Collective and individual warranty, bail books and bail registrations in Bosnia of Ottoman period

  • Azra Gadžo-Kasumović
Keywords: kefalet, jamstvo, kolektivni kefalet-defteri, pojedinačni kefaleti, sigurnost privrednog miljea, poslovne garancije, poslovno angažiranje, procedure sprovođenja sigurnosti lokalne zajednice


The paper discusses the concept of warranty or guarantee as used in the Ottoman registrations. It further talks about types of registrations: individual and collective, as well as of bail registration procedures in the Ottoman courts. With reference to examples, description and application of certain terms characteristic of the concept of warranty, guarantee, are elaborated. Particular attention has been paid to collective bail books or books of collective warranty as factors of ensuring general security the purpose of which, together with the manner of registration, primarily exemplify the practice typical of territories such as Eyalet of Bosnia.

To illustrate collective bail books, in addition to previously processed Mestvica List of Warranties of 1257/1841, and Christian List of Warranties of 1202/1788, an overview and description of numerous other traditionally kept bail books has been given, including details from the year of 1565. The practice of mutual warranties among beys, bashas, aghas, imams, as well as warranties for their subordinates, i.e. servants is discussed. The paper also includes an overview of Lists of Warranties by janissary bashas of 1181/1768, mutual warranties from the village of Osinići, jamat of Pazarić of 1231-32/1816-17, collective bail book of 1213/1796-97 covering the mahalles of Ašik Memija, Bagadadija and dhimmi of Crnotina village, bail book of mahalle Nežzade that was created after a scuffle in Pale in 1248/1832, and others. In addition to the above mentioned bail books, there is an elaboration on another group of collective bail books referring to guild corporations and mutual warranties in terms of participation in economic livelihood of specific regions.

The oldest known example of such kind is a book from 1565 registered in the protocol of the Sarajevo court, covering the region of Sarajbosna. However, it is very probable that the practice of registrations of collective books existed from the beginning of the work of sharia court, even before creation of mahkeme by establishment of kadi’s office.

The paper provides information on the high level of responsibility of jani- ssary agha and his deputy related to warranties, protection of law and order of the governing system in Ottoman provinces. The Ottoman Porte charged kul kehaja or agha kul kehaja esbek with the duty of evaluating the general situation and assessing the correlations between various groups. Based on instruc- tions sent by the Porte, they checked on circumstances and initiated measures in accordance with orders received. The practice of classical Ottoman type warranties expressed through collective books existed in the Bosnian province until 1841-1842. The proof of it is the famous Mestvica List of Warranties which was kind of transitional book/list between traditionally kept collective bail books and the new books organized in a modern way.

Within the modernization of an ongoing Ottoman system of the first half of the 19th century, it became evident that, in accordance with reformatory changes and after abolition of janissaries in 1826, the higher level of power no longer relied on kul ćehaja but on mirliva as a supreme commander of newly established military formations called the Victorious Muhammadan Army -Asakir-i Mansure-i Muhamediyye, as well as on mirliva’s deputy and mutesellim’s deputy.

How to Cite
Gadžo-Kasumović, A. (2014). Collective and individual warranty, bail books and bail registrations in Bosnia of Ottoman period. Anali Gazi Husrev-Begove Biblioteke, 21(35), 5-50. Retrieved from