Jewish Entrepreneurs as seen in the Ottoman Tax-farming (Iltizam) Contracts (1560-1630) (With 7 Documents)


OSMANLI ARASTIRMALARI-THE JOURNAL OF OTTOMAN STUDIES, sa.50, ss.73-116, 2017 (AHCI İndekslerine Giren Dergi) identifier identifier

  • Basım Tarihi: 2017
  • Sayfa Sayıları: ss.73-116


There were many groups with different ethnic or religious origins among the subjects Ottoman Empire. One of those groups, the Jews, contributed significantly to the economic structure maintained by the state especially in the fields of finance and production. Their position as capital holders helped them to place bids frequently for tax-farms (iltizam) in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The Jews who placed many tax-farming bids in partnership with their coreligionists or Muslims faced certain economic and legal difficulties, or became the source of the problem themselves in the processes. The official attitude was to keep them in production economy as much as possible in these distressed times. The state needed the Jewish entrepreneurs because of their capital, and this group stayed in the iltizam bids persistently. One can say that both sides believed that the continuation of the system would be to their mutual benefit, and they saw the termination of the tax-farming bids as the last resort. The texts on tax-farming bids examined here provide interesting details about how the state protected the Jewish tax-farmers who fell into financial difficulty.