European Turkey, as described in Historic Encyclopedias



Brockhaus 1809, Anskjaer 1858-1863, Meyer 1885-1892





Brockhaus Conversations-Lexikon 1809-1811, article : Die Türkei
Turkey, Ottoman Turkey or the Sublime Porte (1), contains a considerable part of the ancient world. It is composed of (1) in Europe in so-called European Turkey of the provinces Rumili or Romania, Bulgaria, Bessarabia, Greece (to which belong Macedonia, Albania, Janna (Janjan) or hessaly, Livadia, Morea, the islands in the Archipelago, further the large islnds Crete, Cofu and Zante), Serbia, Bosnia and the ributary states of Moldavia and Wallachia and hitherto he Republic of Ragusa, (2) in Asia or Asian Turkey Asia Minor, Syria (in which Palestine is located), Georgia, Diarbekr or Mesopotamia, Bagdad, Basra, Mosul, and in addition to a few smaller provinces the larger part of Armenia and Arabia, the latter of which has its own Emirs, but still is very dependent of the Porte, (3) in Africa or the so-called African Turkey Egypt and to a certain extent the states Algeria, Tunis and Tripolis, who exist as separate entities, but who are under the protection of Turkey and to a certain extent dependent on it.
In their origin the Turks belong to the large Tatar tribe. In consequence of military victories, these Tatars spread over many lands and founded imposant lasting empires. - Famous are the victories of Muhammad (see there). His empire continued to expand for two centuries after his death, under his successors, the Caliphs, extended over northern Africa and a large part of Asia, also in southern Europe it had gained ground. Their power, which had grown too fast, raised the envy of more courageous nations, among them the Tatars of whom the Turkomans made up a part. Under their leader Tongrul the latter took posession of he Persian Empire in the 11th century (at that time the Turks are said to have converted to Islam), but have to give this up in 1200 to the northern Tatars, so they moved into Asia Minor, of which they had earlier conquered the larger part, and now made Iconium in Cilicia (since Caramania) their capital. Even here pressed by the Tatars, and they had to give up Palestine to the fury of the crusaders (1229) but they retook it shortly after (1234). However, the basis of their power the Turks credit to their ruler Osman (or Othman) who first accepted the title Sultan and who became the founder of the present dynasty, who also gave the people the name Ottomans. This ruler (who died in 1326, according to other sources in 1328), a descendent of famous Genghis Khan, made Bursa in Bithynia his capital, a city he had conquered, and he extended his rule over the larger part of Asia Minor. He and his successor, his son Orthan (died 1359 or 1360), the proper founder of the Turkish Empire, as well as his successor Murad I. (who made the city of Adrianople conquered in 1362 the capital of Turkish rule in Europe, subjected Serbia, conquered parts of Macedonia and stabilized Turkish rule in Asia Minor, and who founded the Janissary Corps (see there) and who finally fell in he struggle against the rebellious Despot of Serbia in 1388 or 1390) conquered the Asiatic and European provinces of the Byzantine Empire, took Macedonia, Greece and the Peloponnese, Syria and Egypt and, despite Bayezid in 1402 was overpowered by Tamerlane, after Murad II. had made great conquests and expanded his Empire, but also ruled with great cruelty, and had found in Skanderbeg a worthy opponent, under Muhammad II they conquered Constantinople in 1453. This Muhammad II. called the Great, a ruler of great strategic and governing talent which was dishonoured by wildness, cruelty and faithlessness, was extraordinarily successful. He conquered 200 cities and 12 (small) kingdoms; he is the founder of the Ottoman navy. The aforementioned conquest of Constantinople, which was accompanied by the most gruesome atrocities against Christians, and in which the Greek Empire met its terrible end, was the beginning of his military career, which ended with the conquest of Otranto in Apulia in 1480. He died in 1481 with the reputation of having had executed over 800,000 Christians of either gender. Under his successors Selim I., the greatest monster who had murdered father, brother and 5 sons, was victorious over the Persians and made great conquests in Asia (died 1520). Soliman I., who in terms of cruelty did not tand much behind the former, fought long wars against Austria, laid siege to Vienna (which cost him 80,000 men), conquered Bagdad, Assyria, Mesopotamia, made Hungary a Turkish province and died in 1566 as a great enemy of christianity, after having had executed several of his sons. Under the succeeding Sultans are noteworthy : Osman I., who attempted to dissolve the rebellious Janissaries, on whom the life of the Sultan, war and peace depended; only the detailed, wellplanned plan became public, the Janissaries rose, Osman was strangled and the previously deposed Mustapha I. reinstituted. From now on the doors were opened to rebellions, factional fighting, to the audacity of the Janissaries, which lived extravagant lives, committed atrocities, demanded all profitable offices for themselves; if they needed money, they plundered the people, so that finally the Pasha of Erzerum led an army against Constantinople to bring the Janissaries under control. These, terrified by these events, deposed the Sultan, raised the 14 year old Murad IV. to the throne (1623). This man showed the worst sides of himself, hard on the soldiers, became a gruesome despot. He lost a war against Poland, won against Persia, died in 1640. Under Mehmed IV. - under him there was a major rebellion in Constantinople, in consequence of which the sioldiers were given several days to plunder it, the famous vezirs of the Kiuperli family stood out; Crete was taken out of the hands of the Venetians after a siege which cost the lives of 40,000 Christians and 120,000 Turks, the war against the German Empire was renewed, but the courage of German princes peace was achieved; the Turks fought a war against Poland (1672) and finally at the suggestion of the new vezir, Kara Mustapha, a renewed lengthy and bloody war against the German Emperor was started, the Turks moved on Vienna and laid siege to it (1683), but were forced by Sobieski (see there) to withdraw. Abandoned by fortune, Mehmed IV. was deposed by the Janissaries; alone the successors did not have more luck and Mustapha II., defeated by Charles Eugene, had to sign the Peace of Karlowitz 1699 which granted Transylvania to the German Emperor. Asov, the key to the Black Sea, too, was lost to Russia. Achmed III. (1702-1730) forced Peter I. in the Peace of Pruth 1711 to cede many fortresses, alone as his ambition caused him to declare war on several christian powers, after several defeats in the Treaty of Passarowitz 1718 he had to cede Temeschwar, a part of Wallachia, of Serbia and Bosnia and the fortress of Belgrade o Austria. The war against Persia also was conducted without fortune; a rebellion broke out, Achmed III. was deposed and replaced by Muhammad V. (1730). He conducted wars with Russia without fortune, with Austria with more fortune, in the Treaty of Belgrade Austria ceded Wallachia, Serbia, Belgrade and Asov back to the Porte. Osman III. in 1757 was followed by Mustafa III., who, with the cooperation of France, in 1769 began a war against Russia. This war energetically was pursued by Catherine II. Prince Gallitzin defeated the Turks twice near Choczin, and in September inflicted further defeats on them; in the following year (1770) General Romanczov, after having conquered Moldavia and Wallachia, gained wo victories against the Turks. Catherine II. was not content and dispatched a fleet into the Mediterranean to attack Turkey from two sides. This fleet fought a glorious victory at Chesme (a port near Natolia), where the Turkish fleet was completely destroyed, the humiliating peace of Kuchuk Kainarji 1774 was its consequence, in which Turkey, where Abdul Hamid just had ascended the throne, declared the Crimea for independent, ceded the lands and cities on the Black Sea with the fortress of Asov to Russia and permitted the latter free navigation on the Black Sea. The conference of Catherine II. and Joseph II. at Kherson 1787 caused the Porte war on Russia, a war in which Austria initially participated but then had to sign a separate peace at Ssiztowe 1790. Selim III., on the throne since 1789, following a series of defeats at the hands of Potemkin, saw it necessary to conclude the Treaty of Jassy 1792 in which the Porte ceded the fortress of Oczakov and the land between Dniepr and Dniestr. Finally Bonaparte's victories and his conquest of Egypt (1798), where since 1780 the fights between rebellious Beys and dissatisfied Pashas became more and more concerning, caused the Porte to declare war on France, and it entered into an alliance with Britain. A Turkish-Russian fleet took the Levantine islands, it blocked Ancona, landed in Naples and the Papal State. A Turkish fleet under Seid Mustapha appeared in July 1798 before Aboukir, which it conquered but had to evacuate shortly after. A convention signed by the Porte and Russia March 21st 1800 created the Septinsular Republic which was to be under the protection of the Porte. The peace concluded with France Oct. 9th 1801 and confirmed June 25th 1802 restored Egypt to Turkey; France was granted free navigation on the Black Sea, restricted to merchant vessels; both powers confirmed the integrity of the possessions of either, and recognized the Septinsular Republic. In subsequent years the situation of the Ottoman Empire became more and more concerning, as in Egypt squabbles between soldier factions took place, many thousand soldiers in Cairo energetically demanded to be paid, and the Delhis committed excessive atrocities, when in Asiatic Turkey two of the most powerful pashas, Paswan Oglu and Tajar Pasha, destabilized Turkish rule, when troops dispatched into the rebellious province of Serbia did not dare to enter the country., when unrest in other areas gave cause to fears of wider rebellions. The Porte persistently rejected recognition of the Imperial status of France, and relations between both countries cooled down remarkably; when Talleyrand informed the Porte of the text of the Peace of Pressburg in 1806, the Porte recognized Napoleon as "Imperator and Padishah of France" and the previous amiable relation was restored. On the other hand a rupture in the relations with Russia occurred, a Russian army under General Micholson invaded Moldavia and Wallachia and declared that the Porte, despite the recent alliance, had violated sacred treaties to which it had been tempted by tricky French diplomacy, and the Russian action would have been a response to the former; but that Russia, given the expulsion of the French from Dalmatia and free passage for Russian ships through the Straits being granted, would withdraw her troops. The Turkish Emperor Selim III. now accused Russia of having violated treaties, declared the war with Russia to be a holy war. Napoleon sided with Turkey, declaring the (Russian) intention to be the destruction of the Turkish Empire, and that he would not permit such to happen. In the meantime Russia was supported by Britain; a British fleet lay outside the residence of the Grand Sultan; a Russian fleet crossed the adjacent seas, laid a blockade against Venice and took control of the Dalmatian islands. Admiral Duckworth forced the Dardanelles on February 19th 1807, burnt part of the Turkish fleet and reached he port of Constantinople on February 21st 1807, where he issued the stearnest threats. Negotiations took time, while the Porte hurriedly worked on the restoration and strengthening of the fortifications on the Dardanelles; without the negoriations having concluded, the British fleet withdrew on March 4th. Russia, facing hostilities with the French, also could not focus on Turkey, and withdrew her forces from Moldavia and Wallachia. However, unrest within the Turkish Empuire was now of terrible nature; the Janissaries were upset, in part because of a lack of food, but more because of the introduction of a European-style militia, the Nizam Ghedid. Several commanders, even the Reis Effendi, Ghalib, were murdered; when the Sultan proclaimed that he wanted the new militia to replace the Janissaries as his body guard, this act caused caused unrest to turn into rebellion. The Janissaries marched on Constantinople on May 29th; the Sultan, who had had several of his ministers decapitated and their heads displayed, and even who had published a decree (hatt-i-sherif) in which he lastingly abolished the previous reform, in vain; his deposition had been decided, and Sultan Selim had to descend from the throne when his deposition was read to him by the mufti and the ulamas, and had to leave the throne to his nephew Mustapha IV., who was proclaimed Sultan on May 29th. But calm was not yet restored. In the following year 1808 new unrest broke out, and a number of movements seemed to express discontent with the depositiion of Selim III. After a convention of the Empire's leading officials Sultan Mustapha was informed of a faction supporting Selim III,, Mustapha Bairaktar, Pasha of Rustschuk volunteered to take a force to Constantinople, nominally to protect Mustapha. Once there the force joined that of the grand vezir and demanded the release of Selim III., who was thrown over the wall, unfortunately dead, because Mustapha had had him strangled. Immediately Bairaktar declared Mustapha unfit for government, and proclaimed his younger brother Mustapha Sultan. The Serail was blown up, all courts stormed; Bairactar forced his way into the room of the Sultan, just in the moment when the later wanted to cut down his younger brother; Mustapha was incarcerated, Bairactar appointed to the post of grand vezir. This happened on July 28th 1808. But this rising was not the last. Mustapha Bairaktar, a man respected because of his courage and resolution, but also because his forcefulness and wealth, had alienated the Janissaries too much; now as grand vezir he wanted to press through reforms with courage and force, and he headed toward his own destruction. On November 14th a new insurrection, the preparation of which had been done secretly, broke out; the Janissaries overpowered and killed the Seymen, set the barracks on fire. The grand vezir dispatched reinforcements, but the enraged Janissaries destroyed ant force sent against them, and then moved on the Serai. Grand vezir Mustapha Bairaktar was sufficiently resolved to die in dignity. After he had both the deposed Sultan and his mother executed, he blew up his arsenal, and himself with it. The Turkish fleet lying inn the harbour - it always had supported the grand vezir - now took the closest city quarter under fire, and, with granades, even set the Sultan's palace under fire. The Sultan meanwhile accepted all the Janissaries' demands transmitted to him by a deputation. So, by and by, calm was restored.
As far as Russia was concerned, the Peace of Tilsit changed relations with Turkey, and France mediated the Truce of Slobosia August 24th 1807, according to which Moldavia and Wallachia was to be evacuated by he troops of both powers within 35 days and the fate of these lands was to be decided by the forthcoming peace. Only as Russian troops did not evacuate Moldavia and Wallachia, and negotiations went on without results, the Sultan proceeded with a policy of preparing for war, as unfavourable as the situation of the Porte was relative to France and Britain, as any approach of the latter had to result in separation of the former; anyway on the side of the Divan the desire was to ally with Britain, an alliance for which there seemed to be great sympathies in all provinces. A British fleet persistently crossed in front of the Dardanelles, without disrupting trade. Also the war with Serbia was conducted by the Porte with great energy. This country long had been suppressed by the Deys, he Serbian revolt had been a consequence of the former, and the rebel leader Czerny Georg acted with a ferocity to have Turkey fear the loss of this country (see under Serbia).
So the Turks, who used to be the terror of Europe in the 15th, 16th and 17th century, lost much of their dominance, as they stagnated, while the other countries made significant progress in the arts of war. By nature the Turks are inclined toward war, they are courageous, strong and well-shaped, also modest, not mucgh devoted to luxury, righteous and benevolent, but also proud (because they look down upon all other nations) and lethargic (often they sit the entire day in front of their door with crossed legs, smoking tobacco and stare in front of them), as all Orientals, and the prejudice that they were the most perfect people under the sun and that the Koran would contain all which were worthy to know, prevents them from any improvement of their political and scientific (2) condition. The relations between man and woman among the Turks also demonstrate how any sense for more honorable relations is banned amongst them. According to the Koran a Turk is entitled to take four legitimate wives, and in addition he may keep as many as he wants and can afford. The female gender has litle incentive to deveop her honorable talents, as the woman is locked up in the harem of her master, she becomes even more dispirited and stupid than she as before. The foremost rivers of three continents disregarded - Danube, Tigris, Euphrates and Nile, besides being surrounded by by the Mediterranean, Black, Red and Persian Sea, despite their country producing a wealth of cotton, silk, wine, maize, safran, tobacco, Levantine coffee and other excellent products, the Turkish Empire which could be one of the leading trading nations, still has a rather limited trade (for the most part restricted between its provinces; credits, banknotes etc. are unknown in the country); import is much stronger than export, the German trade with Turkey (called Levantine trade) is estimated at 5 million Piaster annually; most businesses are in the hands of the Greeks, Armenians, Arnauts and Jews, because the Ottomans are not suited for trade. They leave manufactures mostly to Christian and Jewish inhabitants. Lethargy, despotism, inherited prejudices to which has to be added a tendency toward superstition (3) strangle every shoot of artistic diligence, and even agriculture, poorly conducted on very fertile soil, so that insufficient grain harvests are achieved, but grain is imported from Egypt, Moldavia and Wallachia, the Crimea, Poland and Prussia, to prevent famine. Even less civilized is the area of arts and sciences; the higher sciences are completely alien to them, only national history and architecture, in which they only inherited the outer shapes from the Arabs, are studied with diligence, and even the Greeks, the most learned inhabitants of the Porte, in regard to knowledge and ability far superior to their oppressors, have maintained only a shadow of their former glory, which their ancestors gained in ancient times, when their fatherland was the centre of culture and civilization. The population declines from year to year, in part because of polygamy, in part due to the plague which seems not to cease, and the existence of which is less explained by the climate then by the poor condition of the medical institutions (4) and from the wrong religious dogna that the predetermined day of death by no means can be postponed, in part also due to the lack of industriousness and lack of jobs,.
Religions in Turkey are numerous. The proper Turks are Muslims of the Sunni sect, after them the Greeks are the most numerous, who have 4 patriarchs (of whom the one in Constantinople is the most respected), protected by the Ottomans, but not elected into any state office, and burdened with the per capita tax requested of any non-Muslim. Further there are the Armenians, a separate Christian Sect, Jews and Christians, the latter called Francs, because the crusaders were Francs (i.e. Frenchmen), and who enjoy many civic liberties and privileges. The impatience of the Turks in regard to non-Muslims is repulsive; they are entitled by their laws to kill Christians. The latter, by the payment of the per capita tax, purchase the toleration of their rigfht to exist. The arrogance and despise of the Turks toward Christians becomes pparent in all matters.
The administration of spiritual affairs, despite the Sultan himself being Caliph, is completely in the hands of the mufti and the clergy (or the ulama). Secular administration is utterly despotic and in the hands of the Sultan, which does not rule by constitution, but through the clergy which also is in charge of jurisdiction, through the grand vezir and divan, even through the Janissaries (as the brief historica sketch abovelisted shows). Only this administrative structure produces overlapping authorities abnd even causes insurrections and produces, as it is less based on laws than on arbitrary rule of masters high and low, more damage than good. Every official presses (out of the populace) as much as ghe can, attempts to stay in favour with the sultan by the way of presents, and even if he is (as it usually happens) he is rewarded for his deeds by strangulation, not the subject who suffered the damage is compensated, but the executed official's property is confiscated by the Sultan's treasury. By this and other means the Sultan's private treasury is the richest in Europe; his income cionsists more of extraordinary ransom and presents than in regular payment (because the latter are calculated by Dallaway in his description of Constantinople as only 16 million Piaster), and the state treasury always is so empty that it requires transfers from the regent's treasury in order not to go bust. But both have lately been given considerable boost. Further state revenues, called Min, are calculated at 45 million Piaster (27 million Thaler); the revenues of the Sultan are incalculable. (the tribute of Egypt, being part of it, alone makes up 600,000 Piaster).
The highest oficial is the grand vezir (see there), who in the divan or supreme state council is assisted by six councillors or vezirs and which also functions as the supreme court, also called divan. It does not convene in the Serail, but in its own palace. Other high officials or ministers are the state chancellor or Reis Effendi, the treasurer or Tefterdar, the grand admiral or Kapudan Pasha who occasionally functions as the commander of the land army, the Janissary Aga, Spahilar Aga etc. The court officials usually wear the title Aga. Nobility is unknown; the Emirs, despite being given public respect, enjoy no civic privileges. Jurisdiction is fast and undeveloped, but much susceptible to bribery. Police is good, if the medical service is disregarded.
The Porte's armed forces on land consist of the Janissaries, Spahis, provincial soldiers and Serhadkulys. Despite the Turks being able to raise a force of 200,000 to 300,000 men, which can cause difficulty for the enemy by the means of devastation, quick raids, and by a variety of manoeuvres and stratagems unknown to European armies, the constitution of that armed force is very poor. Half of the Turkish army is composed of servants, merchants and other non-soldiers; every leader or pasha always is surrounded by his entourage, by the size of which he reputation of the pasha is measured. This number of unnecessary personnel is a burden on provisions and considerably slows down marches and military operations. Also the situation of such a pasha is precarious and insecure, as his distinction attracts the hatred of his superiors and he becomes a victim of his own glory, or in case of lack of success he is deposed, his propert confiscated and he is lucky to escape with his life. Further, discipline and subordination are poor, an unsuccessful attack deprives the soldiers of courage, a single lost battle can cause the dissolution of an entire army, the usual consequence of a defeat is Turkish provinces being plundered. The improvements which Europeans have suggested in regard to the military, so by Count Bonneval and others, have resulted in little progress; in recent events it has been shown how reforms in the militia caused a dangerous rebellion among the Janissaries. Also the navy is in a poor condition; it only inflicted fear in the 16th and 17th century. With the armed forces being in such a poor condition, in the case of war the Sultan depends on the support of the pashas, but their support also is a precarious one, because some withdraw from subordination while others turn their arms against him. So the pasha of Bagdad long is independent, the pasha of Acre not less. In Egypt, Arabia and Syria the power of the Sultan is weak, and Moldavia and Wallachia are only in a very loose (as in the historic account explained) connection with the Porte, perhaps never again in a formal one. Morea, Albania, Epirus, Scutari, Bosnia etc. are often the site of insurrections, and that Serbia now is as good as lost for the Porte has already been indicated in the article "Servia".
So is the description given of Turkey in general by the majority of the authors, even the most important ones such as Eton, and it concides with public opinion of this once so terrifying people. On the other hand there are authors who derserve attention, who argue for the political system of Turkey and who state that Turkey is so rich in resources that the Sultan is one of the richest men in the world, they contradict the general opinion of the Turkish weakness with the following words : "The national character of the Turks", so they say, "in connection with its independence and thoroughness, further their manly calm and their earnest way makes them most suitable for military service, especially as their religion and constitution are rather warlike, and despite their constitution being despotic and, in itself, destructive, for them every war against foreign foes is a holy one, e religious war no Muslim may stay away from. They have to follow the holy flag throughout their empire, this results in an enormous militia, the standing forces are also not without experience, and accustomed to fight their wars methodically. Also their lands, which belong to the world's best, provide rich resources." This judgment, as much as it is in contradiction with what was states earlier, may result in different conclusions. It may be observed that in the course of revolutions many countries lost their independence, saw old dynasties toppled and replaced by others; the Porte, despite of her lack of power, has maintained her position among Europe's independent powers.
It is difficult to quantify the population of the Turkish Empire with any degree of certainty, as the calculations and estimates vary too much from each other. The population of the entire Turkish Empire has been estimated as high as 49 million, as low as 39 million; Eton even estimates the entire population not being above 10 million. It can not be determined with certainty, but its reduction has reached a high degree (for example Diarbakr, one of its largest cities, in 1756 had about 400,000 inhabitants, around 1800 they were only about 50,000; Bagdad, which used to have 130,000, now has merely 30,000. To this responds the defender of Turkey that theTurks, even when the country is forced to cede Moldavia, Wallachia and Serbia in the ongoing war, despite the loss of 13,300 square miles in the last century (with a population of 3,710,000), the country in Europe, Africa and Asia still has 50,000 square miles with a population of 40 million.
This sketch, the length of which has to be excused by he not unimportant topic, is concluded by references : Baron Tott (who spent almost 30 years in Turkey), Memoires sur les Turcs et Tartares 1785, 3 vols., German trsl. Nürnberg 1787 and 1788; Muradgea d'Ohsson, Tableau Generale de l'Empire Othoman 2 vols. in folio 1787 and 1789 (German trsl. by Beck, Leipzig 1788 and 1793, in 3 vols. 8vo), William Eton Esquire (longtime British consul n Turkey), A survey of the Turkish Empire, 3rd edition 1801 (German trsl. by von Bergk, Leipzig 1805) on which the above description partially is based, despite the source tending to describing Turkey in too bad a light; Thomas Thornton, Das türkische Recht in allen seinen Beziehungen, trsl. from he English by Fr. Herrmann, Hamburg 1808.

(1) This last name actually refers to a palace; but it is named after the gate o the Imperial palace in Constantinople.
(2) A consequence of their ignorance is their despise of printing shops. A printing shop which was opened with great effort at the beginning of the last century soon went bankrupt, only in 1796 the French ambassador Berninac established a new printing shop to issue a newspaper.
(3) Only a few examples may serve to prove their superstition. The Turks despise the production of images of human faces; they believe no angel could enter a house in which dogs, or images of human beings, are found. Blind fanatism has them think that it is godless to imitate the works of God. In this category also falls the belief in a prophecy which Turks have been taught since childhood that the Porte will be blown up by he Russians, their Empire in Europe destroyed; he Turkish armies shall be decisively defeated twice, once on the Dniestr and once near Constantinople, and following the latter the half moon shall be extinguished in Europe forever and the realm of the faithful shall be moved to Asia. This probably the cause for the deep hatred between Turks and Russians.
(4) In Constantinople the plague sometimes lasts for several years. In most regions of Asia it returns about every 10 to 12 years, killing 1/10, 1/8, even 1/4 of the population. Usually it comes from Egypt via Smyrna to Constantinople, where it is wrongly attributed to poor air, which in reality is healthy and pure.

source in German, posted by Zeno


Anskjaer, Geografisk-Statistisk Haandbog 1858-1863, Article Tyrkiet
In a wider meaning Turkey describes the Ottoman Empire, consisting of :

European Turkey square miles population
immediate possessions 6,507 10,500,000
Moldavia 941 1,580,000
Wallachia 1,330 2,600,000
Serbia 998 1,000,000
subtotal 9,776 15,680,000
Asiatic Turkey
Asia Minor and Cyprus 9,804 10,700,000
Armenia and Kurdistan 5,693 1,700,000
Syria 6,873 2,750,000
Arabia 9,112 900,000
subtotal 31,482 16,050,000
African Turkey
Egypt and Dependencies 27,167 3,350,000
Tripolis and Fezzan 14,081 750,000
Tunis 3,710 950,000
subtotal 44,958 5,050,000
total 86,216 36,780,000

The aforelisted figures can not claim any accuracy and are to be regarded as rough estimates, this is why one may find contradicting data in the articles on the respective parts of the Empire. In the article below we will concentrate on European Turkey, as the otrher parts will be dealt with in separate articles. In this definition, Turkey consists of a mainland mass, located between 38 degrees 56 minutes and 45 degrees 26 minutes northern latitude and between 33 degrees 23 minutes and 47 degrees 13 minutes eastern longitude, and of a number of islands in the Archipelago and in the Mediterranean Sea, of which the most important are, from north to south : Thasos, Samothrake, Imbros, Limnos and Candia (Crete). The other islands in the Archipelago are regarded part of Asiatic Turkey. The mainland is surrounded by Austria, Serbia, Wallachia, Moldavia, the Black Sea, Marmara Seaq, the Archipelago, Greece, the Ionian and the Adriatic Sea. The small Principality of Montenegro as an enclave is surrounded by Bosnia, Albania and Austrian Dalmatia. The coasts are interrupted and contain a large number of inlets and promontories. Of the former are the most important ones near Drino, Durazzo and Avlona, on the Adriatic Sea, Arta Bay on the onian Sea, Volo Bay, Salonica, Cassandra, Monte Santo, Orfano or Contessa, Kavalla, Lagos, Enos and Saros which belong to the Archipelago, and the bays of Iniada, Burgas and Varna, which belong to the Black Sea. Of the promontories are noteworthy : Rodoni, Pali and Lagbi on the Adriatic Sea, Linguetta near the Canal of Otranto, Hagios Dimitrios, Cassandra, Pailuri, Drepano, Monte Santo, Paxi and Demiklik on the Archipelago, Kumpas or Anastatia on Marmara Sea, Kara, Emineh and Kari Akra on the Black Sea. Of the many peninsulas the most important are Chalkidike between the bays of Salonica and Contessa, and Gallipoli peninsula between Saros Bay and the Dardanelles Straits. Chalkidike peninsula sends in southeastern direction three mnor peninsulas, Cassandra, Longos and Athos, which include Cassandra and Monte Santo Bay. Turkey is a mountainous country, but overall not of any important height. The center of the mountain systems seems to be the highland between Sofia and Pristina, Moesia Superior of antiquity, which forms the watershed between the Morava in the north, Vardar and Sruma in the south, and the lower Danube in the east. From this centrum, mountain ranges stretch northward which border Serbia in the west and east, to the east the Balkan stretches in west-eastrly direction to the Black Sea, and forms the watershed between Danube and Maritza (see Balkan), toward the south east the Despoto Dagh (Rhodope), toward the south the Argrafa or Pindos, which separates Albania from Macedonia; to the west it sends out various chains, which form the transition to Bosnia's mountains (see Bosnia). In addition to the aforementioned mountain systems does the country contain a large number of lesser mountain areas, which namely in the western part of the counry give the landscape a wild character. The absolute height of Turkey's mountains is in no relation to their importan horizontal extension. The highest elevations are the Schardagh southwest of the central system, in Despoto Dagh and in Pindos (see articles Balkan, Bosnia and Montenegro); only singular poins reach 10,000 feet, a few more raise above 8,000 feet. In addition to a large number of especially fertile valleys does Turkey also have extended plains. Of these are the most important the Danube plain, the plain of Adrianople and the Thessaly plain. Of the numerous rivers, of course the Danube is the most important. From where it takes up the Timok, which forms the border with Serbia, to its mouh into the Black Sea it forms the northern border of Turkey, and on the Bulgarian side takes in many tributaries, the most important of which are Timok, Isker, Wid, Osma, Jantra and Lom. Of the many slall rivers which feed into the Black Sea here only the Kamtschuk, which feeds into the Black Sea between Varna and Cape Emineh, shall be mentioned. The northern border of Bosnia is formed by the Sava, one od the Danube's larger tributaries, which herself takes in from the south the Unna, Vrbas, Bosna and Drina, the latter of which forms the border with Serbia. Into the Adriatic Sea feed the Narenta, Bojana, Drin, Schkumbi, Ergent and Vojuzza; into the Ionian Sea the Kalama, Arta and Aspropotamo, the last through Greece; into the Archipelago and its bays feed the Salambria (navigable), Vistritza, Vardar (navigable), these three into Salonica Bay, the Struma into Contessa Bay, Karasu or Mesta and Maritza, both directly into Archipelagos. On the many lakes are the ost important : Lake Scutari in northern Albania, 4 miles long and 1 1/2 mile wide, rich in fish, Lake Ohrida in central Albania, about 4 miles long and 1 mile wide, Lake Janina in southern Albania; Lake Kurla, about 2 miles long, in hessaly, northwest of Volos, Kastoria, Ostrovo, Yenidje, Beshik and Takino Lake in Macedonia, Rasin or Ramsin in Dobrudja. Mineral springs are found in large number with the exception of Bulgaria and Albania; he best known are warm sulphur springs. The climate overall is mild and pleasant, but, because of the many mountain ranges stretching in various directions, and because of the numerousincisions of the sea, more unsteady than in Italy or Spain, countries which are located on the same latitude. To his contribute also the more easterly location and the sharp northeastern winds. In the land north of he Balkan mountains the winter often is severe, with a lot of snowfall, the summer hot without rain, with cold nights, the fall brining a lot of precipitation. In the land souh of the Balkan, the winter is much milder; significant snowfall happens only in higher altitudes, the summer is hot, and the sky almost always clear. In regard to its natural condition, Turkey is one of the richest countries in Europe, but because of poor administration, the lack of civilization, the tendency toward laxity, the poor development of communication and the lack of capital, the land at many places lies uncultivated. Of the entire area, about 40 % can be regarded as farmland and vineyards, 6 % as meadows, 14 % as forest, 11 % as pasture and 29 % as barren land. Agriculture is on a very low level and is conducted with the simplest and most outdated tools. Turks, Albanians and Serbs in this respect are most backward, while the Bulgarians display more diligence and activity and namely are good at utilizing the land by irrigation. A special obstacle in regard of the development of agriculture is formed by the institution of slavery on the large estates, the owners of which are Muslims. Wheat, maize, barley, rye and various kinds of beans are the most important seeds. Of the fruit trees the plum tree is most widespread; its fruits are exported in dried condition, as well as in the form of liquor. Also cherry, apple, pear, apricot, fig, nut and almond trees are numerous. Oranges grow well in Thessaly and in southern Albania. The Olive Tree grows on the coasts of the Archipelago and the Adriatic Sea; they are of great importance for the nourishment of the population and produce a not small surplus of oil for export. Wine is cultivated almost everywhere, but the grapes which are especially juicy and tasty are not turned into wine; in the southern areas they are dried in large quantity as raisins. Hemp and flax are grown almost everywhere, cotton in Thessaly, Macedonia and on Crete. The cultivation of tobacco is widespread, and in addition to condiderabkle domestic consumption, it produces a considerable surplus for export, namely to the Greek islands, France and Italy. Among the dye plants madder is the most grown, among the flowers the rose bush, of which rose oil and rose water are produced. The extended forests which cover such a large part of the country play only a subordinate role in the country's economy, and it is not a rare occasion to see entire villages living in close vicinity to an extended primeval forests who use dried animal dung as fuel. The most important source of income for he population is livestocjk keeping. There is a large number of excellent horses, which still are below the quality of the Arabian horses. In the Greek regions many good donkeys and mules are found. Cattle are kept in great quantity, at many places of good race. Buffalo are held because of their strength and frugality; they are mainly used as pulling animals. Sheepbreeding is of great importance, namely in Albania. In the higher mountain regions a large number of goas is kept, in Bosnia many hogs. Beekeeping and sericulture are conducted in many areas; annual silk production is estimated as over 2 million pound. Of wild animals are found wolves, bears, deer, wild hogs, hares and wild birds. In many areas hunting is an important source of income. Also fishery along the coast is of importance; the collection of sponges employs not only a few of the inhabitants of the coasts and islands of the Archipelagus. Turkey's mountains are rich in minerals, in metals of various kind, salt and sulphur, but almost nowhere mining takes place. The industry in general is on a very low level, and seems in recent years in many aspacts to have moved backward, as it could not keep up competing with western Europe's machine industry. The knitting of socks is conducted as a cottage industry, and a large number of socks is exported to the Near East. Cotton weaving is done nearly everywhere where cotton is grown, but the cloth is of poor quality, as the yarn is rough. Wool weaving is widespread and produces the larger part of the country's need in clothes and other woollen textiles.In Constantinople a factory produces the red Turkish hats, and Turkish pots still in our days enjoy their old reputation. Spinning and weaving of silk predominantly is conducted in Constantinople and Salonica, and in recent ime has made not little progress. The dyeing industry, which used to be on a high level, seems to have fallen back considerably, which to a lesser extent also is the case for the leather and saftan industry, but saddle and shoe production still take in the first place in Turkish crafts. The production of copperware is of high qualiy, as is that of blank weapons; the production of all other iron and steelwares has fallen back, and guns are almost exclusively imported from abroad. Trade has to struggle with strong competition, namely because of poor transportation media, which in most places are limited to oxen, which, as the roads are not suitable for wagons, are used as beasts of burden. Of great importance for trade are the fairs which are held at a number of places. The most important at Usundschora, 12 miles to the northwest of Adrianople. Foreign trade largely is in the hands of foreigners, Armenians and Greeks. This is the consequence of the fact that in Turkey one lacks the understanding of trade being one of the bourgeois professions, which in most European countries is the subject of statistic observation. The data given by various authors who dealt with the matter therefore are rather divergent, which is made more complicated by the fact that it is not always easy to establish for which part of the Turkish Empire they are valid. Total trade is given as around 160 to 180 million Rdlr., of which 3/16 are imports. The countries with whom most trade is conducted are Austria and Germany, England, France, Russia, the Danube Principalities, Asia Minor and Persia, Egypt, Italy. Constantinople is the most important trading city of Turkey; her imports for 1860 (the data seem too high) : from England 48 million Rdlr., France 17 million Rdlr., Austria and Germany 5 million Rdlr., other countries in Europe 7 million Rdlr. In 1859 Constantinople was frequented by 15,588 incoming vessels with c. 1 1/2 million K. cargo and 15,232 departing vessels of slightly lower cargo. Of the departing vessels 5,692 sailed under Turkish flag, with a capacity of 320,000 K last. More or less important trading cities in Rumelia are Adrianople, Bitolia, Seres, Burgas, Usundschova, Philippopolis and Gallipoli; in Macedonia and Thessaly Salonica and Volos, in Albania Arta, Prevesa, Janina, Avlona and Skutari; in Bosnia Bosna Seraj, Mostar, Banjaluka and Travnik; in Bulgaria Widdin, Sistovo, Rustschuk, Silistria, Baltschik, Varna and Tultscha. The merchant fleet of European Turkey is estimated at 1200 ships of c. 90,000 K last. Austrian and French companies provide a rather vivid steampship both with the larger Turkish ports and well as between these and the ports of the Mediterranean, the Archipelago and the Black Sea. The population data are based on a so-called census which was undertaken in 1844 for the purpose of recruitment. These gave the population of European Turkey in her entirety including the Danube Principalities as 15,500,000, to whom have to be added 180,000 for the part of Bessarabia ceded in 1856 by Russia. Von Reden subdivides this population by nationality as follows : Slavs : Bulgarians 4,500,000, Serbs 1,500,000, Bosniaks 1,450,000, others 250,000, in total 7,700,000; Vlachs and Zinzarians 4,300,000, Albanians 1,600,000, Osmans 1,055,000, Greeks 1,050,000, Armenians 150,000, Jews 125,000, Gypsies 80,000, Tatars 25,000, in total 16,085,000. The population in the part of Bessarabia ceded by Russia is mostly Vlach. By religion the same author gives he population components as follows : Greek and Armenian Christians 11,080,000, Muslims 3,970,000, Roman Catholics 650,000, Jews 125,000, Gypsies 80,000, other faiths 180,000. On the mentioned peoples the Bulgarians live in Bulgaria and in large stretches of Rumelia and Macedonia, as well as scattered in Thessaly, Albania and Serbia. Serbs and Bosniaks live in the countries named after them. Vlachs (Romanians) live in Wallachia and Moldavia and scattered in Bulgaria, Thessaly, Albania and in other provinces. The number of Zinzans or Macedo-Vlachs is about 350,000. The Albanians, who call themselves Shqiptars (= mountain residents), but by the Turks are called Arnauts, live in Albania, and scattered in the mountains of Rumelia, Serbia and Bosnia. Of the Osmans shall live 270,000 in Constantinople, 210,000 in Rumelia, 375,000 in Bulgaria, 150,000 in Albania and Thessaly, and 50,000 in other parts of Turkey. Of the Greeks 285,000 shall live on the Turkish islands, 320,000 in Constantinople and Rumelia, 180,000 in the other provinces, namely in Albania. The Armenians live especially in the cities as merchants, of the Jews 37,000 in Constantinople, 62,000 in Moldavia and the remainder spread out. The Tatars, who have increased in number by immigration since the Crimean War, live mainly in Dobrudscha. According to von Reden the Muslim population is distributed as follows :

Osmans others total
Constantinople and environs 270,000 205,000 475,000
Rumelia 210,000 260,000 470,000
Bulgaria 375,000 920,000 1,295,000
Albania " 850,000 850,000
Macedonia and Thessaly 150,000 390,000 540,000
Bosnia and the Islands 50,000 290,000 340,000
total 1.055,000 2,915,000 3,970,000

The holy book of the Muslims is the Koran, which also is their most importand law code for civic life, as Muhammad as God's prophet included a large number of regulations pertaining to public life and civic relations, as well as the state. At the head of Muslim clergy stands the grand mufti (sheykh ul Islam) who is in charge of both religious cult and jurisdiction. The clergy is divided in 5 classes, the sheykhs or elders, who are the proper preachers in the mosques, the Khatibs or prayer leaders lead the public prayer for the sultan; Imams who take care of the general services in the mosques and conduct marriage and burial services; Muezzins who announce the hour of prayer from the minarets, Kaimas, who take care of the simplest tasks in the mosques. The three first classes are also referred to as ulama, i.e. the learned. Dervishes are a kind of munks, which are subdiveded in a large number of sects. The Greek Catholic Church is under the ecumenic patriarch of Constantinople, who in the same way as the pope is addressed as "saintity"; further there are patriarchs in Antioch, Jerusalem and Alexandria, who, as well as a large number of metropolits, archbishops and bishops recognize the patriarch in Constantinople as their head. The permanent synod of Constantinople consists of the 4 patriarchs, 12 metropolits and bishops, and 12 laymen, and represents the interests of the church vis-a-vis the Porte, and also exercise the supreme jurisdiction over all Greek Catholics, and they elect the highest officials of the church, subject to approval by the Sultan. Munks and nuns are numerous, the most famous are those who live on Mount Athos. The Armenians have a patriarch in Constantinople, the Jews a Rabbi Superior. The Turks call all non-Muslims Rajah (people, herd) and in the past have been exposed to arbitrary treatment, in recent times, in response to the interference of Christian states, this has been limited. Education is of a very low level; naturally it is organised by faith. Since 1847 the Turkish schools are classified in elementary schools, middle schools and special schools, but this law seems to have poorly implemented in regular life. Regulations foresee that elementary schools teach to read, write, count, religion, Ottoman history and geography, and Turkish language. Children fall under compulsory education when they reach the age of 6 and schooling is free. In middle schools, the number of which was determined at 14, Arabic language, orthography, essay writing, religious history, Turkish and general history, geography, arithmetics and geometry are taught, similarly without charge. The most important special schools, the most of which are found in Constantinople, are two schools for those who aspire to join the civil state service and one school for those who aspire to join higher state service and diplomatic service, schools for ulama, normal schools which are a kind of gymnsium for all social classes, a medical school, a military school, schools for engineering and artillery, a navy school, an agricultural school, a veterinary school. The Greek elementary school teachers are usually prospective clerics who wait for a regular position; if a village is too poor to hire a teacher, they normally give their priest a little extra so that he double-functions as teacher as well. In Constantinople and a few other large cities schools are found the equipment of which comes close to our learned schools; but they seem to be in a haphazard constitution. Higher education for the Greeks is conducted in a school connected with the patriarch in Constantinople, which simultaneously functions as a normal school and seems to be in excellent condition. In Bosnia there is even one school for 100 villages, and priests and munks are the only teachers. Here as well as in Bulgaria the condition is such that hardly one in a thousand can read, and even fewer can write. In recent years in Constantinople several French schools were set up, managed by munks and nuns, these schools have grown fast and are highly respected.
The constitution is that of an unrestricted monarchy. The Sultan holds both the supreme secular and the supreme spiritual power. The throne is hereditary in the male line of the House of Osman, and normally goes from father to the eldest son; but the Sultan may also determine another prince as his heir. The sSultan is of age once he reaches the age of 15. The Sultan's court is called the Porte or the Sublime Porte. He exercises his legislative and executive power through the grand vezir and the mufti. The grand vizir is also grand keeper of the seal and presides over the secret council (divan), the members of which are the mufti, the ministers and presidents of the state council. There are ministers for : foreign affairs, war, navy, artillery and fortifications, finances, trade, agriculture and public works, education, justice, police, for charities, for the Sultan's treasury and for the coin, for Imperial factories. The responsibilities of a minister of the interior are administrated by councillors of the grand vizir. To every ministray except that of foreign affairs a council is attached composed of a president and a larger or smaller number of members who work on matters and prepare proposals for improvement. The most important of these councils is the state council for justice or the supreme council, which prepares and formulates laws and which has the supervision of the provincial governors; it is also court in case of crimes against the state and of higher state officials, and at the same time a kind of supreme court of appeal. European Turkey consists of 15 governments general (Elayets) which again are divided in 46 provinces (liva) which are divided in 360 districts (kaza). In land immediately belonging to the Turkish Empire fall 11 Eyalets : (1) Edirne (Adrianople), which makes up the eastern part of Rumelia, with 5 livas, (2) Silistre (Silistria), the eastern part of Bulgaria, with 4 livas, (3) Widdin, the northwestern part of Bulgaria wih 2 livas, (4) Nisch, mountain country in the southwestern part of Bulgaria south of Serbia, on the border to Bosnia, with 4 livas, (5) Selanik (Saloniki), Thessaly and a part of Macedonia, with 4 livas, (6) Rumili, wesern Macedonia and northern Albania, with 4 livas, (7) Janina, southern Albania with 4 livas, (9) Bosnia with 6 livas, (10) Dschezair, the islands in the Archipelagus, with 7 livas, (11) Kirid (Crete) with 3 livas. To these have to be added he fortress of Belgrade, which forms a separate Eyalet. At the helm of every Eyalet stands a wali or governor general with very extensive authority; at his side there is a large permanent council, composed of a president and two secretaries appointed by the Porte, a treasurer, the Catholic, Greek and Armenian bishops, the rabbi superior, and of delegates of the Christian and Turkish communes. At the helm of every liva is a kaimakan, who is regarded the wali's stadholder; he has at his side a council of the province's notables. The various kazas are administrated by mudirs, with councils of the districts leading inhabitants t their side. The municipalities are administrated by prefects elected by the inhabitants. Jurisdiction is administrated by a supreme council (Arzodassi) composed of a presient and 10 assessors. Courts of appellation (Mevleviet) with a supreme judge (mollah) at he helm; lower courts (kaza) with a judge (molla or kadi), a fiscal and an assistant judge, judge of peace. At the helm of the fiscal authority in every Eyalet is placed a defterdar (taxcollector general) who also is responsible for payments; he is responsible for the public service in every liva, the annual reports are sent to him and which are presented to the council in the respective Eyalet. In regard to state revenue and expenses we face the same lack of reliable data we have observed in several other respects. The British embassy in Constantinople has put together the following table for 1859-1860 :

State Revenue (1859-1860)
income tax 20,019,000
freeing from military duty 4,292,000
tithe and rent 33,402,000
customs tariffs 12,469,000
tobacco tax 1,852,000
stamp tax and accise 562,000
trade tax 7,319,000
postal service 451,000
salt mines 807,000
tribute 3,369,000
various revenues 2,866,000
total 87,408,000 Rdlr

State Expenses (1859-1860)
state expenses 14,200,000
support for pilgrims to Mecca 3,458,000
support for charitable institutions 1,938,000
running of the mint 2,352,000
civil list 11,285,000
ministry of war 30,611,000
artillery 1,310,000
navy 7,117,000
ministry of justice 767,000
ministry of the interior 13,719,000
foreign ministry 1,849,000
trade and public works 701,000
public education 202,000
police 993,000
ministry of finance 9,201,000
other expenses 93,000
total 99,796,000 Rdlr.

So a deficit of 12,388,000 Rdlr. As generally known, he present Sultan began his rule with the desire to introduce cutbacks, but until now it is unknown inhowfar these have been implemented. According to a British memo of 1862 the public debt of the Ottoman Empire amounted to domestic debt with interest 120 million Rdlr., circulating paper money 5 million Rdlr., floating debt 40 million Rdlr., total domestic debt thus 165 million Rdlr.; foreign debt 203 million Rdlr., total 368 million Rdlr.
State revenues consist of : tithes, which are farmed out, and which by the tax farmers are demanded in natura, income tax collected by the communities' administrators, the military tax paid by the Rajahs who do not want to serve, toll (5 % of imports, 12 % of exports), the trade tax on shops and stores, stamp tax on petitions, inheritances and letters of credit; accise of food items which were brought into the city after the gate closing hour.
According to a plan of 1843 the army was organized in 6 army corps (ordu) cmmanded by Mushirs (field marshals). Every ordu should consist of two corps, that of the line (Nisamia) and hat of the reserve (Redif), formed in two divisions, each of 3 regiments infantry, 2 regiments cavalry and 1 regiment artillery, and under the command of a lieutenant general (Ferik Pasha), this of two divisions commanded of majors general (Liva Pasha). Every one of the line corpses should have a strength of 30,000 men, thus together 180,000 men, but the total strength is barely 120,000 men. The strength of the reserves is given as 126,000 men. In addition to the armed forces belong 4 so-called detached divisions, namely on Crete, in Tunisia and in Tripolis, and the artillery- and sapeur division, all in all 30,000 men, for which the tributary countries and the provinces which do not underly the recruitment law shall provide contingents, the strength of which can be estimated as 120,000 men. Recruitment in part is done by lottery, in part by voluntary enlistment. The time of service is 5 years of active service and another 7 years in the reserve. Until 1855, except for he Danube Principalities, only Muslims were allowed to serve in the army, but since also Rajah became subject to mandatory military service. The Turkish navy is given as consisting of 48 ships with 1,218 cannon and a combined crew of 34,000; of the ships 18 are steamships, namely 2 ships of the line, 5 frigates, 6 corvettes and 5 briggs.
The basis for the present Turkish Empire was laid at the beginning of the 14th century by Emir Osman. He quickly expanded his rule at the expense of his neighbours, namely that of the Eastern Roman Empire. The conquest of Constantinople 1453 completed the fall of the former, and Ottoman rule expanded further until the mid 16th century when it reached its climax, when it included nex to the present European Turkey its side lands and Greece, further Hungary, the lands on the coast of the Black Sea, Asia Minor, Syria, Arabia, Egypt and the northern coast of Africa almost until the Straits of Gibraltar. The naval battle of Lepanto 1571marks the beginning of the decline which continued from the mid of the 17th century.

source in Danish, posted by Project Runeberg


Meyers Konversations-Lexikon 1885-1892, Article : Türkisches Reich : Europäische Türkei
European Turkey, to which according to latest changes (Treaty of Berlin, July 13th 1878, and Conferences of Berlin and Constantinople, June 24 1880 and May 24th 1881, as immediate possessions only belong the Vilayets Kossovo (with a part of the Sanjak of Novipasar), Monastir, Scutari, Janina, Salonica, Adrianople, Creta and a part of the Vilayet of Constantinople, is located (without the islands and privileged provinces) between 30 and 43.5 degrees northern latitude, including Bulgaria and Eastern Rumelia between 39 degrees and 44 degrees 12 minutes northern latitude and borders in the north on Romania and Serbia, in the northwest on the Austrian Empire (i.e. on Bosnia under Austro-Hungarian occupation), in the west on the Adriatic and Ionian Sea, in the south on Greece, the Aegean and Marmara Seas, in the east on the Black Sea.
Physical Geography. The Balkan peninsula for the most part consists of mountain chains which can be distinguished in three main directions. The mountain range system of the Haemos stretches from the Timok valley, as the Haemos proper or the Balkan, in west-easterly direction toward Cape Emineh on the Black Sea. The valley of the Isker, which breaks this range, disregarded, the Haemos-Balkan forms the watershed between Danube and Aegean Sea. From the Schardagh a second main chain stretches southward, forming the watershed between the Ionian and Aegean Sea; it forms the border between Albania and Macedonia, between Thessaly and Epirus, and finds its continuation in the mountains of Morea. Between 39 and 40 degrees northern latitude it is generally called Pindos. A third main direction is represented by a system of mountain chains, which, under various names, stretch from northwest tio southeast, parallel to the pennines, making up part of the Herzegovina and of Bosnia. Parallel to these main chains run separate chains of lesser extent, f.example in the west the Acroceraunias or he Tschika Mountains, in the east the Olympus group, in part side chains branch off from the main chains, which make the provinces of European Turkey mostly appear as terrasse-shaped mountain countries rising toward the main chains. Albania (see there) in its eastern part is traversed by connected high mountain chains from northwest to southeast : the Pindos (Tsurnata 2168 m, Budzikaki 2160 m), the northern extensions of which (Smolika 2570 m)and the one parallel to the former, Peristeri east of Lake Presba (2350 m) up to the 2280 m high Procletja Mountains near the southern border of Montenegro. A different direction, from Northeast to Southwest, has, at about the same latitude, the Schardagh (up to 3050 m high). The land between the Adriatic and the Ionian Sea at one side and those mountains on the other, along the mouths of the rivers, has extended alluvial plains which are separated by mountain ridges. The most important elevation is located north of 40 degrees northern latitude, where the Viosa (Aoos) breaks through, and the up to 2040 m high Tschika Mountains next to a peninsula-shaped extension, the Acroceraunians of antiquity, descends vertically toward the sea. The center of European Turkey is formed by the enormous syenite mass of the Witosch, rising to 2300 m, on all sides surrounded by lower and higher mountain ridges, to the south of Sofia, located on Bulgarian territory. Between Mesta (the old Nestos) and Maritza rises up to 2300 m the Rhodope mountain range (see there). It contains a number of mountain ridges stretching from northwest to southeast, separated by lengthy valleys. The largest of these is the Arda, the source region of which is the central massif of the Rhodope. Between Balkan and Rhodope mounain ranges of medium altitude are found, running parallel to the former, as the Sredna Gora and the Tscherna Gora, and extended plains on the upper Maritza and her tributaries. Macedonia (see there) is separated from Thrace by the Perimdagh (Orbelos 2700 m), parallel to the Rhodope Mountains, from Epirus by the Pindos chain. Toward the north and south it does not have border mountain chains of such importance. An extension forms he Chalkidike with he three lengthy peninsulas and holy Mount Athos. Of Thessaly (see there) only the northernmost mountainous part near the Olympos remained with the Turkish Empire; the fertile south was ceded to Greece in 1881. Of plains, which make up a small part of the entire terrain, did remain under Turkish rule the plains along the Maritza, on the Strymon or Karasu, on the mouths of the Vardar, the Vistritza and the Albanian rivers.
European Turkey has few navigable rivers; due to the negligence of the Turkish administration, a part of the Maritza presently is the only navigable inland waterway. The other important rivers are in the vicinity of the Black Sea : the Kamtschyk, which feeds into the Black Sea between Varna and Misivri, in the vicinity of the Aegean Sea the Maritza with the Arda, which feeds into the Bay of Enos, the Karasu (Mesta), the Strymon (in Turkish Karasu), which flows through Lake Tachyno and which empties into Orfano Bay, the Vardar and the Vistritza, both feeding into Salonica Bay, in the vicinity of the Ionian Sea : the Arta, feeding into Arta Bay, the Kalamas and Pawla, flowing through Lake Liwari, in he vicinity of the Adriatic Sea : Viosa, Semeni with Dewol, Schkumbi, Mati, Drin and the Narenta feeding into the Adriatic Sea on Austrian territory. Among the inland lakes are the most important those of Scutari, Ohrida, Janina, Presba Lake and Ventrk Lake in Albania, the lakes of Kastoria, Ostrovo, Doiran, Lake Beschik and Tachyno in Macedonia. Of mineral springs in Turkey predominantly warm springs are found in Bosnia, and namely on the southern foot of the Balkan, as well as sulphurous springs.
Climate : The climate overall is mild and pleasant, despite the temperature covering a wide range due to the mounainous nature of the country. Because of the dominant northeastern winds, it is here colder than in Italy or Spain, countries which share the latitude they are located on with Turkey. Because of these conditions, climate and vegetation are very similar to those of central Europe. The Balkan forms a noticeable weather shed; while in the lands on the Danube the winter is rather severe, often rich in snow, and the thermometer not rarely sinks below - 10 degrees Celsius, south of the Balkan the temperature rarely sinks below - 3 degrees and in the summer under almost constantly clear sky it is often rather hot. While the cold northern winds bring snowstorms for the Bosphorus, in he coastal streches of the Aegean Sea and on the islands winter weather is only known in the mountain elevations. The air is, a few swampy stretches disregarded, healthy everywhere, but some areas are prone to earthquakes. Constantinople has the same average temperature as Venice. For the most part Turkey belongs to the subtropic rain zone with arid summers. The Balkan and the west of the country (Bosnia and Albania) on average receive over 100 cm precipitation, the remainder over 70 cm, only the Maritza valley less.
Area and Population : the area of European Turkey is 326,375 square km (5927.3 square miles), namely immediate possessions 165,438 square km (3004.5 square miles), East Rumelia 35,900 square km (652 square miles), Bulgaria 63,972 square km (1161.8 square miles), Bosnia, Herzegovina and Novipasar 61,065 square km (1109 square miles). As he population figure is concerned, the first partial census of the Ottoman Empire was conducted in 1830-1831, on which several more have followed. But these are not to be given much weight, as it has been proven that officials gave low figures in order to cash in on the taxes paid by not eported subjects. Further, only he adult male population has been counted, and figures giving the relation of adult men to women and children of both genders are lacking. A third factor are the (unknown) losses in consequence of the war of 1877-1878; so all estimates seem unreliable. The state handbook (salname) gave for 1879 the following survey of he population of European Turkey : Vilayet Edirne (Adrianople) 597,794; Vilayet Selanik (Saloniki) 1,000,558, Vilayet Kossovo 1,079,654, Jania (Janina) 736,904, Schkodra (Skutari) after the deduction of he area ceded to Montenegro in 1880 c. 203,000, Girid (Creta) 449,246, immediate possessions 4,167,156. To these have o be added, according to Behm and Wagner (VI) : Vilayet Constantinople, European part 540,000 inhabitants, islands Thasos, Imbros, Lemnos, Samohrace 42,374; the in Europe stationed armed force 130,000, foreigners and police 170,000, in total 5,050,000 souls, of whom about 2 million are Muslims (see the population figures of Bosnia, Bulgaria, Eastern Rumelia under these entries). The newest estimate (of 1887) gives for the immediate possessions only 4.5 million and almost he same figure for Bosnia, Bulgaria and Eastern Rumelia combined; per square km for he immediate possessions 27, for the entire European Turkey including the areas held occupied by Austria 28. A certain scale to measure the recent decline of the population is lacking, and e only can state hat such has occurred as a consequence of the war with Russia. Also for all other aspects of population statistics we lack data; we only can give observations regarding the distribution of the nationalities, of which we know due to the research of European scientists. The ruling tribe of the Ottoman Turks, on he Balkans peninsula, except for Constantinople, is nowhere found in concentration, but scattered insularly, mostly in the vicinity of larger cities, such as Adrianople, Serres, Istib, Saloniki, Monastir, Skutari etc. In western and central Bulgaria, where they used to live among Bulgarians, now they are said to have disappeared, in Eastern Bulgaria, in a large part of Eastern Rumelia and in the north of the Vilayet of Adrianople they live intermingled with Bulgarians. The west of the area still immediate possession of Turkey is inhabited by Albanians, from the borders of Montenegro and Serbia until 40 degrees northern latitude, and from the Adriatic Sea to 21 degrees eastern longitude, which they cross near Pristina in islands of Albanian-speakers. In northern Epirus they live intermingled with Greeks. The south of Epirus and Macedonia, Chalkidike and many points along the coast of the Aegean Sea and the Black Sea are held by Greeks, who live in the southern half of the Vilayet Adrianople intermingled with Turks. The west of Bulgaria and Eastern Rumelia as well as Thrace of old is nhabited by a compact mass of Bulgarians. In the Pindos Mountains Zinzars (Kutzovlachs) live, in Old Serbia and northern Macedonia Serbs. The Circassians for the most part emigrated to Asia Minor.
The Ottoman Turks, the ruling people, despite not forming the majoriy, are a Turkmenian tribe, a beautiful race with nble facial features. Their outstanding characteristics seriousness and dignity, moderateness, hospitality, eloquence, courage, on the other hand greed for power, excessive national pride, religious fanatism, fatalism, the tendency to superstition. Despite their tall stature and spiritual ability, in true civilization they are far behind the European nations and only hesitantly they have permitted the spread of Occidental civilization. Marriage is a polygamy regulated by numerous detailed stipulations, while the right to keep concubines and female slaves is unlimited. The wives of the wealthy, on which polygamy is limited, live locked up in harems. Ordinary Ottomans rarely have more than one wife. Marriage is meely a civic contract, which is concluded by husband and the family of the wife in front of a kadi. Children born by concubines and female slaves are as legitimate as those born by legitimate wives. Divorce is not difficult, but rare. Housing is inconspicuous and unadorned, mostly made of wood, single storey; the houses include a quadrangular inner court toward which the windows face, while only a few barred windows face toward the road. The men's dress consists of a kaftan (coat with many folds) or a short jacket, wide pants, a vest without a collar, a colourful sash wound around the body, and mostly yellow slippers or boots. Heads are covered by the turban. The dress of officials and the better-off this national dress is replaced by the Frankish black coat, less wide pants and the red Rez with a black quast. Except for a bushel near the top of the head, the hair is shorn; the beard worn long and well-cared for. The women, at least in the cities, wear a dress which sack-like covers the entire body, never go out without covering the face by musselin bandages and veils. The Ottomans are holders of civil and military offices or engage in crafts or agriculture, especially in Asia Minor.
Religious Conditions. The main religions in Turkey are the Muslim and the Greek Catholic. Islam is the faith of the Ottomans and of those among the earlier inhabitants which, shortly after their submission, have converted; in case of singular groups, more recent renegades. Believers in Islam are called Muslims (or Musulmans). Their holy book and law book is the Koran (see there). Scholars of the Quran qualify for legal and religious office (because Islam does not know of a separation of church and state), they are the Ulama (the learned), the counsel of whom is sought in all unclear cases of religious and civic life. The Ulema, when he leaves elementary school at the age of 10 to 12, enters one of the madrasas which are connected with the grand mosques, as a novice (Islamic seminaries) in which, as a softa, he is taught in grammar, logic, ethics, rhetorics, theology, the law, the Koran and the Sunna. Then he is granted by the Sheikh ul Islam the diploma of a candidate (Mulazim), thus being elevated to the lowest rank of ulama; now he can become judge (kadi). If he wants to a higher rank, he has to study law, dogmatism etc. for anoher seven years after which he is elevated to the rank of Muderris. The larger mosques, in which service is held on Fridays, are either larger ones (Dschami) or smaller ones (Medschids, houses of prayer). Clergy is divided in five classes : Sheikhs (the Elders), the regular preachers of the mosques who on all Fridays after noon service lecture on ethical and dogmatic topics; Chatibs or prayer leaders of the Chutbe (Kutbe), the public prayer which is prayed for the Sultan on every Friday in the large mosques; Imams, who are in charge of ordinary service in the mosques, of marriage and burial ceremonies; Muezzins who announce the hour of prayer from the minarets; Kaims, guardians and servants of the mosques, who are not regarded belonging to the ulama. If the ulama, so-to-speak, represent the clergy dealing with the secular world, the darwish can be compared to the monastic clergy. Turkey's Greek-Orthodox church, as far as possible under Muslim rule, has faithfully preserved her oldest constitution. The offices of patriarch of Constantinople, Antioch and Alexandria still exist. Highest reverence is given to the patriarch of Constantinople who is regarded as the head of the Oriental church by numerous metropolits, archbishops and bishops under his authoriy. He presides the eternal synod at Constantinpole, which consists of himself, 12 metropolits and 12 respected secular Greeks; it is the supreme court for believers in Greek Catholic faith in the entire Turkish Empire, and it elects bishops, archbishops, metropolits and patriarchs who have to be confirmed by the Porte. The patriarch of Constantinople is elected in what seems to be a free election; in reality the voters' votes are purchased. In order to retrieve the expenses of his election, the patriarch sells the sees of him subordinate bishoprics to the one who bids most; the bishops do the same with their subordinate parishes, the priess again extort the parishes. This practise mainly is to be blamed for the poor education and the undignification of Greek clergy. Only in 1857 did the patriarch find it appropriate to permit the election of a deputation which was to discuss necessary reforms. The monks and nuns follow the rule of Saint Basil; the most famous Greek monasteries are those on Mount Athos (see there) in Macedonia. The Armenian Christian Church is under the four pariarchs of Constantinople, Sis, Achtamar and Jerusalem. The Roman Catholic Church in Turkey, including the united Oriental Christians, has 27 patriarchs and archbishops, of whom 3 are found in European Turkey. The Jews have a Grand Rabbi in Constantinople (Chacham Baschi), to whom 7 High Rabbis and 10 Rabbis are subordinate. All non-Muslim inhabitants of Turkey are collectively called Rajah (people, herd). Islam tolerates Christian and Jewish religion and only demands to annihilate those who worship idols.
Education. Spiritual culture in the Turkish Empie generally is still on a rather low level. Educational institutions fall in three categories : (1) elementary schools, which teach reading, writing, counting, religion, geography and Turkish, and which have to be attended by all Muslim children of the age of six, the somewhat higher preparatory schools, (2) the Ruschdije schools, 470 in number, a kind of middle or real schools teaching Turkish, Arabic, Persian, history, geography, arithmetics and geometry, (3) the higher schools, such as the Imperial lyceum of Galata-Serai, the schools pf administration, law, forestry and mining, the war and naval academy, two medical schools, cadet institutes etc. Of importance is the number and capacity of the Armenian and namely Greek schools existing in the Turkish Empire, among them the Greek National School in Constantinople, for educating teachers, the trade and theological school on Chalki near Constantinople. In larger coastal cities, European schools, mostly managed by Catholic priests, are found.
Agriculture, Industry Following the stipulations of the Koran, in Turkey state treasury claims ownership of all soil, the administrator of which is the Sultan. Upon the conquest the land is divided in three parts, one being given to the state, one to mosques and religious funds (Wakuf), a third to be used by private individuals. To the sate domains belong (1) Miri, i.e. goods the proceeds of which flow into the state treasury, (2) uninhabited or uncultivated land, (3) the private domains of the Sultan and of his family, (4) forfeited or confiscated lands, (5) lands allocated to the offices of Vezir, Pasha of second rank, minister or palace official, (6) military fiefs (depending on their size called beylik, ziamet or timar, which were confiscated under Sultan Mahmud. The Wakuf lands belong to mosques, religious institutes and to charitable organizations which are administrated by Evkaf, an authority created for that purpose; they are either land or its proceeds, or land belonging to private persons but coming with certain tithes, which in case the owner has no direct heirs, turns into Wakuf. Private land property (Mulk) is registered on the name of the owner, can be inherited, sold and burdened with certain payments. Only since June 18th 1867 can foreigners acquire land in Turkey. Almost wihout exception, the owners of estates in Turkey to not live on their property, which is worked by a manager and a number of tenants. The latter mostly have to pay half of the harvest to the owner, after the deduction of seed and the tithe, so that the latter in poor years gets very little, in good years a lot. Agriculture is of a low level. Land is usually left lying fallow for a year, and at best is fertilized by livestock driven on it. The main grains grown are wheat, rye, barley and maize; the immediate lands procuse 8 million hl of wheat, 4,700,000 hl of rye, 4,400,000 hl of barley, 700,000 hl of oats, 3 million hl of maize. If harvest produces 8 times the quantity of seed this is regarded average, if 10 times it is regarded a good harvest. Maize produces 200 to 300 times the amount. The xport of cereals in 1863-1872 annually on average from Constantinople brough in 13 1/2 million Francs, that from Salonica almost 16 million Francs, but lately fell short of imports (1887-1888 wheat 7.3 million, barley 3.1 million, flour 9.6 million Marks). Of legumes namely beans, peas, Egyptian fasels and lentals are grown. The most widely-used begetables are onions, garlic, cabbiage, cucumbers. As garden plants further have to be mentioned : Spanish pepper, eggplant, melons, pumpkins etc. Among fruit trees most popular are plum trees, the fruis of which are dried and exported or serve for he production of liquor. Further, cherry, apple, pear, apricot, walnut and almond trees are found on the coasta of the Adriatic Sea and of the Archipelago. Of oil plants namely sesame is cultivated in the plains of Thrace, in southern Macedonia and in certain stretches of Epirus, and exported from Salonica. Viticulture is omnipresent, and has made significant progress as did wine export since the devastation of France's vineyards by the vine louse, namely in Rumelia and in western Asia Minor. Among spinnable plants namely hemp, linen and cotton are to be mentioned. Tobacco is grown in quantity (annually 15 to 18 million kg), the best in Macedonia, but this culivation has ben much harmed by irrational financial policies. In 1883 the tobacco regiment was introduced and granted for 30 years to a consortium of banks. A part is consumed domestically, the larger share exported to Russia, England, Austria. Of dye plants madder is the most important. In some areas, namely in Eastern Rumelia, a lot of attention is spent on the cultivation of roses. Forestry is at a low level, the devastation of forests enormous. Single provinces partially are still covered by dense forests, while others have an almost complete lack of timber. A major source of income in European Turkey is animal husbandry. The Turkish horses, small but enduring, serve mainly as beasts of burden; the donkeys and mules of Turkey compete in regard to beauty wih hose of Italy. The place of the camel, which only is found in Constantinople, is taken by the buffalo who carries the heaviest loads. The cattle is small, well-built, mostly yellowish grey with brown spots. Cows are kept almost exclusively for breeding. Of great significance is sheep breeding, especially in Albania, from where annually large herds are driven to graze on pastures in Macedonia andThessaly. European Turkey's wool exports, especially to France, used to average around 24 million Franc annually, but have decreased to 7 1/2 million Franc (1887-1888). The area around Adrianople produces finer wool. In mountainous areas many goats are kept. Important are also beekeeping and sericulture, although the latter has declined much due to the large price swings. Fishery is mainly conducted along the coasts. Here also the collection of sponges on the coasts of the Aegean Sea has to be included, while the collection of leeches in Macedonia is operated as a state monopoly. The mining industry is undeveloped, despite many rich ore deposits being found in the country, which may later contribute to the economic revitalization of these countries.
Inasfar as technology is concerned, production in Turkey is still conducted in the old ways. With the exception of the occupations indispensable for daily lives are those, as far as they are exercised in Turkey, limited to certain locations and persons. Production in factory scale exists hardly anywhere. In earlier times the Occident imported a number of costly goods (silk textiles, carpets, fayence) from Turkey; now this export has not only, but the same items of improved quality and a lower price are imported from abroad. Industrial activity presently is limited on the production of necessary articles of consumption by the peasants themselves and by the traditional cottage industry. Domestic and foreign investors repeatedly attempted to build up an industry, but every time these projects failed because of the ill will of the provincial governors, which in heir hatred of foreigners kept these out, while domestic capital found it easier to make profit by tax farming, financing trade and speculating at the bourse. For instance, as a matter of principle, foreigners were not allowed to operate mines. Only recently changes to the beter have taken place.
Trade and Communication The main obstacle of the for Turkey so important land and sea trade are still poor transport media. Paved roads Turkey, with the exception of a few newly constructed railroads, has few; the land roads even in he vicinity of Constantinople are in such a poor condition that they can only be used by pack animals and by local carts. Markets and fairs at various locations promote domestic trade, the most important of which are held between Sept. 23rd and Oct. 2nd at Usundscha Owa, nothwest of Adrianople. Trade with central and western Europe mainly is in the hands of foreigners, namely Greeks; on the other hand many Turkish subjects are engaged in Levantine and coasal trade. The banking and money exchange businesses are almost exclusively conducted by Greeks and Armenians, who also almost exclusively control domestic trade. In the spring of 1882 the Turkish Empire cancelled all trade agreements, in 1884 and 1885 a preliminary standard value tariff of 8 % was introduced, which since April 24th 1888 also applies for Easern Rumelia. Of wares which originate from abroad, 7/8 of the 8 % value tariff (in case of goods imported via Trebizond the entire amount) are reimbursed, if the wares are reexported within 6 months after the import. Only recently new trade agreements have been concluded, according to which either state grants the other the MFN status, namely with Romania (ratified Jan. 12th 1888) and Serbia (ratified August 28th 1888). Statistic data regarding ex- and import are by no means satisfactory. The "Journal de la chambre de commerce de Constantinople"since 1881 publishes official tables, which give a certain indication. According to his the most important export products are raisins, followed by silk, wool, mohair, valons, opium, skins, figs, cocons, wine, olive oil, ores, dates, carpets, soap, hazelnuts etc. The value of exports in million Piasters (at 16 to 17 Pfennig each) was :

European Turkey, Exports by Value

Product 1885/1886 1886/1887 1887/1888
raisins 146 183 172
mohair 59 86 50
opium 90 82 40
silk 77 79 84
cotton 55 53 31
valons 43 51 46
wool 34 50 57
skins 30 37 38
figs 34 35 30
cocons 27 34 39
wine 23 31 29
olive oil 38 27 36
ores 14 16 18
dates 17 15 21
carpets 13 14 16
soap 16 14 10
hazelnuts 15 13 7


In total the value of imports exceeds that of export; the relation of both is 10 : 6. Imported are mainly cloth, cotton wares, yarns, iron and steel wares, drugs, paints, oils, sugar, drinks, food items, spirits, petrol, stearin lights, matches, glassware, paper, jewelry, medicine, perfumes, furniture, weapons, haberdashery, fashion articles etc., mainly of English, French, Austrian, German and Swiss origin. According to official data, which because of the many trickeries of the officials and of defraudation are about a quarter below the actual numbers, with the exclusion of Egypt, of weapons, of imports for the government, of items imported for diplomats, consuls, schools, charities, of the machines and tools for agriculture and trade, the value of

European Turkey, Exports vs. Imports

E 1886/1887 E 1887/1888 I 1886/1887 I 1887/1888
Great Britain 894,028 851,812 434,932 357,444
Germany 2,513 3,802 729 216
Austria-Hungary 417,600 384,771 111,718 99,314
Italy 63,514 48,976 37,351 33,461
Persia 48,867 53,402 1,070 1,206
U.S.A. 12,352 15,596 15,333 12,751
Belgium 38,395 42,913 28 203
Bulgaria 49,370 50,974 2,325 2,292
Tunisia 7,742 10,353 12 382
Russia 178,614 226,155 30,715 28,910
Romania 32,238 25,903 10,770 13,094
Serbia 7,266 7,006 1.019 623
Netherlands 3,389 2,878 12,771 10,245
France 250,079 242,483 473,802 420,701
Egypt 1,957 1,770 90,527 87,765
Greece 41,138 37,739 46,519 59,108


The Turkish merchant navy is of negligible importance, and there are no certain data on it. In 1879 their combined tonnage was estimated at 181,500 tons. In 1886 it had only 17 steamships (7297 tons), 416 large sailships (69,627 tons) and a large number of smaller coastal vessels.
For the movement of ships, except of data for certain large port cities (Constantinople, Salonica, Smyrna, Dedeaghatsch, Trebizond, Beirut, Samsun, Jafa etc.) only data for the year from March first 1881 to February 28th 1882 are available. According to these 195,703 ships, of which 37,924 were foreign, with a total capacity of 15,864,032 tons, and 157,779 Turkish ones with 3,703,261 tons. During the war years the tonnage hd sunk to 12,810,003, until 1887-1888 iit had increased to 21,984,576 tons in international shipping and 5,597,351 tons in coastal shipping. The nations most involved in this are England with 9,274,572 tons, Austria-Hungary with 3,722,122 tons, France with 2,979,457 tons, Greece with 2,425,124 tons, Russia with 2,030,714 tons, Italy with 956,537, Sweden and Norway with 208,587, Germany with 163,833 tons. The port of Constantinople accounts for 36.36 % of the tonnage in international shipping. Regular steamship connections between the main ports of Turkey and the ports of the Black Sea, Aegean Sea and Adriatic Sea and the countries on the western Mediterranean Basin (Odessa, Triest, Brindisi, Messina, Marseille etc.) are maintained by the Austrian Lloyd, Messageries Maritimes, Fraissinet & Comp.Navigazione Generale Italiana, the Compagnie Russe de Navigation a Vapeur et the Commerce, by Greek and Turkish ships. The Turkish postal service was reorganised in 1840. (1886 408 post offices, in the entire Empire 1187); but because of the unreliability of the latter, Germany, Austria, France, Great Britain etc. have maintained their own post offices in Constantinople and a numver of other port cities. Railroad construction in European Turkey has begun only in recent years; until today in operation are 1170 km in Eastern Rumelia (in Asiatic Turkey 660 km); the very important lines Salonica-Mitrowitza and Constantinople-Sarambei have been opened in 1888. The telegraph network (seemingly in the interest of the government) is rather extended, even reaching remote provinces devoid of population. There are 233 telegraph offices (683 in the entire Empire). The most important cities of European Turkey are Constantinople, Adrianople, Gallipoli, Salonica, Janina, Skodra, Prisrend, Prischtina and Monastir. The currency is the Piaster (of 40 Para); 100 Piaster shall make one Turkish Lira (= 18 1/2 Mark). As gold enjoys Agio, the value of the Piaster is less (16 to 17 Pfennig). Gold pieces are accepted as currency of 500, 250, 100, 50 and 25 Piaster, silver coins of 20, 10, 5, 2, 1 and 1/2 Piaster and coins which are an amalgamation of silver and copper, full, half and quarter Altilik (one Altilik nominally equals 6 Piaster, contains 52 % silver and loses c. 17 %) and full, half, 2/5, 1/5 and 1/10 Beschlik (contains 25 % silver, nominally 5 Piaster, in trade it loses 50 %). The value of the gold and silver coins in various cities differs. In regard to measures and weights officially since 1871 the French (metric) system is valid. The traditional weight unit was the Okka = 1284 g, the traditional unit to measure grain the Kile = 25 to 37 liters, the length mesure the Pik Halebi = 0,686 m. These units of measurement are generally still in use.
Political Conditiona . The Ottoman Empire is an absolute monarchy, the ruler, Siltan ot Padishah (grand master) of which exercises the supreme secular power together with the Caliphate, the supreme spiritual authority. Among his subjects the Sultan is regarded the successor of the prophet, and derives his authority from God. The throne is hereditary in the male line of the House Osman, and usually falls to the eldest member. The Padishah is girdled with Osman's (the first Ottoman Sultan, 1299) sabre by the Mufti, assisted by the president of the emirs, in Eyub Mosque in Constantinople, on the occasion of which he promises to upkeep Islam and takes an oath on the Koran. The present Sultan is Abd ul Hamid Khan, born Sept. 21th 1842, son of Sultan Abd ul Medschid Khan (since Aug. 31th 1876), the 34th sovereign of the House Osman and the 28th since the conquest of Constantinople. The Sultan's court is referred to as the Sublime Porte. The sultan's officials are divided in two classes, one, the agas of the exterior, live outside of the palace or serail; the others, the agas of the interior, dwell in the Mabein, a part of he serail adjacent to the harem. Into the first category belong the first imam or grand almoner of the Imperial palace, the first medical doctor, the first secretary, the first adjutant, the marshall superior etc. Into the latter category (Mabeinji) belong almost exclusively eunuchs, which add the title "aga" to their names. By rank the first, and compatible to a field marshall, is the Kislar Aga (captain of the girls), the head of the black eunuchs. Further : the sultan's chief treasurer, the treasurer of the crown, the Kapu Aga or chief of the white eunuchs, the supreme master of the court, the supreme treasurer, the first chamber eunuch, the director of pages etc. The women of the harem (which is regarded an institution of the state), dependent on their rank are divided in several classes. Those of the first rank are the Kadines; their number is 7, the Sultan's concubines; they are followed by 50 to 60 Odalik (Imperial chamber maids) which are allocated to certain services, and who probably share with the Kadines he favour of the Sultan. In total the harem contains 300 to 400 women, most of them Circassians. Only the daughters or sisters of the Padishah use the title Sultana. His mother is called Sultan-Walide or Sultan-mother, and after the Sultan occupies the highest rank in the state. Ottoman legislation consists of two main sections, the theocratic (religious-civic) law or Sharia, and the political law or Kanun. The Sharia is based on the Koran, the Sunna or tradition, the Ijma i Ümmet (containing the interpretations and decisions of the first 4 Caliphs) and of the Kyas or the collection of juridical decisions made by the 4 great Imams (Ebn Hanife, Maliki, Schafi'i and Hambali) in the first three centuries of Hijra, to the collections of fatwas (see there). The system of Turkish legislation is the work of c. 200 legal experts, the works of whom were combined in voluminous collections which replace legislation. The first, called "Dürrer" (pearls), reaches until 1470 (875 a.H.), the second, "Mülteka ül Buhur" (connection of the seas), the work of Sheykh Ibrahim Halebi (died in 1549), was fully reedited in 1824 and is religious, political, military, civil and penal law code. The commercial law code is a poor copy of the French Code de Commerce of 1807.
Theoretically in Turkey the constitution of Dec. 23rd 1876 is valid; but the government barely pays attention on the former. The constitution basically determines : the indivisibility of the Empire, the Sultan being invulnerable and not subject to being held responsible, his privileges which are those of other European rulers; the freedom of the subjects (which without distinction are called Ottomans) being invulnerable. State religion is Islam, but recognized religions may be freely practiced and maintain their privileges. Freedom of the press. of petition and assembly, equality of all subjects in front of the law (but slavery de facto still exists !), freedom of education, all Ottomans disregarding their faith qualifying for all positions in public service, the equal allocation of taxes etc. are guaranteed. The council of ministers shall consult presided by the grand vezir. The ministers are responsible for their respective ministries and can be accused in the chamber of deputees. The dissolution of the latter, the dismissal of ministers in case of a conflict between both, the right of the delegates to appeal, the indismissability of state officials (unless there is a juridical reason for such a move), all as in civilized nations. Also the composition of parliament (not convened since 1878) of two chambers, the institute of the Imperial address, the freedom of votes, sessions being public, votes on the budget etc. However, the constitution soon after adaptation has been disregarded.
State Administration As far as the state administration is concerned, the Sultan is its legislative and executive authority, through the Grand Vezir (in 1878 temporarily abolished) and the Mufti (Sheykh ul Islam). The grand vezir (Sadrasam) is the representative of the sultan, presides over the secret council, and is the factual holder of executive authority. He is granted his authority by a Hattisharif of the sultan and resides near the Sublime Porte. The mufti or sheykh ul Islam (office introduced in 1543 by Mehmed II.) has to supervise the interpretation of the law. He is chief of the ulama (see below), but himself neither priest nor juridical person. He participates in legislative authority in the sense that his approval is necessary for every decree, every act emanating of highest office. Further, at the top of administration are the respective state ministers, namely the president of state council, the minister of foreign affairs, the war minister, the grand master of artillery (Seraskier), the minister of finances, the minister of the navy (Kapudan Pasha), the minister of the interior, he mnister of trade, of public works and agriculture, the minister of public education. the minister of justice and the intendant of the Evkaf (i.e. the lands belonging to mosques and charities). The secret council or Divan, the members of which are called Mushir (councillors of the head of state), consist of the Sheykh ul Islam, the aforelisted ministers and the presidium of the state council, and they convene weekly. Then follow the two Imperial councils, the state council responsible for the implication of reforms and the one established in 1868 (after the model of the French Conseil d'Etat). Within every one of the various ministerial departments except for the one on foreign affairs, there are permanent councils, f.ex. for health care, for postal and telegraph service), which deal with matters and prepare projects for improvement. All offices of the Ottoman Empire are divided in scientific offices or offices of the teaching class (ulama), offices of the feather (administrative offices), offices of the sword (army and navy) and offices of the court. The ministers are called vezir or mushir; the other high officials of the Porte and the generals are given he title "Pasha", higher officials "Efendi", the sons of pashas and the higher officers "Bey", all lower officers and officials "Aga". Administratively the Turkish Empire is divided in Vilayets or governments general. The vilayets in turn are divided in Livas or provinces, which again are divided in Kazas or disricts. At the head of every vilayet is placed a wali or governor general, as the head of administration. Subordinated to him function, without being appointed by him, the Defterder for finances, the Mektubdschi or secretary general, the secretary for foreign affairs, officials for public education, for trade, agriculture, road construction, land survey, police etc. Every liva is administrated by a mutessarrif, every kaza by a kaimakam. At the head of Nahijes or municipalities stands a Mudir elected by the inhabitants, with his deputee, the Muavin. In every vilayet, liva, kaza and nahije the administrative officials are supported by a Majlis i Idareh (administrative council) composed of the judicial, financial and religious leaders as well as 3-4 elected persons. At the end of 1878 the draft of an organic regulation for Turkey's European provinces was published, according to which the sultan appoints the walis of all vilayets for a period of 5 years. The Porte is to choose among three candidates suggested by the wali for the position of mutessarrif, and to choose provincial officials if possible from the inhabitants of that specific province. A general council, composed of two delegates of each kaza shall convene in every vilayet. Except for customs revenue, the revenue from the taxation on real estate as well as other revenues are to be used to pay for the province's expenses for public works and for the police. Courts shall decide cases in public sessions.
Jurisdiction Turkish courts are divided in the Islamic Tscheris, at the head of which is the Sheykh ul Islam, and in the secular Nisamijes, which are composed of Christians and Muslims. The tribunal of the Tscheris consists of a high court of appeal (Arsadassi) with a chamber each for Europe and Asia, which consis of one Kasi-asker (Kazilesker, see there) and of 14 judges. In every vilayet there is a Tscheri court presided by a mullah with the title of Naib, who simultaneously presides the Divan-Temyisi (the vilayet's court of appeal). Similarly every liva and kaza has its Tscheri court, which often is very susceptible to bribery. For disputes between believers of different religions, as well as for all criminal cases, serve the nisamijes, one of which is found in every vilayet, liva and kaza, and the members of which are elected. Every higher court functions as instance of appeal for the lower ones. The highest is the tribunal superior in Constantinople (established in 1868), which has to confirm all death sentences. Further in all coastal cities there are 49 courts of commerce which were established in 1847. In cases in which boh parties are foeigners, consular courts decide.
Finances. In regard to finances, after state bankrupcy of April 13th 1876 (the cession of he payment of interest) state finances have slightly improved in consequence of the consolidation and reduction of foreign debt and the regulation of floating debt, decreed on Dec. 20th 1881. The loans of 1858 to 1874 of an amount of 190,997,980 Pouns Sterling were reduced to 106,437,234 Pound Sterling, and certain revenues (tobacco and salt monopoly, tax on drinks and fishery, on stamps, the sericulture tithe, tributes of Bulgaria and Eastern Rumelia; excess of income from Cyprus) are invested under supervision of the creditors, bringing ann interest of 1 % and amortized at 1/4 %. On March 13th 1887 the debt was 104,456,706 Pound. The domestic taxes which are to be used to pay the interest on the debts in 1887-1888 brought in 114 million Piaster (not even 1 million Pound Sterling). Further there is a domestic debt of c. 22 million Turkish Pound (of 100 Piaster each), a floating debt of c. 9 million Turkish Pound, the debt caused by the Russian War (32 million Pound Sterling, no interest), compensation to be paid to Russian individuals (38 million Francs) and debts for recently delivered armament (c. 3 million Pound Sterling). The budget is irregular; the figures of the later, inasfar as they are published, are dead letters and do not derseve any credibility. The permanent deficit is dealt with by he reduction of the salary of officials, by non-payment of such salaries, by small loans, by enforced loans, and other measures.In 1881-1882 the deficit amounted to 5 1/4 million Turkish Pound; it ranges between 4 and 8 million. in the fiscal year 1884-1885 the usually around 12 million Turkish Pound ranging state revenues had sunken to 7 million Turkish Pound; for 1887-1888 they are estimated at 17 1/2 million Turkish Pound, if correctly, is questionable. The main sources of state revenue, inasfar as these are not pawned to creditors, are : tax on property, income tax of certain occupations, the tithe of farm produce (12 %), the tax on lambs, the tax Muslims have to pay if they are freed of military service, 8 % import tariff and 1 % export tariff.
Army, Navy, Coat of Arms In May 1879 the comission to reorganize the army issued a new Order of Battle for the urkish army in peacetime. It consists of 7 army corps (Ordu) with the headquarters in Caonstantinople (guard), Adrianople, Monastir, Erzincan, Damascus, Bagdad and San'a in Arabia. In peacetime every army corps is to be composed of 6 infantry regiments of 3 batallions of 800 men, 6 regiments of mounted infantry, of 800 men, 4 cavalry regiments of 800 horses, 1 artillery regiment of 12 batteries of 6 pieces and 100 men, 1 pioneer battalion of 400 men and several gendarmerie batallions. This adds up to a strength of 210,000 men (134,400 infantry, 22,400 cavalry, 9600 artillery, 3600 pioneers and 40,000 gendarms) with 576 cannon, to whom in the case of war 100,000 men each in reserves and militia have to be added, with 192 respectively 120 pieces of artillery. Thus the field army would be 410,000 men with 888 pieces, which including irregulars and the Egyptian contingent would reach a number of half a million. De facto the Turkish army in 1885 was composed of 63 regiments infantry of 4 battalions, 2 zouave regiments of 2 battalions each, 15 batallions of mounted infantry and 1 battalion of mounted infantry, 39 regiments of cavalry of 5 squadrons, 13 regiments artillery with 144 mobile batteries, 18 mobile and 36 mountain batteries, 8 batallions fortress artillery and 10 batallions artillery engineers, 6 batallions engineers, a telegraph company, 5 train, 3 fire brigade and 3 engineer batallions, in total 12,000 officers, 170,000 men, 30,000 horses, 1188 pieces of field artillery, 2374 pieces of fortress artillery, furthermore cadres for 96 redif regiments of 4 batallions each. The fleet, drastically reduced by losses in the last war and later sales to England, at the end of 1886 again had 12 protected, 50 wooden and 12 torpedo vessels; under construction were an armed fregate and to armed corvettes. The flag consists of a red field with a white half moon and an eight-tipped white star, the merchant flag of three horizontal stripes : red-green-red.
... (description of coat of arms; of medals)

source in German, posted by Retro Bibliothek





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First posted on March 5th 2009

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