Research Article


DOI :10.26650/iutd.20241390569   IUP :10.26650/iutd.20241390569    Full Text (PDF)

An Analysis Of Social Capital And Wealth Accumulation: The Estate Of El-Hac Beşi̇r Bi̇n Abdullah, One Of Istanbul’s First Gedi̇kli Sarrafs (1698)

Metin Ziya Köse

The gedikli sarrafs of Istanbul were established in 1691 after extensive consideration and discussion by Ottoman administrators. The gedikli sarrafs, had various important functions at the mint, including the collection of precious metals from markets and their delivery to the mint under certain conditions, and had become involved in one of the most dynamic businesses of the period over time. This study will partly focus on the life, career stages, wealth accumulation through inheritance, and characteristics of the material world of the money changer, el-Hac Beşir bin Abdullah, who was a conscript, janissary, and one of Istanbul’s first gedikli sarrafs. To achieve these goals, the article will utilize records from both Ottoman archives and Istanbul’s Sharia court registers.

DOI :10.26650/iutd.20241390569   IUP :10.26650/iutd.20241390569    Full Text (PDF)

Bir Sosyal Sermaye ve Servet Birikimi Tahlili: İstanbul’un İlk Gedikli Sarraflarından El-Hac Beşir Bin Abdullah’ın Terekesi (1698)

Metin Ziya Köse

İstanbul sarraf gedikleri 1691’de Osmanlı idarecileri tarafından epeyce düşünüldükten ve tartışıldıktan sonra ihdas edilmiştir. Mali, finansal ve iktisadi birçok mühim fonksiyonu olan darphanede farklı vazifeleri yanında değerli madenlerin piyasalardan toplanması ve belirli şartlarla darphaneye teslim edilmesi işini uhdelerine almış olan gedikli sarraflar, zaman içerisinde dönemin en dinamik işlerinden birini yapar hale gelmişlerdi. Bu çalışmada devşirme, yeniçeri ve İstanbul’un ilk gedikli sarraflarından biri olan el-Hac Beşir bin Abdullah’ın kısmen hayatına, kariyer aşamalarına ve terekesi vasıtasıyla servet birikimine ve maddi dünyasının niteliklerine odaklanılacaktır. Bu hedeflere ulaşabilmek için hem Osmanlı arşivlerinden hem de İstanbul şer’i mahkeme defterlerindeki kayıtlardan istifade edilecektir. 


EXTENDED ABSTRACT


The significance of money changing and money changers (sarrafs) in the context of the Ottoman economy before 1750 requires further exploration. Research on their roles before this date is limited, partly due to the constraints of the primary sources available from that period and the little information they contain. Money changers, played important roles in historical, socio-political, and political-economic aspects since the early years of the Empire’s establishment, are considered a topic that needs to be more thoroughly examined in studies of the early modern period in Ottoman history. The increasing importance and influence money changers had in Ottoman finance and financial circles before the second half of the 18th century need to reveal their positions in the Ottoman financial sector.

While Jewish names are frequently mentioned in relation to credit and money changing in the 16th-17 th centuries, the predominance of Armenian money changers from the 18th century onward shifted the focus in this profession away from Jews. Armenian money changers, particularly after the 1750s, gained more significance in the Ottoman economy. Indeed, studies emphasizing the diminishing influence of Jewish money changers in the Ottoman financial market-based on credit transactions have highlighted this trend.

In addition to Armenians and Jews, Muslims also practiced the profession of money changing before this date. Muslims having been involved in money-changing from the early days of the Ottoman Empire. However, importance to is had in noting that mostly converts to Islam were to ones who engaged in this business. Among the first list of the 12, Istanbul money changers in 1691, three were Muslims. The list of had grown to 30 money changers in 1696, of whom only one was a Muslim named Beşir. Once the list of money changers reached 60 in 1710, it no longer contained any Muslims and Armenians constituted the majority.

The central figure of this study is Beşir bin Abdullah, a convert and a Muslim who had also performed the Hajj pilgrimage. As declared by the central economic administration, Beşir was a prominent Istanbul money changer with close ties to the Imperial Mint. Abundant historical and economic research is found on the roles money changers had asssumed after the second half of the 18th century. Remarkably, these studies coincide with the period when significant challenges and changes began to occur in the Ottoman Empire’s economic course.

This study focuses on Beşirʼs life and it in terms of his entry into the Ottoman world, his life as a Janissary, his relationships within the financial environment, and his accumulation of wealth. The study describes his social status and the career stages through which he progressed. The study also discusses the qualities of the life patterns that emerged as he climbed the career ladder in the early Ottoman world and examines the characteristics of the relationship networks Beşir established throughout his life as a Janissary and a money changer. The study investigates the impact these relationship connections, defined as social capital, had on his professional life. The studyʼs final section, subjects the wealth Beşir had accumulated throughout his life to qualitative and quantitative analyses.

Beşirʼs possessions provide realistic information about the nature of his worldly goods. He was religious, interested in music, and had a sensitivity to clothing. He had a penchant for objects and furniture made from various metals. Near the end of his life, he freed one of the slaves he had purchased. Being a convert to Islam, he perhaps sought to alleviate the loneliness and longing for family that he had felt throughout his life in this way.

While expanding his material world as a money changer, Beşir also was a Janissary, had accumulated a certain level of wealth. After becoming an official moneychanger, however he engaged in credit operations and managed money from various professionals, thereby increasing his comfort and joining the relatively wealthy class. The late 17th century was a challenging period for the Ottoman central administration. Wars with the Holy League had been ongoing, and structural changes in the economy were a consequence of the stateʼs efforts to reorganize itself. When Beşir became an official money changer, he had reached an important stage in his career. His inclusion onto the 1696 list of official money changers indicates that he had fulfilled the duties the state had assigned him. Although the long period of wars came to an end after the defeat at Senta the following year, the state was financially and economically worn out and had to make the right decisions to stand upright, fill its coffers, and improve its economy. Despite being the implementer of these policies in the field, Beşir unfortunately did not live much longer and passed away a year after the defeat at Senta. The Karlowitz Treaty signed a year after his death profoundly shook the Ottoman central administration, opening the door to efforts to rebuild prestige and reputation alongside territorial losses.

In conclusion, Beşir had entered the Ottoman world and tried to sustain his life by utilizing the opportunities offered by this order. The net material accumulation he left behind was relatively low. However, his experiences, observations, and material as well as spiritual worlds were evidence of his sufficient success. Historical records can unexpectedly emerge at any moment, surprising historians and those interested in history. Beyond the existing documents used in this study, other historical will undoubtedly be found in the future that will reunite Beşir with researchers and readers, thus allowing them at that time to better understand Beşir, his life-as a Janissary who had entered Ottoman service alone and as a man who died alone, after living a solitary life apart from a brief marriage.


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APA

Köse, M.Z. (2024). An Analysis Of Social Capital And Wealth Accumulation: The Estate Of El-Hac Beşi̇r Bi̇n Abdullah, One Of Istanbul’s First Gedi̇kli Sarrafs (1698). Turkish Journal of History, 0(82), 169-197. https://doi.org/10.26650/iutd.20241390569


AMA

Köse M Z. An Analysis Of Social Capital And Wealth Accumulation: The Estate Of El-Hac Beşi̇r Bi̇n Abdullah, One Of Istanbul’s First Gedi̇kli Sarrafs (1698). Turkish Journal of History. 2024;0(82):169-197. https://doi.org/10.26650/iutd.20241390569


ABNT

Köse, M.Z. An Analysis Of Social Capital And Wealth Accumulation: The Estate Of El-Hac Beşi̇r Bi̇n Abdullah, One Of Istanbul’s First Gedi̇kli Sarrafs (1698). Turkish Journal of History, [Publisher Location], v. 0, n. 82, p. 169-197, 2024.


Chicago: Author-Date Style

Köse, Metin Ziya,. 2024. “An Analysis Of Social Capital And Wealth Accumulation: The Estate Of El-Hac Beşi̇r Bi̇n Abdullah, One Of Istanbul’s First Gedi̇kli Sarrafs (1698).” Turkish Journal of History 0, no. 82: 169-197. https://doi.org/10.26650/iutd.20241390569


Chicago: Humanities Style

Köse, Metin Ziya,. An Analysis Of Social Capital And Wealth Accumulation: The Estate Of El-Hac Beşi̇r Bi̇n Abdullah, One Of Istanbul’s First Gedi̇kli Sarrafs (1698).” Turkish Journal of History 0, no. 82 (Apr. 2024): 169-197. https://doi.org/10.26650/iutd.20241390569


Harvard: Australian Style

Köse, MZ 2024, 'An Analysis Of Social Capital And Wealth Accumulation: The Estate Of El-Hac Beşi̇r Bi̇n Abdullah, One Of Istanbul’s First Gedi̇kli Sarrafs (1698)', Turkish Journal of History, vol. 0, no. 82, pp. 169-197, viewed 23 Apr. 2024, https://doi.org/10.26650/iutd.20241390569


Harvard: Author-Date Style

Köse, M.Z. (2024) ‘An Analysis Of Social Capital And Wealth Accumulation: The Estate Of El-Hac Beşi̇r Bi̇n Abdullah, One Of Istanbul’s First Gedi̇kli Sarrafs (1698)’, Turkish Journal of History, 0(82), pp. 169-197. https://doi.org/10.26650/iutd.20241390569 (23 Apr. 2024).


MLA

Köse, Metin Ziya,. An Analysis Of Social Capital And Wealth Accumulation: The Estate Of El-Hac Beşi̇r Bi̇n Abdullah, One Of Istanbul’s First Gedi̇kli Sarrafs (1698).” Turkish Journal of History, vol. 0, no. 82, 2024, pp. 169-197. [Database Container], https://doi.org/10.26650/iutd.20241390569


Vancouver

Köse MZ. An Analysis Of Social Capital And Wealth Accumulation: The Estate Of El-Hac Beşi̇r Bi̇n Abdullah, One Of Istanbul’s First Gedi̇kli Sarrafs (1698). Turkish Journal of History [Internet]. 23 Apr. 2024 [cited 23 Apr. 2024];0(82):169-197. Available from: https://doi.org/10.26650/iutd.20241390569 doi: 10.26650/iutd.20241390569


ISNAD

Köse, MetinZiya. An Analysis Of Social Capital And Wealth Accumulation: The Estate Of El-Hac Beşi̇r Bi̇n Abdullah, One Of Istanbul’s First Gedi̇kli Sarrafs (1698)”. Turkish Journal of History 0/82 (Apr. 2024): 169-197. https://doi.org/10.26650/iutd.20241390569



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Submitted14.11.2023
Accepted16.02.2024
Published Online15.03.2024

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