Slaves in the Ottoman Empire

Topics: Ottoman Empire, Slavery, Islam Pages: 4 (1405 words) Published: December 9, 2010
Slaves in the Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman Empire existed from year 1453 to 1923 and was one of the largest and most well organized empires in world history. The Ottomans were very successful and conquered enormous territories with their large and professional standing armies. The Ottoman Empire was a slave society and slavery was very popular among the Ottomans. The sultan owned all property and had enormous power, and that was partly because he had so many slaves. That gave him much more control than if he had hired freemen, since slaves were always loyal but freemen could not be trusted in the same way. Islamic law regulates all aspects of the slave's status. It lays down the obligations of masters and slaves and determines the relations between them. The law commends manumission but does not require it.No distinction is made between types of slaves -- such as according to color, function, or origin of servile state.  During the early period of Islam, most of the slaves were prisoners-of-war captured by the victorious Muslim armies. With the stabilization of the frontiers,... this situation changed and many of the captives were exchanged or ransomed. Since the Sharia forbids the enslavement of free-born Muslims and Zimmis (protected minorities) who do not violate the conditions of their status, and since the various mechanisms of manumission and the absence of slave-breeding practices limited the ability of the slave population to reproduce itself, slaves had to be recruited from outside the Islamic world. Slaves in the Ottoman empire in general were brought from Eastern Europe and parts of Southern Russia. In the Islamic world slavery had religious rather than racial connotations, with most of the slaves in Ottoman history being Christians. The Ottomans had many European and Central Asian "Mameluk" slaves and the elite Janissary troops of the Ottoman army were all Christian-born slaves taken mostly from the Balkans

Male and female slaves in the...
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