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Economy and society in the Aegean province of the Ottoman empire, 1840-1912

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This article attempts to shed light on administration, demography, economy and society in the Aegean province (Cezair-i Bahr-i Sefid Vilayeti) of the Ottoman empire from approximately 1840 to 1912. The 1840's marked the beginning of the implementation of Tanzimat reforms in this province. The period under discussion ends with the termination of Ottoman rule over the Islands province in the aftermath of the First Balkan War.

I argue that Ottoman rule was generally on the defensive in the islands off the coast of Asia Minor. While certain measures which were aimed at drawing the islands more closely to the centre and imposing a more effective control, had only a limited impact, other Tanzimat reforms led to an economic upturn of not inconsiderable parts of the Greek population. This, however, did not result in a closer identification with the Ottoman state.

The article utilizes Ottoman archival and narrative sources, provincial year books (salnames), British consular documents as well as travelogues.


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