Ottoman Agrarian Policy and Rivalry for Land in South-East Europe

Analysis of Chiftliks in Sanjak of Bosnia from the Establishment of Ottoman Rule to the Beginning of the 17th Century

  • Fahd Kasumović, doc.dr.
Keywords: Osmansko carstvo, agrarna politika, čifluk, zemljišni odnosi, rani novi vijek, Bosanski sandžak, jugoistočna Evropa


This paper represents an attempt to research the circumstances under which military class and other primarily non-agricultural groups of the population could acquire possession rights (ḥakk-ı taṣarruf) on state-owned (mīrī) lands followed by the obligation to pay legitimate state dues prescribed by the law (ḳānūn) and current cadastral survey (apu taḥrīr defter).

The analysis in question is carried out on the basis of administrative data on chiftliks held by the before-mentioned group in the sanjak of Bosnia from the establishment of Ottoman rule, in the in middle of the 15th century, to the beginning of the 17th century. Efforts of primarily non-productive population to obtain possession rights on state land, while state retained ownership of the land itself, in this paper are considered in a broader context or as a part of phenomenon of rivalry and struggle for land. In addition to this, the problem of formation and accumulation of chiftliks in the hands of previously described members of society in historiography has been interpreted by different authors in various and often arguable ways, which posited the need for reinterpretation of common ideas on chiftliks and the so called process of chiftlicization (Bos. čiflučenje; Tur. çiftlikleşme).

Furthermore, significant attention is paid to crit- ical evaluation and reconsideration of groundless generalisations and overex aggerated images inherited from South Slavic (mostly Serbian) narratives of the 19th century, as well as to the old-fashioned historicist approaches and Marxist teachings which seriously influenced the understanding of Ottoman society and state in the historiography of socialist Yugoslavia.

How to Cite
Kasumović, F. (2014). Ottoman Agrarian Policy and Rivalry for Land in South-East Europe. Anali Gazi Husrev-Begove Biblioteke, 21(35), 93-150. Retrieved from