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Local authorities and conflict in an Ottoman island at the beginning of the nineteenth century

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This article studies the 1804 revolt in Cyprus and its repression. The protagonists of this revolt reveal a particularly complex situation in an area of the Ottoman periphery such as Cyprus at the beginning of the nineteenth century. By codifying the realities revealed to us by this revolt we can remark the existence and parallel action of three different Ottoman authorities in Cyprus during this period. The relation of these three authorities is complicated. Competition between them to expand their responsibilities is constant, as well as their forced collaboration in an effort to maintain order on the island. With regard to their power and importance this is even more difficult since during this period the tenure of an official in Ottoman Cyprus could be short (muhassıl), longer (divan tercümanı), or even permanent (archbishop of Cyprus). The questions that the analysis of this revolt tries to answer are many: who are the Ottoman authorities in Cyprus at the beginning of the nineteenth century? Why is it mainly the Muslims on the island who revolt and especially those living in Nicosia? What was the reaction of the central administration and the island's authorities and how was the revolt finally repressed? Another question concerns the possibility that the 1804 revolt was due to harsh competition between multiple authorities in such a small locality. If this is the case, can we consider this period as the culmination of the establishment process of one authority as the most powerful political power institution? Finally, what does the involvement of the French consul in Cyprus in such a difficult situation show?


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