Ελληνική ιστορία και προϊστορία

Ελληνική ιστορία και προϊστορία
Ελληνική ιστορία και προϊστορία

Τρίτη, 23 Οκτωβρίου 2018

Ottoman Balkans (Part A) : The ethnological situation until the 19th century

From the 14th century, Venice controlled most of the maritime commerce of the Balkans with important colonial possessions on the Adriatic and Aegean coasts. Venice's long decline started in the 15th century, when it first made an unsuccessful attempt to hold Thessalonica against the Ottomans (1423–1430). She also sent ships to help defend Constantinople against the besieging Turks (1453). After the city fell to Sultan Mehmet II, he declared war on Venice. The war lasted thirty years and cost Venice many of the eastern Mediterranean possessions. Slowly the Republic of Venice lost nearly all possessions in the Balkans, maintaining in the 18th century only the Adriatic areas of Istria, Dalmatia and Albania Veneta. The Venetian island of Corfu was the only area of Greece never occupied by the Turks. The Ionian islands where out of the control of the Ottoman Empire. In 1797 Napoleon conquered Venice and caused the end of the Republic of Venice in the Balkans.
Much of the Balkans was under Ottoman rule throughout the Early modern period. Ottoman rule was long, lasting from the 14th century up until the early 20th in some territories. The Ottoman Empire was religiously, linguistically and ethnically diverse, and, at times, a much more tolerant place for religious practices when compared to other parts of the world. The different groups in the empire were organised along confessional lines, in the so-called the Millet system. Among the Orthodox Christians of the empire (the Rum Millet, the Roman Nation) a common identity was forged based on a shared sense of time defined by the ecclesiastical calendar, saint's days and feasts. The social structure of the Balkans in the late 18th century was complex. The Ottoman rulers exercised control chiefly in indirect ways. In Albania and Montenegro, for example, local leaders paid nominal tribute to the Empire and otherwise had little contact. The Republic of Ragusa paid an annual tribute but otherwise was free to pursue its rivalry with the Republic of Venice. The two Romance-speaking principalities of Moldavia and Wallachia had their own nobility, but were ruled by Greek families chosen by the Sultan. In Greece, the elite comprised clergymen and scholars, but there was scarcely any Greek aristocracy. A million or more Turks had settled in the Balkans, typically in smaller urban centers where they were garrison troops, civil servants, and craftsmen and merchants. There were also important communities of Jewish and Greek merchants. The Turks and Jews were not to be found in the countryside, so there was a very sharp social differentiation between the cities and their surrounding region in terms of language, religion and ethnicity. The Ottoman Empire collected taxes at about the 10% rate. The Sultan favoured and protected the Orthodox clergyas a protection against the missionary zeal of Roman Catholics.
Rūm millet (millet-i Rûm), or "Roman nation", was the name of the Eastern Orthodox Christian community in the Ottoman Empire. In fact, the Christians were conquered by Islam, but enjoyed a certain internal autonomy. After the fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Empire in 1453, all Orthodox Christians were treated as a lower class of people. The Rum millet was instituted by Sultan Mehmet IIwho set himself to reorganise the state as the conscious heir of the East Roman Empire. The Orthodox congregation was included in a specific ethno-religious community under Graeco-Byzantine domination. Its name was derived from the former Eastern Roman (a.k.a. Byzantine) subjects of the Ottoman Empire, but all Orthodox Greeks, Bulgarians, Albanians, Vlachs and Serbs, as well as Georgiansand Arab Christians, were considered part of the same millet in spite of their differences in ethnicity and language. Belonging to this Orthodox commonwealth became more important to the common people than their ethnic origins. Christians were guaranteed some limited freedoms, but they were not considered equal to Muslims, and their religious practices would have to defer to those of Muslims, in addition to various other legal limitations. The Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople was recognized as the highest religious and political leader, or ethnarch, of all Orthodox subjects. The Serbian Patriarchate of Peć and the Bulgarian Archbishopric of Ohrid, which were autonomous Eastern Orthodox Churches under the tutelage of the Ecumenical Patriarch, were taken over by the Greek Phanariotes during the 18th century. In the early 19th century, the Greek Orthodox intellectuals tried to reconceptualize the Rum millet. They argued for a new, ethnic "Romaic" national identity and new Byzantine state, but their visions of a future state included all Balkan Orthodox Christians. This Megali Idea implied the goal of reviving the Eastern Roman Empire by establishing a new Greek state. It spread among the urban population of Vlach, Slavic and Albanian origin and it started to view itself increasingly as Greek.
The Greeks were a self-conscious group within the larger Christian Orthodox religious community established by the Ottoman Empire. They distinguished themselves from their Orthodox co-religionists by retaining their Greek culture, customs, language, and tradition of education. Throughout the post-Byzantine and Ottoman periods, Greeks, as members of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, declared themselves as Graikoi (Greek: Γραικοί, "Greeks") and Romaioi or Romioi (Greek: Ρωμαίοι/Ρωμηιοί, "Romans"). Despite losing their political independence, the Greeks remained dominant in the fields of commerce and business. The consolidation of Ottoman power in the 15th and 16th centuries rendered the Mediterranean safe for Greek shipping, and Greek shipowners became the maritime carriers of the Empire, making tremendous profits. The Phanariots became prominent in the imperial capital of Constantinople as businessmen and diplomats, and the Greek Orthodox Church and the Ecumenical Patriarch rose to great power under the Sultan's protection, gaining religious control over the entire Orthodox population of the Empire, Greek, Αlbanian-speaking, Latin-speaking and Slavic. The Sultan regarded the Ecumenical Patriarch of the Greek Orthodox Church as the leader of all Orthodox, Greeks or not, within the empire. The Patriarch was accountable to the Sultan for the good behavior of the Orthodox population, and in exchange he was given wide powers over the Orthodox communities, including the non-Greek Slavic peoples. The Patriarch controlled the courts and the schools, as well as the Church, throughout the Greek communities of the empire.
A significant number of Bosnians converted to Islam after the conquest by the Ottoman Empirein the second half of the 15th century, giving it a unique character within the Balkan region. It took more than a hundred years for the number of Muslims to become the majority religion. Forced conversions were rare. Always on a purely religious ground, it is also said, by the orientalist Sir Thomas Arnold for instance, that because of Bogomilism, a major dualistic heresy in the region at the time, oppressed by the Catholics and against whom Pope John XXII even launched a Crusade in 1325, the people were more receptive to the Turks. Economic and social gain was also an incentive to become a Muslim: conversion to Islam conferred economic and social status. Under the feudal system imposed by the Ottomans, only those who converted to Islam could acquire and inherit land and property, which accorded them political rights, a status usually denied to non-Muslims. A number of Christian nobles, however, were able to retain their estates early on in the Ottoman rule by fighting on behalf of the Empire, suggesting that holding on to their property was not a major incentive for early conversions to Islam. At a lower socioeconomic level, most new converts to Islam were able to turn their holdings into freehold farms. At the bottom of the socioeconomic ladder were the serfs, who constituted the majority of the population and were predominantly Christians. In addition, only Muslims could hold positions in the Ottoman state apparatus, which conferred special privileges and a much higher standard of living. Muslims also enjoyed legal privileges: Christians could not sue Muslims and their testimony could not be used against Muslims in court. The gradual conversion of many Bosnians to Islam proceeded at different rates in various areas and among different groups. Conversion to Islam was more rapid in urban areas, which were centers of learning and of the Ottoman administration, than in the countryside. Merchants found it advantageous to convert to Islam because they gained greater freedom of movement and state protection for their goods as Muslims. Many professional soldiers also converted to Islam to ensure more rapid promotion. The various advantages and privileges that were reserved for Muslims and the large number of conversions they encouraged among the native population led to the emergence over time of a largely local Muslim ruling class that dominated political and economic power in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Conversion to Islam was also used as a way to escape the devşirme tribute.
The Islamization of Albania occurred as a result of the Ottoman conquest of Albania during the late 14th century. The Ottomans through their administration and military brought Islam to Albania through various policies and tax incentives, trade networks and transnational religious links. In the first few centuries of Ottoman rule, the spread of Islam in Albania was slow and mainly intensified during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries due in part to greater Ottoman societal and military integration, geo-political factors and collapse of church structures. It was one of the most significant developments in Albanian history as Albanians in Albania went from being a largely Christian (Catholic and Orthodox) population to one that is mainly Muslim (Sunni, Bektashi and some other sects), while retaining significant ethnic Albanian Christian minorities in certain regions. The resulting situation where Sunni Islam was the largest faith in the Albanian ethnolinguistic area but other faiths were also present in a regional patchwork played a major influence in shaping the political development of Albania in the late Ottoman period. Apart from religious changes, conversion to Islam also brought about other social and cultural transformations that have shaped and influenced Albanians and Albanian culture. The peak of Islamization in Albania occurred much later than other Islamized or partially Islamized areas: 16th century Ottoman census data showed that sanjaks where Albanians lived remained overwhelmingly Christian with Muslims making up no more than 5% in most areas while during this period Muslims had already risen to large proportions in parts of Bosnia (Bosnia 46%, Herzegovina 43%, urban Sarajevo 100%), Northern Greece (Trikala 17.5%), urban Macedonia (Skopje and Bitola both at 75%) and Eastern Bulgaria (Silistra 72%, Chirmen 88%, Nikopol 22%). Later on, in the 19th century, when the process of Islamization had halted in most of the Balkans it continued to make significant progress in Albania, especially in the South. Steep decreases in Northern Albania occurred during the 1630s-1670s where for example the number of Catholics in the diocese of Lezhë declined by 50%, whereas in the diocese of Pult Catholics went from being 20,000 to 4,045 adherents, with most converting to Islam and a few to Orthodoxy. The official Ottoman recognition of the Orthodox church resulted in the Orthodox population being tolerated until the late 18th century, and the traditionalism of the church's institutions slowed the process of conversion to Islam amongst Albanians. In the early 16th century South Albanian cities were still Christian and by the late 16th century Vlorë, Përmet and Himarë were still Christian, while Gjirokastër increasingly became Muslim. Conversion to Islam in cities overall within Albania was slow during the 16th century as around only 38% of the urban population had become Muslim. It was mainly during the late eighteenth century however that Orthodox Albanians converted in large numbers to Islam due overwhelmingly to the Russo-Turkish wars of the period and events like the Russian instigated Orlov revolt (1770) that made the Ottomans view the Orthodox population as allies of Russia. In the 19th century, Albania as a whole, and especially Southern Albania, was notable as a rare region in the Ottoman Balkans where the Christian population was still losing considerable numbers of adherents to Islamization.
Today the Pomaks in Greece inhabit the region of East Macedonia and Thrace in Northern Greece, particularly the eastern regional units of Xanthi, Rhodope and Evros. The Pomaks are "slavicised" Greek Muslims, they are the descendants of Ottoman-era Greek converts to Islam like the Vallahades of Greek Macedonia. They inhabited the mountains of Rhodope between Greek Bulgarian borders. The Vallahades or Valaades were a Greek-speaking, Muslimpopulation who lived along the River Haliacmon in southwest Greek Macedonia, in and around Anaselitsa (Neapoli) and Grevena. They numbered about 17,000 in the early 20th century. They are a frequently referred-to community of late-Ottoman Empire converts to Islam, because unlike most other such communities of Greek Muslims in Ottoman Macedonia the Vallahades retained many aspects of their Greek culture and continued to speak Greek for both private and public purposes.
The mass turn to Islam in the Central Rhodope Mountains happened between the 16th and the 17th century. According to the Codes of Bishop of Philippoupolis and the Czech historian and slavist Konstantin Josef Jireček in the middle of the 17th century, some Bulgarian provosts agreed to become Muslim en masse. They visited the Ottoman local administrator to announce their decision, but he sent them to the Greek bishop of Philippoupolis Gabriel (1636–1672). The bishop couldn't change their mind. According to the verbal tradition of the Greeks of Philippoupolis, a large ceremony of mass circumcision took place in front of the old mosque of the city, near the Government House. After that, the villagers became Muslim, too.
Demographic data for most of the history of the Ottoman Empire is not quite precise. For most of the five centuries of its existence, the empire did not have easily computable valid data except figures for the number of employed citizens. Until the first official census (1881–1893), data was derived from extending the taxation values to the total population. Because of the use of taxation data to infer population size, detailed data for numerous Ottoman urban centers - towns with more than 5,000 inhabitants - is accurate. This data was collaborated with data on wages and prices. Another source was used for the numbers of landlords of households in the Ottoman Empire- every household was assumed to have 5 residents. The first official census (1881–1893) took 10 years to finish. In 1893 the results were compiled and presented. This census is the first modern, general and standardized census accomplished not for taxation nor for military purposes, but to acquire demographic data. The population was divided into ethno-religious and gender characteristics. Numbers of both male and female subjects are given in ethno-religious categories including Muslims, Greeks (including Greek Macedonians, Asia Minor Greeks, Pontic Greeks, and Caucasus Greeks, all Orthodox Christians under the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Constantinople from extremely distinct ethnic origin), Armenians, Bulgarians, Catholics, Jews, Protestants, Latins, Syriacs and Gypsies. In 1867 the Council of States took charge of drawing population tables, increasing the precision of population records. They introduced new measures of recording population counts in 1874. This led to the establishment of a General Population Administration, attached to the Ministry of Interior in 1881-1882. Somehow, these changes politicized the population counts. After 1893 the Ottoman Empire established a statistics authority (Istatistik-i Umumi Idaresi) under which results of another official census was published in 1899. Istatistik-i Umumi Idaresi conducted a new census survey for which field work lasted two years (1905–06). 2-3 million people in Iraq and Syria remained unregistered and uncounted. As a factual note this survey's complete (total) documentation was not published. Results of regional studies on this data were published later, which were sorted by their publication date. Included in the publication and subsequent ones was the Ottoman Empire's population as of 1911, 1912, and 1914. The substantial archival documentation on the census has been used in many modern studies and international publications. After 1906 the Ottoman Empire began to disband and a chain of violent wars such as the Italo-Turkish War, Balkan Wars and World War I drastically changed the region, its borders, and its demographics.
Danube Vilayet (1866). In 1865, 658.600 (40,51%) Muslims and 967058 (59,49%) non-Muslims, including females, were living in the province excluding Niş sanjak and 569.868 (34,68%) Muslims, apart from the immigrants and 1.073.496 (65,32%) non-Muslims in 1859-1860. Half the Muslims were refugees from a population exchange of Christians and Muslims with Russia. Before the establishment of the Danube Vilayet, some 250.000-300.000 Muslim immigrants from Crimea and Caucasus had been settled in this region from 1855 to 1864. Another 200-300,000 male and female Circassian and Crimean Tatar refugees settled in 1862-1878 were to a degree excluded from the 1866 census count. Estimates in some eighteen sources show that the Muslims constituted about 35% of the total Balkan population during the first half of the 19th century, while in the second half of the century the proportion grew to 43%. According to thirty three sources the proportion of Turks in the European provinces during the 19th century ranges from 11 to 24 percent; of Greeks from 9 to 16 percent; of Bulgarians from 24 to 39 percent. The Turks made up two thirds of the Muslims in the Danube Vilayet and most of them in the Adrianople Vilayet and Salonika Vilayet. In the more western vilayets the Muslims were a majority, which consisted usually of Slavs and Albanians. In the Ioannina Vilayet the Orthodox Christians were dominant, a majority of whom were ethnically Albanian according to Ottoman officials and were also three fourths of the Muslims. In 1867 Salaheddin Bey estimated 595,000 Circassian newcomers in the European part and 400,000 Armenians in European part. Practically all of the Circassians began migrating to Anatolia after the Russian military advances in the last quarter of the century.
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