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This article examines the administration of Hacı Mustafa Pasha, the military governor of Belgrade from 1793 to 1801. His appointment to this strategically located post was at odds with the contemporary trend in Ottoman provincial politics. Unlike most high-ranking provincial officials at this time, especially in the Balkans, Mustafa Pasha was not among the wealthy and militarily powerful ayan (local notables) but rather a career bureaucrat. His tumultuous and ultimately tragic administration reveals that his appointment was part of the attempt by Sultan Selim III (r. 1789–1807) to recentralize provincial governance. This study also provides a sociopolitical portrait of Belgrade and the surrounding region during the 18th century, as well as a brief look at the dangerous alliance of ayan and the janissaries.

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Robert W. Zens is an Associate Professor in the Department of History, Le Moyne College, Syracuse, N.Y.; e-mail:
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Author's note: I thank Kemal H. Karpat and the participants of various Great Lakes Ottomanist workshops for their comments and questions, which helped me formulate many of the ideas appearing in this article. Additionally, I thank the four anonymous IJMES reviewers and the editorial staff for their comments.

1 There are many contradictory dates regarding his official appointment. One source dates it as early as April 1793 while others as late as 1795. See Baysun Cavid, “Belgrad,” İslam Ansiklopedisi, vol. 2 (Istanbul: Milli Eğitim Basımevi, 1961); and Shaw Stanford, Between Old and New: The Ottoman Empire under Sultan Selim III, 1789–1807 (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1971), 241. The date of July 1793 has been taken from an arz (document from the hand of the grand vizier) written to the sultan discussing the appointment of Haci Mustafa as well as confirmation of this by Ahmed Cevdet Pasha. See Başbakanlık Osmanlı Arşivi (hereafter BOA), Hatt-ı Humayun, 2420, also found in Šabanović Hazim, ed., Turski Izvori o Srpskoj Revoluciji 1804 (Belgrade: Unedio i preveo Hazim Šabanović, 1956), 2628; and Cevdet Ahmed, Tarih-i Cevdet, vol. 3 (Istanbul: Üçdal Neşriyat, 1994), 1490. (This edition of Tarih-i Cevdet includes the original twelve volumes in a six-volume set.) For a short biography of Hacı Mustafa Pasha, see Süreyya Mehmed, Sicill-i Osmani, vol. 4 (Istanbul: Tarih Vakfı Yurt Yayınları, 1996), 1208–9.

2 Cevdet, Tarih-i Cevdet, 3:1490.

3 Nenadović Matija, The Memoirs of Prota Matija Nenadović, trans. Edwards Lovett F. (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1969), 15.

4 Shaw, Between Old and New, 211–56.

5 Prota Matija (1777–1854) provides in his memoirs the most detailed Serbian account available of the events surrounding the Serbian uprising of 1804, in which he played a major role. Although his description of the uprising is oversimplified, his memoirs provide an invaluable view of Ottoman rule from the perspective of a member of an elite Serbian family. His father was the knez of Valjevo.

6 On the socioeconomic changes that began in the late 16th century, see Darling Linda, Revenue Raising and Legitimacy: Tax Collection and Finance Administration in the Ottoman Empire, 1560–1660 (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1996).

7 For detailed studies of these issues, see Aksan Virginia, An Ottoman Statesman in War and Peace: Ahmed Resmi Efendi, 1700–1783 (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1995), 134ff; idem, “The One-Eyed Fighting the Blind: Mobilization, Supply and Command in the Russo-Turkish War of 1768–74,” International History Review 15 (1993): 221–38; idem, “Ottoman Military Recruitment Strategies in the Late Eighteenth Century,” in Arming the State: Military Conscription in the Middle East and Central Asia, 1775–1925, ed. Erik J. Zürcher (London: I. B. Tauris, 1999), 21–39; and D'Ohsson Ignatius Mouradgea, Tableau general de l'Empire Ottoman (Paris: Imprimerie de monsieur [Fermin Didot], 1787), 7:402.

8 Baykal İsmail, “Selim III. Devrinde ‘Imdâd-i Sefer’ için Para Basılmak üzere Saraydan Verilen Altın ve Gümüş Eşya Hakkında,” Tarih Vesikaları 3 (1944): 3650.

9 Mert Ozcan, XVIII. ve XIX. Yüzyıllarda Çapanğulları (Ankara: Kültür Bakanlığı Yayınları, 1980), 2864; Karagöz Rıza, Canikli Ali Paşa (Ankara: Türk Tarih Kurumu, 2003), 31; Canay Şahin, “The Rise and Fall of an Ayân Family in Eighteenth-Century Anatolia: The Caniklizâdes (1737–1808)” (PhD diss., Bilkent University, 2003), 51–52.

10 On Belgrade's strategic importance see Gravier Gaston, Les Frontières Historiques de la Serbie (Paris: Librairie Armand Colin, 1919).

11 Roider Karl A. Jr., The Reluctant Ally: Austria's Policy in the Austro-Turkish War, 1737–1739 (Baton Rouge, La.: Louisiana State University Press, 1972), 6. See also von Stefanović-Volovsky Theodore, Belgrad unter der Regierung Kaiser Karls VI, 1717–1739 (Vienna: A. Holzhausen, 1908), 2930, 36.

12 Petrovich Michael Boro, A History of Modern Serbia, 1804–1918, vol. 1 (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1976), 22.

13 Tričković Radmila, “Čitlučenje u beogradskom pašaluku u XVIII veku,” Zbornik Filozofskog Fakulteta 11 (1970): 525–49.

14 McGowan Bruce, “Age of the Ayans, 1699–1812,” in An Economic and Social History of the Ottoman Empire, 1300–1914, ed. Inalcik Halil and Quataert Donald (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994), 664.

15 Cevdet, Tarih-i Cevdet, 2:1140.

16 Cevdet, Tarih-i Cevdet, 2:1141. It is important to note that Ahmed Cevdet Pasha often took an overly critical view of those involved in provincial politics, that is, ayans and local janissary garrisons. For an interesting assessment of his writings, see Christoph K. Neumann, “Whom did Ahmed Cevdet Represent?” in Late Ottoman Society: The Intellectual Legacy, ed. Elisabeth Özdalga (London: RoutledgeCurzon, 2005), 117–34. Although it does not attribute the loss of Belgrade to the yamaks’ desire to maintain their possessions, a document from 1790 states that Belgrade was lost due to the cowardice of the city's defenders. See BOA, Hatt-ı Humayun, 8870.

17 Cevdet, Tarih-i Cevdet, 3:1349.

18 Due to Deli Ahmed's success in the war against Serbs who had sided with the Habsburgs, he was given the title mirmiran by the vali of Rumeli. Börekçi Mehmet Çetin, Osmanlı İmparatorluğu'nda Sırp Meselesi (Istanbul: Kutup Yıldızı Yayınları, 2001), 25.

19 Cevdet, Tarih-i Cevdet, 3:1349.

20 Ranke Leopold, The History of Servia and the Servian Revolution, trans. Mrs. Kerr Alexander (London: Henry G. Bohn, 1853), 67.

21 Cevdet, Tarih-i Cevdet, 3:1349.

22 BOA Mühimme Defteri (hereafter MD) 186, 227; BOA, Hatt-ı Humayun, 14381; Šabanović, Turski Izvori o Srpskoj Revoluciji 1804, 15–23.

23 The yamaks had taken more than 150,000 kese in illegal taxes from the reaya of Serbia prior to 1791. BOA MD 197, 6, cited in Börekçi, Osmanlı İmparatorluğu'nda Sırp Meselesi, 22.

24 The action against the janissaries and yamaks in Belgrade is very similar to the removal of the janissaries in the 18th century from Eger, an equally strategic frontier, for their oppressive actions. In the end the sultan admitted to the petitioners against the janissaries that nothing could be done until “after their numbers had been made up by the arrival of new soldiers.” David Géza, “The Eyalet of Temesvár in the Eighteenth Century,” Oriente Moderno 18 (1999): 114.

25 BOA MD, 197, 6–7, in Börekçi, Osmanlı İmparatorluğu'nda Sırp Meselesi, 27.

26 BOA, Hatt-ı Hümayun, 57252.

27 Pasvanoğlu is also known as Pazvantoğlu and Pazvandoğlu, all of which are a corruption of Pasbanoğlu, son of the watchman.

28 Masbat from authorities in Vidin to the Ottoman Divan, 3 December 1794, in Ikhchiev D., Turski D'rzhavni Dokumenti za Osman Pazvantoglu Vidinski (Sofia, Bulgaria: D'rzhavna Pechatnitsa, 1909), 3435.

29 Aksan Virginia, Ottoman Wars, 1700–1870 (Harlow, U.K.: Pearson/Longman, 2007), 5052; Raymond André, “Soldiers in Trade: The Case of Ottoman Cairo,” British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies 18 (1991): 1637.

30 Aslantaş Selim, Osmanlıda Sırp İsyanları: 19. Yüzyılın Şafağında Balkanlar (Istanbul: Kitap Yayınevi, 2007), 5455.

31 Nenadović, The Memoirs of Prota Matija Nenadović, 14; Jakšić Grgur, L'Europe et la Résurrection de la Serbie, 1804–1854 (Paris: Librairie Hachette, 1917), 22. Aleksa was the father of Matija Nenadović.

32 Nenadović, The Memoirs of Prota Matija Nenadović, 15.

33 Cevdet, Tarih-i Cevdet 3:1490; on his appointment, see BOA, Hatt-ı Humayun, 2420, also in Šabanović, Turski Izvori o Srpskoj Revoluciji 1804, 26–28.

34 BOA, Cevdet Tasnifi Askeriye, 36260.

35 For example, see ibid., 1179.

36 Jakšić, L'Europe et la Résurrection de la Serbie, 1804–1854, 12–13; for additional information on the Freikorps, see Rothenberg Gunther, The Military Border in Croatia, 1740–1881 (Urbana, Ill.: University of Illinois Press, 1966).

37 Nenadović, The Memoirs of Prota Matija Nenadović, 13.

38 Pakalin Mehmet Zeki, “Bina Emini,” Osmanlı Tarih Deyimleri ve Terimleri Sözlüğü, vol. 1 (Istanbul: Milli Eğitim Bakanlığı Yayınları, 1993), 234. Numerous sources have erroneously translated Hacı Mustafa's title as chief architect; see Jakšić, L'Europe et la Résurrection de la Serbie, 1804–1854, 22; and Shaw, Between Old and New, 241.

39 BOA, Hatt-ı Hümayun, 2420.

40 Börekçi, Osmanlı İmparatorluğu'nda Sırp Meselesi, 31–32.

41 BOA MD 203, 26 cited in ibid., 32.

42 In an arz from the grand vizier to the sultan explaining the nomination of Hacı Mustafa Pasha to the rank of vizier, he is referred to as an old and faithful servant who knows right from wrong and who is also religious, temperate, and honest. BOA, Hatt-ı Hümayun, 2420.

43 Robert Zens, “The Ayanlık and Pasvanoğlu Osman Paşa of Vidin in the Age of Ottoman Social Change, 1791–1815” (PhD diss., University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2004), 85–97.

44 Nenadović, The Memoirs of Prota Matija Nenadović, 13.

45 For example, Jakšić, L'Europe et la Résurrection de la Serbie, 1804–1854; Pantelić Dušan, Beogradski Pašaluk: Pred Prvi Srpski Ustanak, 1794–1804 (Belgrade: Srpska Akademija Nauka, 1949); and Konstandinović Nikola, Beogradski Pašaluk: Severna Srbija pod Turcima (Belgrade: Izd. N. Konstandinović, 1970).

46 Jakšić, L'Europe et la Résurrection de la Serbie, 18041854, 23.

47 Nenadović, The Memoirs of Prota Matija Nenadović, 15–16.

48 For a detailed study of Pasvanoğlu and his actions in the paşalık of Belgrade, see Zens Robert, “Pasvanoğlu Osman Paşa and the Paşalık of Belgrade, 1791–1807,” International Journal of Turkish Studies 8 (2002): 89104; and Aslantaş, Osmanlıda Sırp İsyanları: 19. Yüzyılın Şafağında Balkanlar, 55–63.

49 Yakichitch Grégoire (Grgur Jakšić), “Documents et Mémoires: Notes sur Passvan-oglou, 1758–1807,” La Revue Slave 5, no. 1 (1906): 276.

50 BOA, Cevdet Tasnifi Askeriye, 36260, 54570.

51 Ibid., 23821.

52 Ibid., 24034.

53 BOA, Hatt-ı Humayun, 12538, also in Šabanović, Turski Izvori o Srpskoj Revoluciji 1804, 33–35.

54 Cevdet, Tarih-i Cevdet, 3:1586.

55 BOA, Hatt-ı Humayun, 14361.

56 BOA, Hatt-ı Hümayun, 10729 C, also in Šabanović, Turski Izvori o Srpskoj Revoluciji 1804, 39–42. Although this document is dated 5 December 1796, it speaks of these earlier events.

57 Cevdet, Tarih-i Cevdet, 3:1586.

59 BOA, Hatt-ı Hümayun, 56830.

60 As muhassil, Pasvanoğlu would have had to pay 500 kese to the Porte, an increase of 300 kese over his previous dues. Cevdet, Tarih-i Cevdet, 6:1587.

61 BOA, Cevdet Askeriye, 8223.

62 BOA, Hatt-ı Hümayun, 10729, also in Šabanović, Turski Izvori o Srpskoj Revoluciji 1804, 39–42.

63 BOA, Hatt-ı Hümayun, 3262.

64 Ranke, The History of Servia, 70.

65 Cevdet, Tarih-i Cevdet, 3:1612.

67 BOA, Hatt-ı Hümayun, 2877 A.

68 BOA, Hatt-ı Hümayun, 2877 C.

69 BOA, Hatt-ı Hümayun, 12277.

70 Ferman from Sultan Selim III to Hacı Mustafa Pasha, 24 November 1797, Ikhchiev D., Turski D'rzhavni Dokumenti za Osman Pazvantoglu Vidinski (Sofia: D'rzhavna Pechatnitsa, 1909), 51.

71 Fermans from Sultan Selim III, 24 November 1797, ibid., 45–51.

72 Ferman from Sultan Selim III to Sofia, 9 December 1797, ibid., 55–56.

73 BOA, Cevdet Tasnifi Dahiliye 2722.

74 For a detailed account, see Zens, “The Ayanlık and Pasvanoğlu Osman Paşa,” 134–49.

75 See Yakichitch, “Documents et Mémoires,” 418. The Dutch ambassador van Dedem estimated the coalition force to be 100,000 men in January 1798 and up to 150,000 by April. See Albert P. van Goudoever, “The Rebellion of Osman Pazvantoglu and Dutch Diplomacy (1797–1802),” in Aspects of the Eastern Question: Essays from the First Bulgarian-Dutch Symposium of Historians, Sofia, 6–7 June 1984, ed. Maria N. Todorova (Sofia: CIBAL 1986), 17; Letter from d'Ohsson to King Gustav IV Adolph, 10 February 1798, in Europe and the Porte: New Documents on the Eastern Question, 2 vols., ed. Veniamin Ciobanu (Iaşi, Romania: Center for Romanian Studies, 2001), 2:22. For Pasvanoğlu's troop count, see Olivier G. A., Voyage dans L'empire Othoman, l'Égypte, et la Perse . . . (Paris: H. Agasse, 1801–1807), 211–18. D'Ohsson estimated Pasvanoğlu to have 40,000 fighters; see letter dated 10 February 1798, in Ciobanu, Europe and the Porte, 2:22.

76 Nenadović, The Memoirs of Prota Matija Nenadović, 31. This source names Bega Novljanin and Çurtoglija as the murderers of Lazarević.

77 Ibid., 32. Numerous documents are found in the BOA that make similar statements regarding Serbs’ loyalty to the state and their muhafız. For example, see BOA, Hatt-ı Hümayun, 6809.

78 Nenadović, The Memoirs of Prota Matija Nenadović, 34–35. According to Jakšić, the knezes were to furnish the same number of men that were made available to the Austrian army during the previous war. Jakšić, L'Europe et la Résurrection de la Serbie, 1804–1854, 26.

79 Nenadović, The Memoirs of Prota Matija Nenadović, 36.

80 BOA, Cevdet Tasnifi Dahiliye, 2752.

81 Jakšić, L'Europe et la Résurrection de la Serbie, 1804–1854, 26.

82 Ranke, The History of Servia, 71.

83 BOA, Hatt-ı Hümayun, 12477.

84 Ranke, The History of Servia, 71.

85 BOA, Cevdet Tasnifi Askeriye, 4122, 37628.

86 Ibid., 14192.

87 BOA, Hatt-ı Hümayun, 3946; Cevdet, Tarih-i Cevdet, vol. 4, 1823. The vali received another report stating that those who had been expelled from Belgrade were uniting with Pasvanoğlu and causing problems in Belgrade and throughout the region. BOA, Hatt-ı Hümayun, 12371.

88 Nenadović, The Memoirs of Prota Matija Nenadović, 42; Jakšić, L'Europe et la Résurrection de la Serbie, 1804–1854, 27.

89 BOA, Hatt-ı Hümayun, 2213 T. Ironically, Mustafa Pasha's son Derviş Bey, later pasha with the rank of vizier, was appointed the governor of Vidin in 1821. See a short biography in Süreyya, Sicill-i Osmani, 2:369.

90 For a detailed study of the al-Jalilis and Ottoman Mosul, see Dina Rizk Khoury, State and Provincial Society in the Ottoman Empire: Mosul, 1540–1834 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997).

91 Ibid., 57–58.

92 See Şahin Canay, “The Economic Power of Anatolian Ayans of the Late Eighteenth Century: The Case of the Caniklizâdes,” International Journal of Turkish Studies 11 (2005): 2947.

93 Georgieva Gergana, “Administrative Structure and Government of Rumelia in the Late Eighteenth and Early Nineteenth Centuries: The Functions and Activities of the Vali of Rumelia,” in Ottoman Rule and the Balkans, 1760–1850: Conflict, Transformation, Adaptation, ed. Anastasopoulos Antonis and Kolovos Elias (Rethymno, Greece: University of Crete Press, 2007), 319.

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International Journal of Middle East Studies
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