Skip to main content


  • Vladimir Hamed-Troyansky (a1)

In the final decades of Ottoman rule, several waves of refugees from the Russian Empire's North Caucasus region immigrated to Transjordan, where they founded Amman and other agricultural villages. This article examines the economy of Amman in its formative years as a Circassian refugee settlement. By exploring connections between North Caucasian refugees, Syrian and Palestinian merchants, and Transjordanian urban and nomadic communities, this study posits refugees as drivers of economic expansion in the late Ottoman period. I argue that the settlement of North Caucasian refugees and their active participation in the real estate market in and around Amman contributed to the entrenchment of the post-1858 property regime in Ottoman Transjordan. Through a study of an upper-class Circassian household and its legal battles, this article also illustrates the rise of refugee elites who benefited from the commodification of land and the construction of state-sponsored infrastructure in the late Ottoman Levant.

Hide All


Author's note: I extend my gratitude to the Social Science Research Council and the American Center of Oriental Research for funding this project. I thank the IJMES reviewers and editors for their invaluable feedback. I am also grateful to Eugene Rogan and Nora Barakat for their advice on obtaining access to land records in Jordan, and to Joel Beinin, Toby Jones, Sherene Seikaly, Aaron Jakes, Marwan Hanania, and all participants of Stanford's New Directions in Political Economy workshop and Ottoman and Turkish Studies reading group for their help.

1 Department of Land and Survey (Daʾirat al-Aradi wa-l-Masaha, Amman; henceforth cited as DLS) Defter 10/1/1, f. 40, #7–20, f. 47, #22, 24–35 (July–September 1912).

2 Muhajirs were Muslim immigrants, most of them refugees, from the Crimea, the Caucasus, the Balkans, North Africa, and Afghanistan. The term muhajir draws on the long legacy of hijra, or Muslim emigration, in Islamic history. In the late Ottoman period, it acquired anticolonial and Pan-Islamic sentiments. The term encompasses and overlaps with the English-language terms refugee, immigrant, and emigrant.

3 Jordan Department of Population Statistics, 2015 Census, accessed 19 June 2017, On North Caucasian muhajirs in Transjordan, see Lewis, Norman, Nomads and Settlers in Syria and Jordan, 1800–1980 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987), 96123 ; Abujaber, Raouf Saʿd, Pioneers over Jordan: The Frontier of Settlement in Transjordan, 1850–1914 (London: I.B.Tauris, 1989), 197216 ; Chatty, Dawn, Displacement and Dispossession in the Modern Middle East (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010), 91133 ; and Ganich, Anastasiia A., Cherkesy v Iordanii: Osobennosti Istoricheskogo i Etnokul'turnogo Razvitiia (Moscow: ISAA MGU, 2007). For Jordanian-Circassian accounts, see Haghandoqa, Mohammad Kheir, The Circassians: Origin, History, Customs, Traditions, Immigration to Jordan (Amman: Rafidi Print, 1985); Mufti, Shawkat, Heroes and Emperors in Circassian History (Beirut: Librairie du Liban, 1972); Nashkhu, Jawdat Hilmi, Tarikh al-Sharkas (al-Adigha) wa-l-Shishan fi Liwaʾi Hawran wa-l-Balqaʾ (1878–1920) (Amman: Lajnat Tarikh al-Urdun, 1998); and Batsaj, Muhammad Khayr Mamsir, al-Mawsuʿa al-Tarikhiyya li-l-Umma al-Sharkasiyya “al-Adigha”: Min al-Alf al-ʿAshir ma qabla al-Milad ila al-Alf al-Thalith ma bʿada al-Milad, vols. 4 and 5 (Amman: Dar al-Waʾil, 2009). For an excellent anthropological study, see Seteney Shami, “Ethnicity and Leadership: The Circassians in Jordan” (PhD diss., University of California, Berkeley, 1982).

4 On the al-Sukkar family, see Rogan, Eugene, Frontiers of the State in the Late Ottoman Empire: Transjordan, 1850–1921 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999), 118–19.

5 Ottoman land registers for the Salt district are kept at the DLS in Amman. For a catalogue of land registers, see al-Shaʿr, Hind Abu, Sijillat al-Aradi fi-l-Urdun, 1876–1960 (Mafraq, Jordan: Jamiʿat Al al-Bayt, 2002). On prior work with Salt land registers, see Rogan, Frontiers of the State; Fischbach, Michael R., State, Society, and Land in Jordan (Leiden: Brill, 2000); and Mundy, Martha and Smith, Richard S., Governing Property, Making the Modern State: Law, Administration and Production in Ottoman Syria (London: I.B.Tauris, 2007). Copies of Arabic-language court records for the Salt district are preserved at the Center of Documents and Manuscripts (Markaz al-Wathaʾiq wa-l-Makhtutat, henceforth cited as CDM), University of Jordan, Amman. For a catalogue of court records, see Bakhit, Muhammad ʿAdnan, Kashshaf Ihsaʾi Zamani li-Sijillat al-Mahakim al-Sharʿiyya wa-l-Awqaf al-Islamiyya fi Bilad al-Sham (Amman: Jamiʿa al-Urduniyya, 1984).

6 See Zirikli, Khayr al-Din, ʿAman fi ʿAmman: Mudhakkirat ʿAmayn fi ʿAsimat Sharq al-Urdun (Cairo: al-Matbaʿa al-ʿArabiyya, 1925); and Rogan, Eugene, “The Making of a Capital: Amman, 1918–1928,” in Amman: Ville et Société, ed. Hannoyer, Jean and Shami, Seteney (Beirut: Cermoc, 1996), 89107 . On Mandate-era Transjordan, see Wilson, Mary C., King Abdullah, Britain, and the Making of Jordan (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987); and Tell, Tariq, The Social and Economic Origins of Monarchy in Jordan (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013).

7 See Karpat, Kemal H., Ottoman Population, 1830–1914: Demographic and Social Characteristics (Madison, Wisc.: University of Wisconsin Press, 1985); and McCarthy, Justin, Death and Exile: The Ethnic Cleansing of Ottoman Muslims, 1821–1922 (Princeton, N.J.: Darwin Press, 1995).

8 Blumi, Isa, Ottoman Refugees, 1878–1939: Migration in a Post-Imperial World (London: Bloomsbury, 2013), esp. 1742 .

9 See Makdisi, Ussama, The Culture of Sectarianism: Community, History, and Violence in Nineteenth-Century Ottoman Lebanon (Berkeley, Calif.: University of California Press, 2000); Gingeras, Ryan, Sorrowful Shores: Violence, Ethnicity, and the End of the Ottoman Empire, 1912–1923 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009); and Klein, Janet, The Margins of Empire: Kurdish Militias in the Ottoman Tribal Zone (Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 2011).

10 For a seminal study of Amman that integrates the Ottoman and Mandate periods, see Marwan D. Hanania, “From Colony to Capital: A Socio-Economic and Political History of Amman, 1878–1958” (PhD diss., Stanford University, 2010). See also al-Shaʿr, Hind Abu and Hamud, Nufan, ʿAmman fi al-ʿAhd al-Hashimi, vol. 1, 1916–1952 (Amman: Greater Amman Municipality, 2004); Hamud, Nufan, ʿAmman wa-Jiwaruha Khilal al-Fatra 1864–1921 (Amman: Business Bank Publications, 1996); Rogan, “The Making of a Capital”; Rashid, ʿAbd Allah, Malamih al-Hayaa al-Shaʿbiyya fi Madinat ʿAmman, 1878–1948 (Amman: Wizarat al-Thaqafa, 1983); and Hacker, Jane M., Modern ʿAmman: A Social Study (Durham: University of Durham, 1960).

11 On the demographic-sectarian thesis, see Mark Pinson, “Demographic Warfare: An Aspect of Ottoman and Russian Policy, 1854–1866” (PhD diss., Harvard University, 1970); it also constitutes a dominant paradigm in the Balkan and Armenian historiography. On the centralization thesis with respect to nomadic territories, see Lewis, Nomads and Settlers.

12 Mundy, Martha, “The State of Property: Late Ottoman Southern Syria, the Kaza of ʿAjlun (1875–1918),” in Constituting Modernity: Private Property in the East and West, ed. İslamoğlu, Huri (London: I.B.Tauris, 2004), 214–47; Mundy and Smith, Governing Property; and Rogan, Frontiers of the State.

13 Rogan, Frontiers of the State, 90–92.

14 Estimates for Muslim emigration from tsarist Russia vary. See Karpat, Ottoman Population, 27, 69–70; McCarthy, Death and Exile, 36, 53n45; and Jersild, Austin, Orientalism and Empire: North Caucasus Mountain Peoples and the Georgian Frontier, 1845–1917 (Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press, 2002), 2526 .

15 See Cuthell, David C., “The Circassian Sürgün,” Ab Imperio 2 (2003): 139–68; Karpat, Kemal H., “The Status of the Muslim under European Rule: The Eviction and Settlement of the Çerkes,” Journal of the Institute of Muslim Minority Affairs 1 (1979): 727 ; and Dzidzariia, Georgii A., Makhadzhirstvo i Problemy Istorii Abkhazii XIX Stoletiia (Sukhumi: Alashara, 1975). Since the 1990s, several Circassian organizations within Russia and in diaspora called to recognize the expulsion of the Circassian population as a genocide; see Richmond, Walter, The Circassian Genocide (New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 2013).

16 See Arapov, Dmitrii Iu. et al., Severnyi Kavkaz v Sostave Rossiiskoi Imperii (Moscow: Novoe literaturnoe obozrenie, 2007), 155–83; and Meyer, James H., “Immigration, Return, and the Politics of Citizenship: Russian Muslims in the Ottoman Empire, 1860–1914,” International Journal of Middle East Studies 39 (2007): 1532 .

17 See Saydam, Abdullah, Kırım ve Kafkas Göçleri, 1856–1876 (Ankara: Türk Tarih Kurumu Basımevi, 1997); and Aydemir, İzzet, Göç: Kuzey Kafkasya'dan Göç Tarihi (Ankara: Gelişim Matbaası, 1988).

18 Lewis, Nomads and Settlers, 115–16.

19 I use dates from ibid., 116–17; and Abujaber, Pioneers over Jordan, 215. Hanania dates the establishment of Sweileh and al-Sukhna to, respectively, 1907 and 1912; “From Colony to Capital,” 69–70. Al-Zarqaʾ and Sweileh became mixed Chechen-Circassian settlements already in the Ottoman period. On al-Zarqaʾ, see Mutlaq ʿAssaf, Hind Abu al-Shaʿr and ʿAbd Allah, Al-Zarqaʾ: al-Nashʾah wa-l-Tatawwur, 1903–1935 (Amman: Wizarat al-Thaqafa, 2013).

20 Rogan, Frontiers of the State, 76n26.

21 See Rogan, Eugene, “Turkuman of al-Ruman: An Ottoman Settlement in South-Eastern Syria,” Arabic Historical Review for Ottoman Studies 1–2 (1990): 91106 .

22 On sedentarization of tribes, a major project that went in hand with refugee settlement, see Kasaba, Reşat, A Moveable Empire: Ottoman Nomads, Migrants, and Refugees (Seattle, Wash.: University of Washington Press, 2009).

23 Rogan, Frontiers of the State, 45–47.

24 “Arrêtées par le Gouvernement Impérial au Sujet de la Colonisation en Turquie” (25 February 1857), in Législation Ottomane, ou Recueil des Lois, Règlements, Ordonnances, Traités, Capitulations et autres Documents Officiels de l'Empire Ottoman, by Grégoire Aristarchi Bey (Istanbul: Frères Nicolaïdes, 1873–88), 16–19.

25 See David C. Cuthell, “The Muhacirin Komisyonu: An Agent in the Transformation of Ottoman Anatolia, 1860–1866” (PhD diss., Columbia University, 2005); and Ella Fratantuono, “Migration Administration in the Making of the Late Ottoman Empire” (PhD diss., Michigan State University, 2016).

26 The 1857 law specified exemption from military service for twenty-five years and from taxes for six years in Rumelia and twelve years in Anatolia. By 1878, military service and taxation exemptions went down to ten and three years, respectively, and were further cut to six years and one year in 1881. An exemption from military service for North Caucasian muhajirs was removed altogether in 1888; see İpek, Nedim, Rumeli'den Anadolu'ya Türk Göçleri, 1877–1890 (Ankara: Türk Tarih Kurumu Basımevi, 1994), 221–23; and Baderkhan, Fasikh, Severokavkazskaia diaspora v Turtsii, Sirii i Iordanii: vtoraia polovina XIX–pervaia polovina XX veka (Moscow: IV RAN, 2001), 66 .

27 See Quataert, , “The 1858 Land Law,” in Economic and Social History of the Ottoman Empire, 1300–1914, ed. İnalcık, Halil and Quataert, Donald (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1994), 2:856–61; Mundy and Smith, Governing Property; and İslamoğlu, Huri, “Property as a Contested Domain: A Reevaluation of the Ottoman Land Code of 1858,” in New Perspectives on Property and Land in the Middle East, ed. Owen, Roger (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2000), 361 . For the text of the Ottoman Land Code, see Fisher, Stanley, Ottoman Land Laws: Containing the Ottoman Land Code and Later Legislation Affecting Land (London: Oxford University Press, 1919).

28 On the yoklama registration, see Mundy and Smith, Governing Property, 70.

29 The buyer paid a valuation tax in the amount of 3 percent of the purchase price of the property, alongside the cost of a title deed, which ranged from four to 7.5 kuruş, and an administrative fee of one kuruş. If property had not been registered, the seller was required to obtain a title first through the yoklama and pay relevant taxes and fees before selling it. The land registry then charged a vendor and a buyer a 1.5 percent tax each.

30 See Yücel Terzibaşoğlu, “Landlords, Nomads and Refugees: Struggles Over Land and Population Movements in North-Western Anatolia, 1877–1914” (PhD diss., Birkbeck College, University of London, 2003); and Lewis, Nomads and Settlers, 99–101.

31 See Gratien, Chris, “The Ottoman Quagmire: Malaria, Swamps, and Settlement in the Late Ottoman Mediterranean,” International Journal of Middle East Studies 49 (2017): 583–604.

32 The term is coined by Rogan; see Frontiers of the State, 85–92. For a similar process in western Anatolia, see Terzibaşoğlu, “Landlords, Nomads and Refugees,” 134–35, 137.

33 Although Amman lacked a permanent settlement by the time the Circassians arrived, it was not uninhabited. The al-Hadid clan of the Balqawiyya tribal confederation long claimed and cultivated some lands around Amman; see Abujaber, Pioneers over Jordan, 195, 203–4. By the 1870s, the al-Fayiz clan of the Bani Sakhr camped out by the springs in summer and owned a mill there; see Mustafa B. Hamarneh, “Amman in British Travel Accounts of the 19th Century,” in Amman: Ville et Société, ed. Hannoyer and Shami, 66. By 1872, the Damascus provincial government knew of 200 households tilling the land in Amman; see Nufan Hamud, “ʿAmman fi Awakhir al-ʿAhd al-ʿUthmani: Dirasa fi Tatawwur Awdaʿiha al-Idariyya wa-l-Ijtimaʾiyya wa-l-Iqtisadiyya,” in Amman: Ville et Société, ed. Hannoyer and Shami, 85. In 1876, an English traveler confirmed that Salti residents set up farms a few miles from the ruins of Amman; see Doughty, Charles M., Travels in Arabia Deserta (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1888), 1:18.

34 See a report produced by Kamil Paşa, an Ottoman official, and dated 6 October 1878 in Sahillioğlu, Halil, “A Project for the Creation of Amman Vilayet ,” in Studies in Ottoman Economic and Social History, ed. Sahillioğlu, Halil (Istanbul: Research Center for Islamic History, Art and Culture, 1999), 175–88; and Hanania, “From Colony to Capital,” 43, 46–52.

35 Haghandoqa, Circassians, 33, 38. By the 1950s, the stream resembled open sewers and was encased in a culvert and buried underground. One of the few contemporary reminders of the stream is the name of a popular street in downtown Amman, Saqf al-Sayl, meaning “ceiling of the stream.”

36 Seteney Shami, “The Circassians of Amman: Historical Narratives, Urban Dwelling and the Construction of Identity,” in Amman: Ville et Société, ed. Hannoyer and Shami, 303–22; and Hanania, “From Colony to Capital,” 52–55.

37 Two contemporary observers made different prognoses of the Circassians’ chances in Transjordan. Laurence Oliphant expressed optimism about the survival of the Circassian agricultural settlement in Amman; see Land of Gilead, with Excursions in the Lebanon (Edinburgh: W. Blackwood and Sons, 1880), 221. Claude Reignier Conder expected them to “die out by degrees or become scattered among the indigenous population”; see Heth and Moab: Explorations in Syria in 1881 and 1882 (London: Richard Bentley and Son, 1883), 162.

38 Shami, “The Circassians of Amman,” 308.

39 Abujaber, Pioneers over Jordan, 199.

40 My calculations are based on transactions registered as daʾimi in DLS Defters 5/1/1, 7/1/1, 30/1/2, and 31/1/2. In Ottoman Syria, including Transjordan, a dönüm measured 939.9 square meters and was divided into four evlek or 1,600 arşın. A hectare amounts to 10.64 dönüm. One hundred kuruş equaled a gold lira, and a kuruş was divided into 40 para. British pounds were also in circulation, and French francs were a currency of choice, especially in land transactions in and around Amman.

41 DLS Defter 18/1/1, ff. 123–30, #25–77 (November–December 1893); 19/1/1, ff. 43–46, #28–44 (December 1896–January 1897).

42 Shami, “The Circassians of Amman,” 310–11. On earlier cases of intra-Circassian contestation of land, see Başbakanlık Osmanlı Arşivi (Prime Ministry Ottoman Archives), BEO 251/18789 (5 August 1893) and 277/20728 (16 September 1893).

43 The ʿAdwan were dominant in the western Balqaʾ until the late 1860s, but lost many lands due to the Ottoman-led land registration. The Balqawiyya alliance included the ʿAdwan, ʿAjarma, Balqawiyya, Bani Hasan, Bani Hamida, Daʿja, al-Hadid, Saltiyya, and other tribes and clans. The Bani Sakhr were a dominant tribe to the east of the pilgrimage route, or the Hijaz Railway; see Alon, Yoav, The Making of Jordan: Tribes, Colonialism and the Modern State (London: I.B.Tauris, 2009), 2930 ; and Abujaber, Pioneers over Jordan, 68, 184–85, 203–4.

44 Abujaber, Pioneers over Jordan, 203–10. On bedouin's management of land in the late Ottoman Salt district, see Nora Barakat, “An Empty Land? Nomads and Property Administration in Hamidian Syria” (PhD diss., University of California, Berkeley, 2015).

45 Rogan cites bedouin attacks on Amman and Wadi al-Sir in 1894; Frontiers of the State, 75. Anzor Kushkhabiev cites armed clashes between muhajirs and bedouin in 1904 and 1907, both over land; Cherkesy v Sirii (Nalchik, Russia: El’-Fa, 1993), 83–85.

46 Haghandoqa, Circassians, 44–46; Shami, “The Circassians of Amman,” 312–15. Mufti cites 1900 as the date of the conflict; Heroes and Emperors, 275–76. Abujaber cites 1904; Pioneers over Jordan, 211.

47 Haghandoqa, Circassians, 44–45.

48 For a foray into the historiography of the late Ottoman justice system, see Agmon, Iris, Family and Court: Legal Culture and Modernity in Late Ottoman Palestine (Syracuse, N.Y.: Syracuse University Press, 2006); and Rubin, Avi, Ottoman Nizamiye Courts: Law and Modernity (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011). The Salt shariʿa court exercised jurisdiction over all types of legal inquiries due to the absence of a Nizamiye court in the Balqaʾ.

49 CDM Defters Salt 6 and 7 (August 1901–February 1903).

50 For published court records from Ottoman Amman, see Qazan, Salah Yusuf, ʿAmman fi Matlaʿ al-Qarn al-ʿAshrin: al-Sijill al-Sharʿi al-Awwal li-Nahiyat ʿAmman, 1319–1326 H/1902–1908 M, Dirasa wa-Tahqiq (Amman: Wizarat al-Thaqafa, 2002).

51 Schilcher, Linda Schatkowski, “The Hauran Conflicts of the 1860s: A Chapter in the Rural History of Modern Syria,” International Journal of Middle East Studies 13 (1981): 159–79.

52 The incorporation of the Levant into global markets was intertwined with the evolution in the practice of the 1858 Ottoman Land Code; see Mundy and Smith, Governing Property, 51–52, 101–3; and Schilcher, Linda Schatkowski, “Railways in the Political Economy of Southern Syria, 1890–1925,” in The Syrian Land: Processes of Integration and Fragmentation: Bilad al-Sham from the 18th to the 20th Century, ed. Philipp, Thomas and Schaebler, Birgit (Stuttgart: Franz Steiner, 1998), 97112 .

53 See Khoury, Philip S., Urban Notables and Arab Nationalism: The Politics of Damascus, 1860–1920 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1983), 2628 ; and Reilly, James, “Status Groups and Property-Holding in the Damascus Hinterland, 1828–1880,” International Journal of Middle East Studies 21 (1989): 517–39.

54 Schilcher, Linda Schatkowski, “Violence in Rural Syria in the 1880s and 1890s: State Centralization, Rural Integration and the World Market,” in Peasants and Politics in the Middle East, ed. Kazemi, Farhad and Waterbury, John (Miami, Fl.: Florida International University Press, 1991), 5084 ; and Schilcher, “The Hauran Conflicts of the 1860s.”

55 On the history of Salt, see Dawud, Jurj Farid Tarif, al-Salt wa-Jiwaruha (Amman: Jordan Press Association, 1994); on Salti merchants, see Rogan, Frontiers of the State, 99–102; and on non-Circassian migration to Amman, see Hanania, “From Colony to Capital,” 75–79.

56 DLS Defter 18/1/1, ff. 78–79, #13–16 (1891–95).

57 Shammut served on the Education Council; see Rogan, Frontiers of the State, 118.

58 Rogan, Eugene, “Moneylending and Capital Flows from Nablus, Damascus, and Jerusalem to Qadaʾ al-Salt in the Last Decades of Ottoman Rule,” in The Syrian Land in the 18th and 19th Century: The Common and the Specific in the Historical Experience, ed. Philipp, Thomas (Stuttgart: Franz Steiner, 1992), 239–60.

59 The economy of the Balqaʾ was closely tied to that of Nablus. The connection between Salt and Nablus remained strong enough for the two towns to be included, in 1867, within a new subprovince of Balqaʾ. On the shared history of Jabal Nablus and Balqaʾ, see Ihsan al-Nimr, Tarikh Jabal Nablus wa-Balqaʾ, 4 vols. (Damascus and Nablus, 1938–74); and Gad G. Gilbar, “Economic and Social Consequences of the Opening of New Markets: The Case of Nablus, 1870–1914,” in Syrian Land, ed. Philipp and Schaebler, 281–91.

60 Özyüksel, Murat, The Hejaz Railway and the Ottoman Empire: Modernity, Industrialisation and Ottoman Decline (London: I.B.Tauris, 2014), 123–24; and Rogan, Frontiers of the State, 160.

61 Özyüksel, Hejaz Railway, 124.

62 Michael E. Bonine, “The Introduction of Railroads in the Eastern Mediterranean: Economic and Social Impacts,” in Syrian Land, ed. Philipp and Schaebler, 53–78; Rogan, Frontiers of the State, 66; and Norris, Jacob, Land of Progress: Palestine in the Age of Colonial Development, 1905–1948 (Oxford: Oxford University Press), 53 .

63 Eugene Rogan, “Instant Communication: The Impact of the Telegraph in Ottoman Syria,” in Syrian Land, ed. Philipp and Schaebler, 113–28.

64 Rogan, Frontiers of the State, 62.

65 Goodrich-Freer, Adela, In a Syrian Saddle (London: Methuen & Co., 1905), 101–2.

66 My calculations are based on the price of transfer of usufruct rights (bedel-i ferağ) in CDM 5/1/1, 7/1/1, 10/1/1, 18/1/1, 19/1/1, 30/1/2, 31/1/2, and 32/1/2.

67 On the old Damascene elites, see Khoury, Urban Notables; Schilcher, Linda Schatkowski, Families in Politics: Damascene Factions and Estates of the 18th and 19th Centuries (Wiesbaden: Franz Steiner, 1985); and Hourani, Albert, “Ottoman Reform and the Politics of Notables,” in Beginnings of Modernization in the Middle East: The Nineteenth Century, ed. Polk, William R. and Chambers, Richard L. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1968).

68 Khoury, Urban Notables, 26–27; Rogan, Frontiers of the State, 99–112; and Gilbar, “The Case of Nablus.”

69 Khoury, Urban Notables, 21.

70 The Saʿdi family was among the early Syrian merchants trading on the Transjordanian nomadic frontier. Muhammad Khayru al-Saʿdi, from the Maydan area of Damascus, came to Transjordan in the 1860s, trading in cattle and then selling clothing to bedouin for wool and butter; see Abla M. Amawi, “The Transjordanian State and the Enterprising Merchants of Amman,” in Amman: Ville et Société, ed. Hannoyer and Shami, 112.

71 DLS Defter 31/1/2, ff. 235–38, #25, 28–30 (1908-10), ff. 283–84, #7 (March–April 1905); 32/1/2, ff. 57–58, #44–45 (March–April 1910), ff. 81–82, #4–5 (July–August 1910).

72 DLS Defter 32/1/2, ff. 23–24, #154 (March–April 1910).

73 DLS Defter 31/1/2, ff. 375–76, #60–61 (1903–10).

74 DLS Defter 10/1/1, f. 4, #34 (1910–12).

75 The ʿAsfurs established a prominent mercantile dynasty in Jordan. Yusuf ʿAsfur was the first president of the Amman Chamber of Commerce. In the Mandate period, Mithqal ʿAsfur, with other merchant families, established the Jordanian cigarette industry; see Amawi, Abla M., “The Consolidation of the Merchant Class in Transjordan during the Second World War,” in Village, Steppe and State: The Social Origins of Modern Jordan, ed. Rogan, Eugene and Tell, Tariq (London: British Academic Press, 1994), 179. DLS Defter 31/1/2, ff. 237–38, #31 (1908–9); 32/1/2, ff. 125–26, #28, ff. 153–54, #34 (1910–12); 10/1/1, f. 40, #67 (1912).

76 DLS Defter 31/1/2, ff. 332–33, #35 (1903–10).

77 DLS Defter 32/1/2, ff. 345–46, #91 (November–December 1912).

78 DLS Defter 32/1/2, ff. 315–16, #40, ff. 341–42, #78 (September–October 1912). Batatu engaged in money-lending across the Balqaʾ, providing his services to the Bani Sakhr shaykh Rumayh ibn Fayiz, which resulted in Batatu's obtaining land in Bani Sakhr territories; see Fischbach, State, Society, and Land in Jordan, 57. On the Abu Jabir family, see Abujaber, Pioneers over Jordan.

79 Amawi, “The Consolidation of the Merchant Class,” 165; Mundy and Smith, Governing Property, 100–102.

80 Syrian and Palestinian mercantile families came to dominate the Amman Chamber of Commerce, the country's first and major economic association, which was established in 1923; see Moore, Pete W., Doing Business in the Middle East: Politics and Economic Crisis in Jordan and Kuwait (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004), 5781 ; and Amawi, “The Consolidation of the Merchant Class.”

81 See Haghandoqa, Mohammad Kheir, ed., Mirza Pasha Wasfi: Kitab Wathaʾiqi, Marhala min Tarikh Bilad al-Sham min Khilal Wathaʾiq Mirza Pasha (Amman: Royal Scientific Society, 1994).

82 On land prices in central Palestine and the ʿAjlun district, see, respectively, Kark, Ruth, “The Contribution of the Ottoman Regime to the Development of Jerusalem and Jaffa, 1840–1917,” in Palestine in the Late Ottoman Period: Political, Social, and Economic Transformation, ed. Kushner, David (Jerusalem: Yad Izhak Ben Zvi, 1986), 4658 ; and Mundy and Smith, Governing Property, 143.

83 DLS Defter 31/1/2, ff. 326–27, #1–3 (July–August 1893); ff. 332–33, #31–33 (1909–10); 32/1/2, ff. 221–22, #162–63 (July–August 1893), ff. 246–47, #20–22 (1911–12); 10/1/1, f. 37, #20–21 (February–March 1912).

84 DLS Defter 31/1/2, ff. 275–76, #40, ff. 341–44, #82, 95 (1903–10); 32/1/2, ff. 55–56, #33 (1910–12).

85 DLS 19/1/1, ff. 43–44, #29 (December 1896–January 1897), ff. 361–62, #98–101 (1898–99); 32/1/2, ff. 81–82, #74 (June–July 1910).

86 DLS Defter 32/1/2, ff. 127–28, #41–51 (July–August 1893, December 1910–January 1911), ff. 271–74, #47–50 (April–May 1912).

87 DLS Defter 18/1/1, ff. 98–101, #69–85, ff. 142–43, #83–98 (1894–95). Eugene Rogan argued that water mills were usually held in joint ownership in the Salt district because they required significant investment. See “Reconstructing Water Mills in Late Ottoman Transjordan,” Studies in the History and Archaeology of Jordan 5 (1992): 753.

88 See Amawi, “The Enterprising Merchants of Amman.”

89 See Smith, George Adam, The Historical Geography of the Holy Land, Especially in Relation to the History of Israel and of the Early Church, 10th ed. (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1903), 1920, 668; Freer, In a Syrian Saddle, 104–6; Ganich, Cherkesy v Iordanii, 64–69; and Hanania, “From Colony to Capital,” 61–67.

90 Freer, In a Syrian Saddle, 104–5; Ganich, Cherkesy v Iordanii, 68; Kushkhabiev, Cherkesy v Sirii, 95.

91 Abujaber, Pioneers over Jordan, 108.

92 See Janib, Musa ʿAli, Muwatin Sharkasi Yatahaddath ʿan Masqat Raʾsihi (Amman: al-Muʾallif, 2006); and author's interview with Janib, Wadi al-Sir, 11 August 2014.

93 The purchase of wheat by Circassians from bedouin “tent-dwellers,” most likely of the Hamida tribe from around Salt, is attested in court documents. The bedouin were represented in court by a member of the al-Sahadi family, Damascene grain merchants who moved to Salt and bought houses in Amman. See CDM Defter Salt 7, #19, 53; Salt 11, ff. 53–54 (August–October 1903); DLS Defter 32/1/2, ff. 129–30, #1 (1907); ff. 173–74, #36 (1910).

94 The “corn” may have referred to wheat or barley in this period. See Lees, “Journey East of Jordan,” cited in Hacker, Modern ʿAmman, 17; see also Khalil al-Khatib in Hanania, “From Colony to Capital,” 76.

95 Interview at the Circassian Charitable Association, Amman, 14 August 2014.

96 DLS Defter 31/1/2, ff. 353–54, #50–60 (1897–1898).

97 On women and Ottoman law, see Tucker, Judith, Women, Family, and Gender in Islamic Law (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008). On women's claims of land ownership, see Mundy and Smith, Governing Property, 167–77.

98 CDM Defter Salt 6, f. 53 (15 November 1901).

99 CDM Defter Salt 6, ff. 6–8 (12 August 1901).

100 CDM Defter Salt 6, ff. 49–50 (14 November 1901).

101 CDM Defter Salt 7, #54 (8 March 1902).

102 CDM Defter Salt 6, f. 70 (6 December 1901); Salt 9, f. 159 (10 February 1903); Salt 7, #237 (19 February 1903). The Khayr family established itself in Salt, when Muhammad Khayr Abu Qura bought shares of Balqawiyya tribal lands in al-Rajib and Abu ʿAlinda in 1883; see Rogan, Frontiers of the State, 111n50.

103 CDM Defter Salt 7, #198 (13 October 1902).

104 DLS Defter 31/1/2, ff. 355–58, #61–71; ff. 357–60, #72–82 (December 1909–January 1910).

105 DLS Defter 10/1/1, ff. 46–47, #15–21 (July–August 1912).

106 DLS Defter 10/1/1, f. 40, #7–20, f. 47, #22, 24–35 (July–September 1912).

107 Shami, “Ethnicity and Leadership,” 50; Jordan Department of Population Statistics, 2015 Census.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

International Journal of Middle East Studies
  • ISSN: 0020-7438
  • EISSN: 1471-6380
  • URL: /core/journals/international-journal-of-middle-east-studies
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *



Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed