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Economic normalities and discontinuities before and after the 1821 Revolution in the Macedonian region (1815–1830)



Economic normalities and discontinuities before and after the 1821 Revolution in the Macedonian region (1815–1830)


01 October 2021


"Although the revolutionary moment was relatively short-lived in Macedonia, its consequences were dramatic for various aspects of economic life, such as the distribution of wealth among ethnic and religious groups in the Macedonian area, the amount of the budget burden, the change in the qualitative and quantitative features of production, the transformation of productive relations and the intensification of the process of shaping large-scale land ownership. All of these the changes are reflected in the literature in a relatively impressionistic way, mainly from travel accounts, with all the restrictions that this type of source involves. The treatment of the Greek element in the region is mainly focused on its rapid economic “decline” and its fall from a position of economic hegemony.

The aim of this paper is to critically examine this historiographical motif on the basis of Ottoman fiscal documents from the archives of the Religious Court of Thessaloniki, which are housed in the Historical Archive of Macedonia. The archival material consists mainly of books relating to tax enforcement, instalments, expenses, chores and other charges on the population (tevzi defterleri and mesarifat defterleri), books relating to product pricing (narh defterleri) and financial decrees of the central and provincial authority (ferman and buyuruldu). The study of the archival material is mainly aimed at the extraction of serial data which, covering both the late prerevolutionary years and the decade after the uprising, will quantify the transformations in the economic structures of the region and allow a more accurate assessment of the changes brought about by the war in the premodern rural and urban landscape. In this context, the stereotypical historiographical depiction of the economic impoverishment of the Greeks after the end of Emmanouil Pappas’ uprising will be discussed and an attempt will be made to give specific and quantitatively defined meaning to the term indebtedness. Finally, the paper takes a broad look at the policies adopted by the Sublime Porte for economic recovery and reintegration of the area to Ottoman rule."

From the book of abstracts of the conference, as it was published on the organizer's website.

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