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Author: Michael Talbot

This article examines the evolving role of the Ottoman navy in the mid-eighteenth century in protecting Ottoman seas from maritime violence. Despite enjoying a general peace with its European neighbors, merchant shipping in the waters of the eastern Mediterranean and coastal settlements were frequently subject to seaborne violence from European privateers, Maltese corsairs, and domestic pirates. Based on extensive research in the Ottoman archives, this article analyzes the development of the policy of protection (muḥāfaẓa) through defensive naval patrols, which occurred in conjunction with a strengthening of coastal fortifications and the implementation of innovative legal measures. The aims of this protective policy were to protect domestic and international trade, and to demonstrate imperial authority in Ottoman waters both in response to a demand for protection from subjects in the provinces from local and foreign violence, and as part of strengthening and consolidating Ottoman maritime territoriality in the Mediterranean.

In: Journal of Early Modern History