Limits of the Almighty: Mehmed II's 'Land Reform' Revisited

in Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient
Restricted Access
Get Access to Full Text
Rent on DeepDyve

Have an Access Token?

Enter your access token to activate and access content online.

Please login and go to your personal user account to enter your access token.


Have Institutional Access?

Access content through your institution. Any other coaching guidance?



This paper reviews the reform attempt that took place in the Ottoman Empire during the last years of Mehmed II (1451-81), which is generally referred to as a "land reform" in Ottoman historiography. First, it emphasizes that the freeholds, the main target of the said reform, were 'revenue-holdings' not land-holdings. Second, based on the examination of a tax register belonging to the Anatolian province of Amasya, it shows that the reform brought no fundamental change in the existing revenue holding system, let alone in the land relations, which remained entirely outside the scope of the reform. Finally, the article describes Mehmed II's attempt, insofar as reflected in north-central Anatolia, as no more than a somewhat superficial "fiscal" reform, which eventually resulted in failure upon his death, revealing the vulnerability of the positions of the sultans in their struggle for power against the centrifugal forces in the Ottoman Empire.

Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient

Journal d'Histoire Economique et Sociale de l'Orient



Content Metrics

Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 13 13 10
Full Text Views 4 4 4
PDF Downloads 1 1 1
EPUB Downloads 0 0 0