Social and Economic Life in Seventeenth-Century Istanbul: Glimpses from Court Records

cover-ib-book-vol-1-340-510-sIn the seventeenth century, when the modern global economy began to take shape, what institutions governed socio-economic life in the Eastern Mediterranean? Were the region’s traditional economic institutions in flux?

This ten-volume set, 6,431 pages in length, presents original historical sources that are helping to generate answers to the above questions.

The books are the culmination of a data-gathering project initiated in 2003 as part of research that led to The Long Divergence: How Islamic Law Held Back the Middle East.

The set contains Ottoman-Turkish transliterations, along with English and modern Turkish summaries, of thousands of cases found in 15 seventeenth-century Islamic court registers from Istanbul, then the capital of the Ottoman Empire and the commercial center of the Eastern Mediterranean.

The cases are grouped under seven topical headings:

  1. Guilds and Guildsmen (Vol. 1)
  2. Communal Affairs of Christians and Jews (Vol. 1)
  3. Foreigners (Vol. 1)
  4. Commercial Partnerships (Vol. 2)
  5. State-Individual Relations, including Taxation (Vols. 34)
  6. Waqfs (Vols. 5678)
  7. Credit Markets and Uses of Interest (Vols. 910)

Volume 10 contains several general indexes.

All volumes will be available online through