University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Early Modern Economic and Social History Seminars > Slaves and slave ownership in Ottoman Bursa, 1460-1880

Slaves and slave ownership in Ottoman Bursa, 1460-1880

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  • UserHülya Canbakal (Sabanci University, Istanbul) (with Alpay Filiztekin, Sabanci)
  • ClockThursday 12 May 2016, 17:00-19:00
  • HouseHistory Faculty Room 12.

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Studies of slavery in the Ottoman Empire focus on slavery among and for the official elite in the capital, with an emphasis on the 15th and 16th centuries, on the trade and its abolition in the 19th century, or more recently, on microhistories of slave lives beyond the harems and military households of the official elite. This study builds on the latter two trends. Using probate inventories from the city of Bursa and its hinterland, it examines long-term patterns in slave ownership and employment among commoners as well as the local elite. Probate evidence indicates that slave-holding steadily declined over the four centuries examined and by the time of its abolition, was already a marginal practice in this important provincial city. Price trends reveal a decline from the 18th century onwards, suggesting that declining ownership was due to causes other than supply and prices. We present statistics of ownership and characteristics of the slave body, and examine prices and supply and demand in connection with wages and purchasing power.

This talk is part of the Early Modern Economic and Social History Seminars series.

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