Slavery in the Ottoman Empire and its Demise 1800-1909

Erdem, Y. Hakan
Date published: 
October 1996

'A masterful survey based on Ottoman and European sources, this book is a major contribution to the comparative study of slavery. Erdem explores the distinguishing feature of the Ottoman institution of slavery, most interestingly from the perspective of the slaves themselves. One of the book's chief contribution lies in its treatment of the community of freed slaves in Istanbul. Organized in lodges, presided over by a matriarch who also served as spiritual head of cult whose practices, disparaged by the Muslim orthodoxy, might well be traced back to the Yoruba in West Africa. By this discovery, Erdem links one of the sub-cultures of Ottoman slavery to the broader study of African slavery.' - Dr Eugene Rogan, St Antony's College, Oxford This study bridges the gap that exists between studies dedicated to the history of slavery in the Western and Islamic worlds. It sets itself the goal of understanding how slavery persisted and then met its end in the Ottoman Empire. It concentrates on the period between 1800-1909 and examines the policies of the Ottoman state regarding slavery both before and after the reform period known as the Tanzimat. It also looks at the British involvement in the issue.