. The crucial question is how representative the cases of demographic pressure in Anatolia described here were as far as the whole empire was concerned. Furthermore, one may ask the same question for Anatolia only, considering the fact that in some parts of Anatolia the population seems to have remained within reasonable limits, although substantial growth in the 16th century was a general phenomenon throughout the Empire. It is therefore imperative to pay attention to voices that emphasize regional differences in terms of demographic changes-differences that depended largely on the quality and quantity of the land, climatic conditions, economic opportunities, and, as Karen Barkey rightly suggests, the patron-client relations at the local level and in the empire in general. It is also clear that population growth does not necessarily or automatically mean "pressure." What this study shows in this respect is that one can speak of such pressure in at least some parts of the empire-in this case, the north-central Anatolian province of Rum. Whether the apparent rise in population resulted in similar pressure elsewhere in Anatolia or throughout the empire toward the end of the century remains a question. Nevertheless, this study has also pointed out that the Celali rebellions and widespread terror in the Anatolian countryside were closely related to the demographic growth of the 16th century.