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On the Origins of Majālis Al-tujjār in Mid-nineteenth Century Egypt

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Seeking to establish the origins of Majālis al-Tujjār, the special mixed commercial courts of Alexandria and Cairo which existed from the mid-1840s until the mid-1870s, I examine whether the Majālis had their origin in Turkey or in Egypt; and whether or not they served foreign interests and were part of the capitulations system. The evidence of a legal case registered in the court records (sijillāt) of the Cairo court suggests that the Majālis, though established as a result of a concerted action of a number of European consuls general in Egypt, were not part of the capitulations system. To the contrary, they were designed to restrict the legal side of that system, that is, consular jurisdiction.


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