Bread and provisioning in the Ottoman Empire: 1750-1860

Date

1997

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İnalcık, Halil

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Bilkent University

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English

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Abstract

The study examines bread and the provisioning question in the Ottoman Empire during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, Wheat and bread supply of the most important center of the Empire: Istanbul is focused on. In this context, Ottoman State's intervention in the economy and its motivation to do so is analyzed. I argue that the Ottoman government had a pragmatic motivation in interfering with provisioning, beginning from the cultivation of grain, up to distribution of bread to the consumers. The analysis is made using archival sources and published primary sources. Kadi court records, published state records, documents of the Cevdet Belediye and Mühimme classifications of the Başbakanlık Cumhuriyet archives are among these documents. In the study it is suggested that production of bread which was the basic source of nourishment with an additional symbolically 'sacred' character, was subject to close control of the government. State control is observable in the transportation, requisition, storage, and the distribution of wheat as welt as in the monopolies of bakers, and the rules of market regulation imposed by state officials

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