The Ottoman Slave Trade and Its Suppression

The Ottoman Slave Trade and Its Suppression

Copyright Date: 1982
Pages: 326
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  • Book Info
    The Ottoman Slave Trade and Its Suppression
    Book Description:

    This book is a historical account of the slave trading system of the Ottoman Empire in the second half of the nineteenth century and of the attempts, which were eventually successful, to suppress it.

    Originally published in 1983.

    ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-5723-4
    Subjects: Business, History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. iii-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-x)
    (pp. xi-xii)
  4. NOTES
    (pp. xiii-xvi)
    (pp. xvii-2)
    Ehud R Toledano
    (pp. 3-13)

    The difficulty begins with the title, almost before a discussion can follow. It lies in the use of words, in terminology, which is all the more important when we cross cultural lines, using one language to describe social phenomena belonging to another society which also uses a different language. The term in question is “slavery,” certainly a sensitive and “loaded” word to a Western audience. The image it conjures up in our mind is decidedly negative. It connotes exploitation, humiliation, racial discrimination, and a great deal of human suffering. Slavery is the denial of freedom, human dignity, equality before the...

  7. CHAPTER I From Source to Market—The Ottoman Slave-Trading Network in the Nineteenth Century
    (pp. 14-54)

    In the nineteenth century, slaveholding among the Ottomans was mostly an urban phenomenon. The large cities of Rumelia, Anatolia, the Balkans, and the Levant were, thus, where the majority of the slaves were bought and sold. In the cities, and in towns, many slaves also found a permanent home. The greatest demand for slaves was generated by Istanbul, where the rich and influential members of theélitemaintained at least one homestead. Even the less wealthy among the ruling class, as well as the middle classes, could afford to own slaves. Almost all the roads which the slaves trod led...

  8. CHAPTER II The Economics and Volume of the Ottoman Traffic
    (pp. 55-90)

    At the end of the road, often but not always in markets, waited the buyers. They came from almost all walks of life, but were mostly city dwellers. More slaves were owned by the upper and middle classes than by the lower classes. Fairly large segments of the population could afford to and did own a black domestic slave for menial work, but white harem slavery was practiced almost exclusively by the well-to-do. In regions lying closer to the sources of African slaves—such as Tripoli, Egypt, Arabia, and the Persian Gulf—slave holding was common even among the lower...

  9. CHAPTER III The Road to Prohibition—Anglo-Ottoman Contacts Regarding the Suppression of the Slave Trade, 1840-1855
    (pp. 91-123)

    The social—and to an extent economic—importance of Ottoman slavery, the Islamic sanction which attached to it, and its relatively mild nature account for the fact that the Ottomans expressed no desire to abolish the institution. The suffering and high mortality that accompanied the slave trade from the sources of supply to the Empire—if at all known to the majority of slave-holders—were vague and removed notions; they happened in distant and unfamiliar countries and did not seem very real in Instanbul and the other Ottoman cities. Slavery was taken for granted and abolitionism—fairly new even in...

  10. CHAPTER IV Prohibition and Resignation—The African Versus the Caucasian Traffic in the Late 1850s
    (pp. 124-147)

    As the British saw it, progress toward the suppression of the slave trade was like a ladder. What they had to do was to induce the Ottomans to climb it with them from restriction to prohibition to convention. Each rung was higher and more effective, but also harder to reach. The late 1850s would show that there were actually two separate “ladders”: on the African, climbing would continue from restriction to prohibition and, with delays, even beyond; but on the Caucasian, the Ottomans would leave the British on the rung of prohibition, descend to restriction, and go it alone from...

  11. CHAPTER V Circassian Slavery and Slave Trade—an Ottoman Solution
    (pp. 148-191)

    Circassian slavery and slave trade in the Ottoman Empire in the second half of the nineteenth century took on a number of forms which, though interrelated, were nevertheless different. The main two types of slaves were agricultural¹ and domestic (or harem) slaves; both had the same legal status and belonged to the Circassian slave class. Normally, it was the members of this class—most often women intended for harem service—who changed hands and were exported from the Caucasus to the Ottoman Empire as part of the slave trade. The Russian-forced dislocation of the Circassian population of the Caucasus in...

  12. CHAPTER VI Between Prohibition and Convention—The African Slave Trade to the Ottoman Empire, 1857-1877
    (pp. 192-223)

    Thefermanof 1857 which prohibited the slave trade in Africans marked the beginning rather than the end of an era. The story of the suppression of the Ottoman traffic in the years that followed consists mostly of the incessant attempts to put thisfermaninto effect. The British saw in its promulgation a major success for their efforts and thereafter constantly pressed the Ottomans to live up to this commitment. The Ottomans, somewhat reluctantly drawn into an abolitionist policy, found the prohibition difficult—and in a number of provinces virtually impossible—to enforce. At times, a considerable gap existed...

  13. CHAPTER VII Anti-Slave Trade Conventions and the Decline of the African Traffic, 1877-1890
    (pp. 224-248)

    If the 1840s and much of the 1850s were marked by British attempts to restrict the Ottoman slave trade, the late 1850s ushered in a period in which the traffic in Africans was legally prohibited, but—winked or connived at—was still being actively pursued. Weary of never-ending remonstrances, which in the final analysis failed to stop the trade, the British came to believe that they had to take upon themselves direct enforcement. However, this could be done only through consent, and the legal mechanism to obtain consent was the bilateral convention. Such bilateral conventions had been tried before against...

  14. CHAPTER VIII Some General Aspects of British Pressure and Ottoman Reaction
    (pp. 249-278)

    At the turn of the century the African slave trade to the Ottoman Empire no longer was what it used to be. Although a small number of slaves continued to be imported into Ottoman territories until the disintegration of the Empire—and later into some of the successor states, especially in Arabia—the traffic as described in this book ceased to exist. Once a steady stream, at times even a torrent, it turned into a mere trickle. Without renewed supplies, Ottoman slavery itself was destined to disappear as time passed. The last generation of slaves would be gradually manumitted or...

    (pp. 279-284)

    When we began to follow the Ottoman slave trade, in the 1840s, over 10,000 slaves per annum were beinglegallyandopenlyimported into the Empire. Slave markets existed in all major cities, and domestic slavery was widespread in many of the Sultan’s domains. All that was to change within fifty years. By the last decade of the nineteenth century, only few slaves were still being smuggled, against the law, and the slave population was sharply reduced. How and why it came to be is the subject of this book. In closing, a last reflection on the disappearance of such...

    (pp. 285-290)
    (pp. 291-298)
  18. INDEX
    (pp. 299-307)