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The Poll Tax and the Decline of the Christian Presence in the Palestinian Countryside in the 17th Century

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AbstractBetween 13 and 23 March 1650 a number of documents related to the annual collection of the jizya (poll tax) were recorded in the Islamic (sharīʿa) court of Jerusalem. Two concern “disputes” between the appointed tax collector and some villagers who refused to pay the jizya because they had recently converted to Islam. It is these documents that this article analyses. Besides their intrinsic interest as records about the payment of the poll tax, they are a valuable source of information on conversion to Islam among Christian villagers in Ottoman Palestine.


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