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Shifting Patterns of Ottoman Enslavement in the Early Modern Period

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Chapter Summary

The legal essence of enslavement derives from Islamic law, although various Muslim societies developed their own brand of enslavement. The Ottomans had inherited the basic practice of military-administrative bondage from the caliphate of Al-Mu?tasim (r. 833-842) and later the Mamluk Sultanate (1258-1516/7), which they had defeated and replaced in the eastern Mediterranean. The main source of enslaved persons in the Ottoman Empire was the large pool of captives taken as spoils of war on the various fronts, including those in Europe. Agricultural enslavement was to be seen again in the Ottoman Empire only in the second half of the 19th century, when it was introduced from the outside either as an imported formation or as a local response to an external market stimulant. This chapter discusses the three stories. These stories come from the contact regions between south-eastern Europe and the Ottoman Empire.

Keywords: agricultural enslavement; Europe; Islamic law; Muslim societies; Ottoman Empire



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