The 16th Century Foundations of Ayaş County
Keywords: Ayaş, Foundation, 16th Century
The financial and social components of various charitable institutions such as soup kitchens, mosques, dervish lodges, schools, and shops are formed as products of foundations and their structures are such that they rely on real estate and funds allocated to them by vakıfs (funding foundations). Additional investigations carried out into historical foundations will act to reveal both the social and financial features of these organizations and will also serve to roughly estimate the amounts of funding from other than "state budget" sources used for these purposes. This will allow us to better determine the transfer of funds from the society's more affluent groups to its poorer and the amounts of funds allocated for social needs, in other words to make a more sound assessment of the society's social justice mechanisms. When we take into account the wide geography of the Ottoman Empire, it becomes obvious that such a task will be very time-consuming. In light of this, this work represents an investigation into the foundations active in the Ayaş County of the Ankara sancak (region) during the 16th century. Thusly, this research has determined the allocations received from villages and pastures of Ayaş that were not included in the timar (fiefdom) system, allocations of varying amounts of funds from individuals, the purposes for which they were allocated, and, additionally, the names of the villages located in Ayaş county during the 16th century. According to Evkaf (real estate) register number 558 encompassing the years 1572-1572, there were seven neighborhoods within the county seat of Ayaş proper and twelve villages within the county that constituted foundation property. A total of ten villages were allocated to Sultan Bayazid II's imaret (charities) in Amasya, one village to the Karacabey imaret in Ankara, and one to the Umurbey Mosque in Bursa. If we consider each village separately according to allocated products, a total of 14 villages were bound to the Sultan Bayezid II's foundations while the total number of foundation villages rose to 16. Besides these we also find that various mills, stores and other real estate like farms and vineyards in pasture areas and other sums of monies were also allocated to foundations. In this way, a sum of 80,400 akçe from three financial foundations were allocated for the mosque in Ayaş, the school in Ayaş, and the mosque in the village of Karacaviran. A large part of the afore-mentioned real estate was allocated for the salaries of the imams or hatips (preachers) at 21 lodges and five mosques. One foundation had been dissolved. A major portion of the collected taxes was sent outside of Ayaş, with a large part going to Amasya where it was then transferred to Bursa and Ankara. We will have to wait for further investigations into foundations in order to ascertain what sums of income were transferred to Ayaş from other areas.