Provincial Notables in the Eastern Black Sea Region: Kethüdâ-zâde Mehmed Emin of Tirebolu
Feridun M. Emecen
Keywords: Eastern Black Sea, Provincial Notables, Kethüdâ-zâde Mehmed Emin of Tirebolu, Mütegallibe, Ottoman
The most remarkable period in Ottoman social history is represented by the rise of local forces in the eighteenth century: this period is known as the "Era of Provincial Notables." Studies previously executed on this phenomenon (ayânlık) have concentrated on the great families of notables; however, the notables of the Eastern Black Sea region have only rarely been subjected to inquiry. The present study forms an investigation into the emergence of the Kethüdâ-zâde family in this region. The various larger and smaller groups of notables clustered around the Tuzcuoğulları and Canikli families of notables themselves constituted a significant power in the late eighteenth century. These groups of notables encountered opportunities in the course of events for testing and measuring the extent of their own power. Some members of these circles had risen to prominence through various kinds of government backing, and the families who were at times identified by the central government as bandits and who at other times operated in an official capacity as tax collectors came to constitute in their own locales leading focii of power. The Kethüdâ-zâde family, who are thought to have been members of the Çepni Turkoman clan in the pre-Ottoman period, emerged on the scene in a similar fashion. The acquisition of power by this family was an outcome of the economic conditions in the region in which the Gümüşhane silver mines were located. They achieved wealth and renown by means of collecting revenues from mining villages rather than through landholding.