The importance of Ottoman archives for studying Rumelija
The Presidency of the Ottoman Archive Office (Osmanlı Arşivi Daire Başkanlığı), being part of the General Directorate of the Turkish Republic's State Archives (T.C. Başbakanlık Devlet Arşivleri Genel Müdürlüğü), is one of the world's most respected archives. It is one of the world's biggest archives in terms of the documents it contains and their scholarly and cultural significance. It contains data and documents relating to the history of nearly 40 European and North African countries and several Asian countries that came into contact with the Ottoman Empire, including Bosnia.
The Ottoman Archive documents are divided into defters and individual documents, which in turn may be researched according to their classification before and after the Tanzimat reforms. This article gives only information about the holdings and catalogues relating to Rumelia (the Balkans). The most significant of those introduced here are muhimme defters, ahkam defters, etc, and the most interesting ones are Bosnian ahkam defters. They consist of nine volumes which cover decisions for the period 1155-1285 AH / 1742-1867 CE.
Based on the examples of individual documents from the Office of the socalled privileged eyalets, which for a period included Bosnia, one can gain better insight into certain events during that period.