The Capitulations and the Ottoman Legal System

Qadis, Consuls and Beratlıs in the 18th Century


Pre-modern Western sources generally claim that European mercantile communities in the Ottoman Empire enjoyed legal autonomy, and were thus effectively immune to Ottoman justice. At the same time, they report numerous disputes with Ottoman officials over jurisdiction (“avanias”), which seems to contradict this claim, the discrepancy being considered proof of the capriciousness of the Ottoman legal system. Modern studies of Ottoman-European relations in this period have tended uncritically to accept this interpretation, which is challenged in this book.


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Biographical Note

Maurits H. van den Boogert, Ph.D. (2001) in Ottoman Studies, Leiden, is Post-Doctoral Researcher at the University of Leiden. He co-edited The Ottoman Capitulations: Text and Context (Rome, 2003) and Friends and Rivals in the East (Brill, 2000).


All those interested in legal history, the history of Islamic law, the history of the Ottoman Empire, the history of European-Ottoman relations, as well as historians of the Middle East in general.