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Full Access Men of the sultan: the beğlik sheep tax collection system and the rise of a Bulgarian national bourgeoisie in nineteenth-century Plovdiv

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Men of the sultan: the beğlik sheep tax collection system and the rise of a Bulgarian national bourgeoisie in nineteenth-century Plovdiv

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The essentialist and a-historical conceptions of the nation prevailing in Balkan national historiographies have largely caused the neglect of the Ottoman sociopolitical framework out of which the Balkan national movements emerged. The present paper takes a different course reconstructing the route to prominence of the renowned notable family of the Chalikovs, several younger members of which played a leading role in the Bulgarian national movement during the nineteenth century. The first generation of the Chalikovs set out from the mountainous village of Koprivshtitsa to become the principal animal tax collectors in the Balkans and meat providers for the new standing army of Mahmud II and to reach a hegemonic position within the Greek Orthodox millet of the ancient city of Philippoupolis (Filibe, Plovdiv). Their fascinating story not only reveals the significance of the late Ottoman fiscal and political transformations for the rise of the Bulgarian national elites, but also provides an outstanding example of the gradual, complex and contradictory process of transition from pre-modern Ottoman millets, in our case the Greek Orthodox millet, to modern national communities.

10.1163/187754610X494987
/content/journals/10.1163/187754610x494987
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/content/journals/10.1163/187754610x494987
2010-05-01
2016-09-30

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