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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