Settlement networks and productive activities in the Greek territory during the Ottoman rule

Evangelia Balta

The Krepis program features processed data from Ottoman sources, namely tax registers, concerning the settlement network and the agricultural production of Greek areas (islands and mainland) from the 15th until the 18th century. Given that these sources document the population that is taxed, rather than the entirety of the population they indicatively suggest the number of dwellers in each settlement. Apart from illustrating the nature of local productive activities, they indirectly and deductively allow certain evaluations concerning the amount of the commodities produced, since they register the received tithe (“öşür”) or other proportional taxes. The aforementioned evidence is included in account books which document, in the proper financial discipline, the paid or unsettled taxes of productive activities.

More specifically, the relevant data submitted to the Krepis program concern Crete (17th century), Megaris in Attica, Locris (16th-18th century) and the Peloponnese (15th-18th century). Particular emphasis was given on selecting data pertinent to viticulture and olive-growing, as well as locating oil presses operating during the Ottoman rule. Equally significant was the unearthing of information pertinent to the production of commodities such as silk, dyes and painting materials etc. Accordingly, processed data was submitted concerning the residential networks and commercial activities of island populations (Thassos, Sifnos, Santorini, Patmos, Samos, Kythera). In the case of Mount Athos (18th century) the data registered include the monks and the properties of monasteries (the expanse of vineyards, orchards, fields, as well as the number of olive-trees, beehives etc).

The classification of this information in tables and charts constitutes a sufficient sample of the substantial archival material about the Greek territory. By extension, these documents aim at designating the informative potentialities of the Ottoman fiscal registers and their significance in recording the Greek history in the years of the Ottoman rule.

Research directed by: Evangelia Balta. Collaborator: Leonidas Moiras. GIS Cartography: Panagiotis Stratakis