Slavery in the Ottoman Empire

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In the modern world slavery is still exists. It is enough to periodically view the sites of news agencies, where you can find information about that particular region of freed slaves or slave.

In the Ottoman Empire the institution of slavery was completely legal, but the position of slaves varied greatly. However, in the Middle Ages (and in some places and in more enlightened times, for example, in Russia or the United States), slavery was a perfectly normal and acceptable to society phenomenon that nobody was shocked.

According to the laws of Islam, it is prohibited to reduce a free Muslim to slavery. This, however, does not apply to captured during the wars of non-Muslims. This position was the starting point for establishing business in the sale of slaves - men and women who were brought mainly from Africa and the Caucasus.

The position of slaves was different. So, for example, a slave in the harem of Pasha could be the mother of his children. Slave in the sultan's harem was an influential figure in the state. An example is the daughter of the rural priest from Podolia Alexandra Lisovskaya, slave Sultan's harem, and then - famous Hürrem-Sultan, the wife of Suleiman Kanuni, the mother of Sultan Selim II.

Here it is worth mentioning the notorious system "devshirme" which so clearly denounced Panslavists, the speakers for the liberation of the Balkan Slavs from the Ottoman authorities.

In the Ottoman society never existed castes, as in India, or classes, as in medieval Europe. Were not in the Ottoman Empire and the serfs. People from the lower social strata could achieve the highest positions in the state.

So, for example, from 24 Grand vizier, replacing each other on this post from 1453 to 1566 years, only four belonged to the noble Muslim birth. The rest were from Christian Raya (taxable general population) who, by accepting Islam, and passed the appropriate training, reached the top of the social ladder.

Slaves were sold on the Chicken market (Tavukpazarı), located between the mosques Nurosmanly and Atik Ali Pasha near the main Istanbul market Kapalycharshy.

According to some estimates, in different historical periods up to 20% of the population of Istanbul were slaves. Even families with average incomes bought their slaves to work on the farm.

Slave market was officially closed in 1846, but the slave trade continued in other places.

Officially, slavery in the Ottoman Empire was banned during the reign of Sultan Abdulaziz (1861-1876) almost simultaneously with the abolition of serfdom in Russia and slavery in the United States.

Ildar Mukhamedjanov

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