Emine Di̇ngeç

Keywords: Gediz, Gedos, Alum, mine, tax-farming

Abstract

As an important commercial mineral, Alum (kalinite) has been very well known from the ancient times and was produced in several places in the Ottoman Empire. Gedos (Gediz) Alum mine was one of those places and had been run since Byzantine times. Since Alum was an important commercial material in the trade with the West, mining area had been considered so valuable by the slates for centuries. The production of Alum was continued after the conquest of the area by the Ottomans. For the continuation of production the iltizam (tax­farming) system was used. The workers were exempted from some of the customary taxes. This exemption was abolished in the second half of the nineteenth century. This caused to some extent a decrease on the wages of the workers who were paid according to the amount they produced from the mine. Smuggling of Alum was the most important event noted in the archival documents. Most probably smuggling was the outcome of both low wages and the Ottoman regulation of monopoly on Alum. The purpose of this paper is to contribute both the studies on Ottoman mining and the history of the development of Kütahya area because of alum mine. This study shows that the Ottoman government had close interest in the production and commerce of Alum by establishing certain regulations on the process of production and trade. Despite the new technology and the new mining fields, the demand for alum continued in the 18th and 19th centuries.