The paper tackles the issue of national politicization in late Ottoman Thrace through the case study of Stenimahos (İstanimaka, Stanimaka), a large mountainous village in Northern Thrace, whose Greek-speaking inhabitants initiated during the 1860s a long tradition of anti-Ottoman nationalist militancy and a close relation to independent Greece. The rapid national politicization and radicalization of the Stenimahiote Greeks was triggered by a severe reproduction crisis of the local economy in the context of mounting incorporation of the Ottoman empire into the world economy. Ensuing conflicts in local society were successively articulated into the unstable ‘post-Crimean war’ regional, imperial and international contexts. Last but not least, the analysis of the ‘amphibious’ emigration movement of the Stenimahiotes to Greece which followed the crisis reveals the agency of the non-elite subjects and challenges idealist and ‘top-bottom’ approaches to the process to nation formation in the late Ottoman Balkans.
See for example Apostolidisο Στενίμαχος pp. 4–11; Aνατολική Eπιθεώρησιςii issues 61 64 and 65 25.12.1884 15 and 22 1885. For the medieval history of the region see Gautier Paul “Le typikon du sebaste Gregoire Pakourianos” Revue des Études Byzantines 42 (1984) 5–145.
Pamuk Şevket“Money in the Ottoman empire (1326–1914)” in An Economic and Social History of the Ottoman Empireed. Halil İnalcık and Donald Quataert (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 1997) vol. ii p. 971; Pamuk Şevket “The evolution of financial institutions in the Ottoman empire” Financial History Review 11/1 (2004) 7–32 p. 25.
In March1859Nusret Bey special envoy of the Porte arrived in Plovdiv to collect the tax arrears. For this purpose he formed in May a special commission of representatives from all millets in order to inquire into the system of tax collection in the region. Бългapия 1/2 and 1/7 16.4 and 21.5.1859.