Mehmet Beşi̇rli̇

Keywords: Tokat, Voyvodalık, Ottoman State, Anatolia

Abstract

Beginning from the mid 17th century, the Ottoman state initiated a restructuring of its financial structure. The system of the mukataa (tax farming) was spread wider, with the aim of a better tax collection and consequent continuous cash flow for the state treasury. The mukataa estates, which were distributed as concessions, began to be ceded as life estates from the end of the 17th century. The owner of the estate, who had got it by bidding for it, used to appoint a voyvoda as administrator or to farm it out to a third party. Apart from the owner or the voyvoda, appointed as administrator in the owner's name, nobody could intervene in the affairs of the estate. However, it did happen that a voyvoda was ineffective and that consequently third parties did intervene. It also happened that a voyvoda abused his powers, oppressing the populace. In this study, the structure of the mukataa estate of the Tokat Feud, its bidding procedures, the appointments of the administering voyvodas, their dismissals, outside interventions in the estate and corruption cases involving the voyvodas, have been analysed within the context of the records of the Tokat şer'iye courts (canonical law courts) and of other archival sources.