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Freed Slaves As Soldiers In The Ottoman Fortresses In Hungary

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Chapter Summary

In the mid-sixteenth century, approximately 13,000 soldiers were stationed in the fortresses of the province (vilayet) of Buda; this was the local (yerlü) force, which obviously did not include the Janissaries (yeniçeri) deployed from the Ottoman capital. Several payroll registers (mevacib defteri) covering about 11,000 men, or the majority of the local paid force, have survived from the 1540–1560s. Four of these registers contain sufficient data for a statistical evaluation of the place of origin of the soldiers. Two registers are particularly valuable. The first was compiled in 961 (December 7, 1553 – November 25, 1554) and originally covered all the fortresses in the vilayet. The second mevacib defteri was compiled several years later in 965 (October 24, 1557 – October 13, 1558); it lists paid soldiers in the 51 fortresses of the province of Buda. This document includes similar personal remarks for 814 soldiers, who were probably new recruits.

Keywords: fortresses; mevacib defteri; Ottoman capital; payroll registers; vilayet; yerlü



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