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“Humble Efforts in Search of Reform”: Consuls, Pashas, and Quarantine in Early-Tanzimat Salonica

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Chapter Summary

This chapter focuses on specific outbreaks of plague in the Ottoman Empire to stress the significant contribution of one British consuls' political involvement and personal interests in establishing quarantine measures in Salonica. It demonstrates that before 1838, quarantine policy in the Ottoman dominions was not the result of central initiatives emanating from the Sublime Porte. Rather, in the face of plague epidemics, local authorities stepped forward and established quarantine measures of their own accord. Thus the performance of quarantine was a matter of local, not central, governance. In the case of Salonica, quarantine efforts were intensified after the arrival of the British consul Charles Blunt, whose intervention led to the introduction of land-based quarantine. By putting pressure on local authorities, Blunt in several ways played a significant role in the inauguration and implementation of quarantine reform.

Keywords: British consuls; Ottoman Empire; plague epidemics; quarantine reform; Salonica



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