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The Political Economy of Aleppo in an Age of Ottoman Reform

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The return of Ottoman rule to Aleppo in 1840 corresponded with the inauguration of the reform era (1839-76). Although the central Ottoman state could not have foreseen the outcome, these political reforms undermined its economic sovereignty in two key areas. The Ottoman land reform law of 1858 and schemes to settle the Bedouin in northern Syria enabled Aleppo’s political elite to scramble for the steppe lands of the Euphrates valley and ultimately paved the way for European capitalists to exploit the agricultural resources of the region. Additionally, attempts to control the abuses of the capitulatory system provoked a marked decline in the relative fortunes of the city’s traditional commercial elite, with much of the internal regional trade shifting into the hands of European merchants.

Le retour des Ottomans à Alep en 1840 correspond au début de la période de réformes (1839-1876). Bien que l’état central ottoman n’eût pas pu prévoir leurs conséquences, ces réformes politiques ont miné sa souveraineté économique dans deux régions clé. Le code foncier ottomane de 1858 et les projets visant à la sédentarisation des Bédouins dans la Syrie du Nord ont permis à l’élite politique d’Alep une ruée vers les steppes de la vallée de l’Euphrate et ont fini par préparer le chemin aux capitalistes européens qui sont venus exploiter les ressources agricoles de la région. En outre, les tentatives d’obtenir le contrôle des abus du système capitulaire ont provoqué le déclin marqué des fortunes concernées de l’élite commerciale traditionnelle car une grande partie du commerce intérieure régio-nale tombait dans les mains des négociants européens.


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