Foreign Research in Istanbul and Balikesir

(September 11-October 5, 1997)

by EGAWA Hikari

(posted on November 24,1997)

Purpose: To conduct a case study on the Temettuat Registers kept in the National Ottoman Archives of the Turkish Prime Minister's Office of the Republic of Turkey.

Destination: Istanbul and Balikesir in the Republic of Turkey

Duration: September 11 to October 5, 1997


The purpose of this dispatch was to find concrete methods for conductiong case studies on the pilot program organized by the Project Management Unit titled "A Joint Project on the Temettuat Registers in the National Ottoman Archives of the Turkish Prime Minister's Office".

According to the catalog of the National Ottoman Archives, the Temettuat Registers of the following areas are now open to the public. Ankara, Aydin, Bolu, Cezair-i Bahr-i Sefid, Edirne, Erzurum, Hudavendigar, Konya, Nis, Rumeli, Selanik, Silistre, Sivas, Uskub, Vidin.

As far as I am aware, some research has already been done. For example on Bursa, Bilecik Prefecture, the central city ofAydin-Guzelhisar, Corlu and two other districts in Edirne, and so on. However there are only four works which have been published on the subject. For further reference, I would like to recommend following two papers.

KUTUKOGLU, Mubahat S., "Osmanli Sosyal ve Iktisadi Tarihi Kaynaklarindan Temettu Defterleri ", Belleten, Vol. 59, No. 225, 1995, pp. 395-412 (+6)

EGAWA, Hikari, "The Tanzimat Reforms and Provincial Society: Analysis of the Temettuat Defteri in Balikesir District (1840) from the Viewpoint of Land Posession" (written in Japanese), The Toyo Gakuho, Vol. 79, No. 2, 1997, pp. 01-029.

In the above paper, I analyzed the Temettuat Registers of the Balikesir district in northwestern Anatolia, especially those related to land `possession'. As a result of this analysis, I have clarified the following two points. Firstly, peasants in the villages of Balikesir held an average field (tarla) of approximately 3.5 hectares. The traditional cift-hane system continued to work both in ciftliks and among fields tilled by the peasants. Secondly, `the non-peasant city dwellers' posessed more gardens (bahces) than peasants, and the estimated value per donum of those gardens was higher than that of the peasants' fields. Examining the occupations of the garden owners in descending order of garden size, they tended to be garden managers, herbalists, city dwelling peasants, fabric merchants and wollen fabric merchants. Of these, with the exception of city dwelling `peasants', it is thought that the rich merchants such as herbalists, fabric merchants and wollen fabric merchants who had formed their economic bases in the city, invested their capital in the villages.

After obtaining these results, I am now analyzing the property formations of the city dwellers by occupation and attempting to clarify the economic conditions of the city.

However, because the Temettuat Registers are only for the year 1840, it is necessary to study other historical materials in order to clarify the historical processes of the socioeconomic conditions. In order to do so, during this dispatch I met and discussed with Dr. Aynur UNLUYOL, an assistant professor of Balikesir University, and exchanged information on how to proceed with the joint research and how to analyze historical materials etc. Dr. Aynur UNLUYOL has completed her doctoral thesis, "Seriyye Sicillerine Gore XVIII. Asrin Ilk Yarisinda Balikesir (1700-1730)" in 1995 (not yet published). By comparing the results of her research--which covers the social and economic conditions of the central city of Balikesir in the first half of the 18th century--with the results of my analysis of the Temettuat Registers, it may be possible to clarify the process of the development and the transformation of Balikesir.

As for the analysis of the Temettuat Registers of the Balikesir district related to nomads, Dr. Ilhan SAHIN will cooperate with us. Dr. Ilhan SAHIN is an associate professor of the Istanbul University and he has been studying historical research on nomads for many years. Based on a general understanding of livestock which is the property of nomads, we plan to study one nomadic group called Yagci-Bedir. Even today, the Yagci-Bedir are famous for their carpet made using the Yagci-Bedir weave.

In addition, we conducted an exchange of information with Muharrem EREN, a local historian living in downtown Balikesir. Also at the Balikesir municipality office, I was able get a lot of current information about the city. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who assisted us. The work explained above is all research related to the Temettuat Registers of the Balikesir district. Furthermore, we also hope to analyze the Temettuat Registers of Veliko Tarnovo in Bulgaria as a case in the Balkans. Dr.Stefka PARVEVA, a research associate at the Bulgarian Academy, has agreed to assist us in this work.