The Profit Tax Rolls of Non-Ottoman Subjects at İzmir
Mübahat S. Kütükoğlu
Keywords: İzmir, The Profit Tax Rolls, Non-Ottoman Subjects, Ottoman, Tanzimat
Due to the changes in the customary taxes following the Tanzimat era of reforms initiated in 1839, a survey was begun in A.D. 1840/H. 1256 to determine the levels of income on which to base the new tax. In A.D. 1845/H. 1261, the survey procedure was revised to comprehend all Ottoman territories. As elsewhere, the survey was commenced at İzmir in the same year, but it proved impossible to complete at this time because of a fire that broke out in the city, with the result that the survey was re-executed two years later. Unfortunately, the tax survey registers for the Ottoman subjects are not available in that portion of the Ottoman Archives of the Turkish Prime Ministry open to researchers. At present, the only profit tax (temettü) registers open to examination are for the foreign subjects resident at İzmir. Entries in these registers cover citizens and subjects of England, Austria, France, Russia, Denmark, Prussia, Greece, the Netherlands and the Italian states of Naples, Tuscany, Genoa and Sardinia. Thus, we may gather data on such aspects as the number of foreign residents and those under their protection (males only), the property they owned, their income, the area of the city in which they resided and their occupation. For instance, we learn that the greatest proportion of non-Ottoman residents were citizens of Greece and that most of them were native to the Aegean islands, but that their income levels were comparatively lower than those citizens of the leading states. In any case, those classified as foreign subjects were, by and large, originally Ottoman citizens subjects by birth, of which the largest group was composed of Greek speakers. The number of Armenians and Jews was very much smaller. Most of the Jews had originated from Tuscany. It appears that, by preference, practitioners of certain occupations became subjects of a particular state. For example, the most common occupation among those who were Greek subjects was shoemaking, while that of the French, the Austrians, the Genoese and the Tuscans was brokerage, that of the Russians was the fruit and nut trade and that of the English was tailoring and the manufacture and sale of caiques. Though at this time a prohibition against ownership of private land in Ottoman territories was still in force, many of the foreign subjects of İzmir possessed real estate property and the right to engage in tradeguild activity in their own shop. The value of their property, however, was not very great. The rental income of these properties was also entered. Both in terms of the value of the property and the level of rental income, English subjects occupied the first ranks. Those who owned no property other than their own residence-unless they rented out rooms in their house-were not classified as property owners. In the following article, individual figures are given for the different kinds of property owned, such as consular residences, seaside villas, Jewish communal housing, residential housing for Europeans, caravansaries, shops, storehouses, taverns, coffeehouses, bread bakeries, and eating establishments.