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The Eighteenth Century: Defining the Crisis

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Chapter Summary

This chapter gives an overview of the historical background of the alleged relationship between migration into the greater Istanbul area and the maintenance of public order in the city, together with the factors that might have contributed to the Ottoman government's ultimate inability to prevent uncontrolled migration. It also argues that the efforts to contain migration and to control the transient population were not merely a by-product of the state's concern with problems of supply and provincial tax revenues, but that such efforts also reflected a growing need to consolidate sultanic power: they constituted the basis of the struggle to centralize power in the hands of the sultan, especially during the reigns of Selim III and later Mahmud II. In conclusion, based on the close relationship between labor, immigration, and Istanbul's population, immigration control was a matter of economic and demographic conjunctures.

Keywords: Istanbul; Mahmud II; Ottoman government; Selim III; sultan



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