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Bakhit, Muhammad A.S. (1972) The Ottoman Province of Damascus in the sixteenth century. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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The Ottoman Province of Damascus in the 16th century comprised a number of liwa's (liwa' = sonjaq). This thesis deals mainly with the liwa' of Damascus as a case study. Other liwa's are mentioned in this connection in as much as they concern and clarify the general picture. Prescribed limitations prevent full discussion of others. The thesis is composed of seven chapters, each of which deals with certain aspects of the history of the province. The first chapter is concerned with local events prevailing between the Ottoman conquest 922/1516 and the suppression of al-Ghazali's rebellion in 927/1521. In the second chapter administrative divisions and demography of the liwa' during the first three quarters of the sixteenth century are defined. The study shows that the nahiya was the basic administrative unit and records periods of increase in the numbers of the population followed by sharp decline. The structure of Ottoman administration is the subject of chapters three to five. The first of them outlines the function of the governor as responsible for the maintenance of law and order and for the leadership of the military force whenever called upon. It emphasises his responsibility for the despatch and safe return of the pilgrimage caravan of Damascus. This was assisted by military units distributed throughout the province and housed in fortresses, augmented by the subsidiary forces of timar-holders. All these contingents assisted the Sultan in his wars with Porsia, in the Yaman and against Cyprus in addition to their use in the suppression of rebellions. The forces grouped themselves into factions. As they also engaged in trade and industry, the factions vied with each other to win the support of local chieftains. The administration of justice was the province of the Chief Judge and his deputies from the four madhhabs. They comprised some of the local population in addition to Ottoman personnel. There were several courts in Damascus and also one court functioned in each of the cities of Ba'alabakk, Bayrat and Sidon. Deputy judges were usually appointed to dispense justice in the countryside. The office of Mufti is also defined in this chapter. Chapter five chiefly deals with the office of Defterdar and taxation on various types of trade, land, trees, animals, etc. In chapters six and seven there is an attempt to describe the relationship between the Ottomans and the indigenous population. Four appendices and three relevant maps have been prepared and are appended.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2018 15:15

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