New inclinations towards land usufruct in the 18th century Anatolia
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This thesis attempts to investigate the changing features of 18th century Ottoman agricultural production in the context of commercialization. New emerging landowners, long-termed usufruct of arable lands and the sharecropping system are analyzed in conjunction with one another respectively. It discusses the implications of the titles held by individuals who purchased arable lands and claims that the Empire’s inability to maintain the classical state structure intact from the second quarter of the17th century had particular impact on long-termed land usufruct and on the emergence of new land owners whose profession was not cultivation. It is argued in this thesis that in the 18th century, there was an inclination towards purchasing arable lands by individuals who resided in towns and city-quarters. It is argued that these new landowners made use of these fields, which were held long-term, by engaging in sharecropping contracts with villagers to receive a surplus of income. The main argument of this thesis is supported by analyzing empirical data composed of court cases regarding land sales and sharecropping contracts. This will display the inclinations of individual who purchased fields and engaged in sharecropping contracts. The empirical data used consists of 5 court registers: 3 of them belong to Konya and the remaining 2 to Antakya. This thesis aims to present an alternative perspective to previously conducted research by analyzing the commercialization phenomenon of agricultural production in the 18th century by suggesting that the sharecropping system was an important aspect of obtaining extra agricultural produce through the process of commercialization.