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Dependent Power: Ottoman Governors and Algerian Elites in Constantine, 1567-1837 (MESA 2019)

Posted in Percolating Ideas, and Research

Presentation at the Middle East Studies Association Conference (15-17 November 2019, New Orleans, LA)


In 1713 Ottoman General Kelian-Hussein found himself in Constantine, Algeria to reestablish peace and preserve Ottoman sovereignty in the defiant region, but military acumen alone was not enough. Multiple governors had come and gone so frequently in the preceding six years that little, apart from their names, found its way into the historical record, and tribes in the Aurès Mountains were in full armed rebellion. Kelian’s first expedition to quell the mutiny met only embarrassing defeat at the hands of the locals. Nineteenth-century French Arabist, Ernest Mercier, attributed Kelian’s later military successes to his travels throughout the province and the increase in tax revenues from the south to fund further exploits.[1] This seems a reasonable explanation, but it elides the significant fact that Kelian married into one of the prominent Aurès tribes. Despite Ottoman strictures against such marriages, this became common practice in Constantine to shore up support among influential local leaders. Marriage into a prominent Algerian family provided an Ottoman official the military and political backing that was essential to his success and longevity. Without such ties, provincial governors did not last long, often suffering dismissal or, increasingly in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, exile and assassination.

For many of Constantine’s governors, only traces of their history remain in eighteenth-century European travel narratives, nineteenth-century French and Arabic chronicles, and diplomatic records. Through reconstructing the details of their lives, I argue, first, that between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries, ethnicity, real and fictive kinship networks, and integration into Constantinois society determined the success and longevity of an Ottoman governor’s tenure in office. Secondly, my evidence shows that local Algerian elites contributed to both the selection and removal of governors in Constantine, demonstrating a greater role in Ottoman governance than hitherto recognized. Third, by the nineteenth century, a rising numbers of Kulughli governors suggests that the dual processes of Ottomanization and localization, observed in other Arab provinces, had finally taken root in Constantine in the last three decades of Ottoman rule.  Frequently overshadowed by the weight of French colonialism’s legacy, the Regency period remains an understudied era in the history of Algeria. This prosopographical study of Constantine’s provincial governors reveals the ways in which Ottoman governance worked on the ground and the essential roles that local Algerian notables played in the effectiveness of Ottoman administrators.

[1] Ernest Mercier, Histoire de Constantine (Constantine, Algeria: J. Marle et F. Biron, 1903), 245.



There was no one like Ahmed. Despite his common name, the man himself was anything but typical. The member of a middling upper-class family in the province of Constantine, the grandson of an Ottoman governor and an Algerian blacksmith, married seven times into some of the most elite families in the region, he embodied the tensions of empire – neither fully Turkish, nor fully Algerian. Yet, he won the trust of both, which was no easy task, and served as the longest ruling kuluğhlu in Constantine’s history. His tenure was cut short only by the French conquest in 1837. Studying Ahmed’s memoir and life history prompted me to explore questions about his representativeness and the roles that ethnicity, kinship, and experience played in men’s pathways to power in Ottoman Algeria.

For the Ottoman military-administrative elite, alliances were essential to garnering respect and support among Algerian notables, legitimizing their authority in the province, and solidifying their positions of power. Recent historical work brings greater attention to Ottoman imperial peripheries as a means to understand how the provinces functioned within the larger empire. Scholars have studied the ways in which Ottoman administrators’ place of origin shaped the character of rule from Greece and Egypt to Tunisia, Iraq, and Syria.[1] Extant scholarship provides strong evidence that households in both the center and periphery were crucial gateways to power for Ottoman administrators.[2] But, the defining features of effective provincial governance, particularly on the frontiers, remain under-explored.

Despite renewed scholarly interest in Ottoman Algeria over the past two decades, a number of questions remain unanswered. How did a man’s ethnicity and origin contribute to his ability to achieve and retain high office? How did Algerian local elites exert pressure on Ottoman administrators to install and remove governors? Why were kuluğhlu’s so famously unsuccessful, given their inherent local and imperial ties? In answering these questions, this article sheds light on the household as a nexus of power, an avenue for advancement, as well as the linchpin for the safety and security of Ottoman heads of households. It focuses on local perceptions of Ottoman officials’ ethnicity and the extent of local elites’ influence in the political careers of provincial governors in Constantine, Algeria between 1567 and 1837. I argue that ethnicity and kinship connections were key factors ina man’s pathway to the governorship. Once in office, a bey’s ability to balance local and imperial interests then determined his efficacy and length of tenure. 

            According to Ehud Toledano’s formative theorization, as Ottomans established households in the Arab provinces between the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries, the processes of localization and Ottomanization occurred simultaneously and produced “local-Ottoman elites.”[3] Historians contest the extent to which these dual processes transpired in Algeria.[4] Some argue that the Ottoman elite in Algeria sought to maintain their Turkish identity through the preservation of Turkish language and customs, as well as the instantiation of different legal codes for the local population and Ottoman administrators.[5] Others contend that Algerian notables were powerful enough to force Ottoman officials to “forget their origins.”[6] In contrast to both perspectives, this study details how the provincial governors of Constantine formed a syncretic identity that was acceptable to both the local elite and Ottoman imperial officials.

I focus on Constantine rather than the central or the western provinces of Algeria in order to explore Ottoman governance strategies in a region that was more closely woven into the imperial fabric. The western province is unsuitable for such a study because both Spain and Morocco remained more influential than the Ottoman Empire throughout the period under consideration. The choice of Constantine also reflects my desire to interrogate and test theories about Ottoman governance that are based solely on studies of Algiers.  Unlike the Ottoman situation in Algiers, it was not advantageous for Ottomans to remain aloof from the local population in Constantine. Rather, provincial governors in the east had to strike a delicate balance between the interests of their local constituents, the Dey in Algiers, and the janissaries – both in Algiers and in Constantine. This study therefore expands our understanding of how local social politics influenced Ottoman officials’ opportunities and effectiveness at the edge of the Ottoman empire between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries.

Sources & Methods

For many of Algeria’s eastern provincial governors, only fragmentary traces of their history remain scattered across a diverse array of sources. These materials include European captivity and travel narratives, consular journals, nineteenth-century French and Arabic chronicles, and extant diplomatic records.[7] One of the earliest European sources is the Spanish Benedictine Diego de Haëdo’s Topografia e historia general de Argel, based on his sojourn in Algiers between 1578 and 1581, later published in 1612 by a Spanish press. Following the French conquest, Haëdo’s work was translated into French and several annotated versions were published in the mid-nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.[8] In addition to Haëdo’s narrative, French consuls provide some of the most richly detailed and informed European accounts from the Ottoman period. Jacques Philippe Laugier de Tassy served as Chancellor of the French Consulate in Algiers between 1717 and 1718 and published his Histoire du royaume d’Alger in 1725.[9] A decade later, Laurent d’Arvieux’s personal journal, recorded in the mid- to late seventeenth-century while Arvieux served as a consul throughout the Ottoman Empire, including Algiers, was posthumously published in 1735 as Memoires du chevalier d’Arvieux.[10]

Born into a family of notable Constantinian writers and administrators, Ṣāliḥ Ibn Muḥammad Al-ʿAntarī’s grandfather was a scribe for Sāliḥ Bey (r. 1771-1792), and his father was the scribe for Hadj Aḥmad Bey (r. 1826-1837), the last Bey of Ottoman Constantine.Al-ʿAntarī’s chronicle of the provincial governors offers fundamental information on their origins, kinship connections, length of tenure in office, and fate at the end of their terms.[11]Unlike Al-ʿAntarī , little is known about another Algerian historian, other than his family lineage and birthplace (Constantine), which we can identify from his full name: Ahmed ben Omar ben Ahmad ben Mohammed ben El Attar El Mobarek El Qosantiny. He came to my attention through his translated history of Constantine, Traduction du Kitab Tarikh Qosantina, published in 1913, a part of which is reproduced in the journal Revue africaine, published in the same year.[12]

Published in four volumes between 1890 and 1897, the Sicill-i Osmani, “The Ottoman National Biography” is the most detailed and inclusive collection of biographical data on Ottoman leaders. Despite compiler Mehmed Süreyya’s aims, it is, nevertheless, far from comprehensive. Eminent men from the early period of the Ottoman Empire, particularly the fourteenth through the sixteenth centuries, receive scant attention, and those who served in the provinces were largely ignored. Consequently, I am keeping data gleaned from the Sicill-i Osmani separate from the main data set. [I will also compare and correct this data based on a review of the Ottoman sources that have survived from Algeria.][13]

Powerful data analysis tools now enable scholars to open new vistas into the world of Ottoman provincial officials. Through the examination of underexplored source materials, this study pairs data mining and visualization with traditional close reading. It details how the confluence of ethnicity, prior leadership experience, and connections between local Algerian elites and Ottoman officials forged pathways to power that would come to determine many governors’ fates in the Algerian Regency. Data mined from the scant accounts of Constantine’s governors reveal the ways in which the shifting balance of power between the Dey in Algiers, the janissary ocak, and local notables influenced the political careers of provincial governors.

The method of analyzing a set of biographies is formally known as prosopography. Prosopography may be defined as a collection of studies about individuals “focusing on the public careers and relationships of a group in a particular place and period” in order to highlight characteristics that the group shares.[14] In using this method, I follow Ottoman historian I. Metin Kunt’s groundbreaking 1983 work, The Sultan’s Servants, as well as more recent historical works.[15]For this prosopographical study, I worked with several doctoral students to carefully read the aforementioned sources and document information about each of the Constantinian governors.[16] The data set we generated, a portion of which is shown in the table below, includes the following information for each bey (when known):

  • Arabic and transliterated name
  • ethnicity
  • place of origin
  • dates of tenure
  • prior administrative experience
  • whether or not he married into an Algerian family, and if so, which one(s)
  • fate

This data set and accompanying documentation are freely available online to view and download from GitHub.[17]

Transliterated NameArabic NameStart DateEnd DateTenure (Years)EthnicityFateCitations
Ramdān-Tshūlaq Bāyرمضان تشولاق باي156715747OttomanReassignedMercier, 203-4; Gaïd, 13; Al-Antari, 30-2
Jʿfar Bāyجعفر باي1574158814OttomanReassignedGaïd, 14; Al-Antari, 32.
Muhammad Ben Ferḥāt Bāyمحمد بن فرحات باي1588160820AlgerianKilled in battleMercier, 220; Gaïd, 14; Al-Antari, 32-4.
Ḥasan Bāyحسن باي1608162214OttomanDied of illnessMercier, 221; Gaïd, 15-16; Al-Antari, 34.
Murād Bāyمراد باي1622164725OttomanKilled in battleVayssettes, 70-80; Mercier, 224; Gaïd, 16-20; Al-Antari, 34-6; Feraud, 182, 196.
Ferḥāt Bāyفرحات باي164716536OttomanDied of illnessVayssettes, 80-4; Mercier, 229-231; Gaïd, 20-21; Al-Antari, 47-8.
Muhammad Bāy Ben Ferḥātمحمد باي بن فرحات1653166613OttomanAssassinatedVayssettes, 84-85; Mercier, 231-2; Gaïd, 21-22; Al-Antari, 48.
Rejeb Ben Ferḥāt Bāyرجب بن فرحات باي166616726OttomanDismissedVayssettes, 85-87; Mercier, 234-5; Gaïd, 22-23; Al-Antari, 48; Féraud, “Les Ben-Djellab,” 351.
Table 1: Data Sample. See Ashley Sanders Garcia, “Governors of Ottoman Constantine, Algeria, 1567-1837,” for full data set.


            In the early sixteenth century, corsairs ruled the Mediterranean Sea. Born in Mytilene, on the island of Lesbos, the pirate brothers Oruc (Oruj) and Kheir-ed-Dine Barbarossa established themselves as rulers over the Algerian coastline.[18] In 1517, the elder brother, Oruc, died in an attempt to recover the Algerian city of Tlemcen from Spanish control. Recognizing the need for additional support, Kheir-ed-Dine contacted Ottoman Sultan Selim I the following year. The Ottoman Sultan, known as “Selim the Grim,” agreed to provide reinforcements in return for Algeria’s vassalage and an annual tribute payment. Kheir-ed-Dine’s emissary agreed to the terms, and the Sultan sent two thousand elite infantry troops, or janissaries, along with four thousand volunteers who were incorporated into the regular janissary forces.[19] Drawn from Anatolia, these troops joined Kheir-ed-Dine’s forces in defense of the new Ottoman principality.[20] Their success led Selim I to name Kheir-ed-Dine as Algeria’s first beylerbeyi, or governor-general.[21] Following their victory, the janissaries and volunteers remained to protect Algeria from Spanish forces and keep the peace among rebellious local tribes.[22] In addition, Sultan Selim I guaranteed that military recruitment agents would be stationed in Istanbul and Izmir to send replacements for deceased janissaries and those who were too elderly to continue fighting, a promise that was later kept by every subsequent Ottoman sultan.[23] The military success of Kheir-ed-Dine and his agreement with Selim the Grim inaugurated Algeria’s three-century-long relationship with the Ottoman Empire.

            Beginning in the mid-sixteenth century, the Dey of Algiers chose many of Constantine’s governors from among the ranks of janissary officers. Most janissaries stationed in Algeria came from Anatolia, the heart of the Ottoman Empire. Some were selected through the devsirme system and therefore Christian or Jewish captive converts, but many were Muslim Turks who elected to travel to Algeria to enter military service.[24]  Unlike any other early modern Ottoman province, Kheir-ed-Dine convinced Sultan Selim I to allow “any Turk who was not a janissary or the son of a Christian to emigrate from Anatolia to Algiers” to enlist in the janissaries with all of the concomitant rights and benefits.[25] This was an unusual concession and pre-dated the more general admission of ethnic Turks into the janissaries by two centuries.[26] Therefore, the governors who were described as “Turks” in the source materials were likely ethnic Turks and not merely “Turks by profession,” a distinction that seemed to matter to both local Algerians and the Turks, themselves, who sought to maintain their position at the top of the socio-political hierarchy.[27]

            Between the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, transformations in the Ottoman Empire’s provincial administration ultimately encouraged far-flung Ottoman officials to establish roots in their assigned frontier region. In response to the evolution of European military tactics, Sultan Murad III (r. 1574-1595) diminished the number of cavalrymen and increased the number of imperial household troops. This shift narrowed the avenues from provincial leadership positions to higher office in the metropole. Ottoman historian İ. Metin Kunt reports that “from the 1570s to the 1580s, the ratio of new sancakbeyi [district commanders] from provincial administration ranks fell from two-thirds to half of all new appointees, while the share of those from central administration rose to 44.6 percent.”[28] Administrators who were stationed in the provinces were less likely to be called back to the imperial center or reassigned to a different province.[29]

The data on Constantine’s early governors reflects this change.[30] After their terms ended, the first two Ottoman governors of Algeria’s eastern district received new appointments to different provinces. Thereafter, most Ottoman officials who traveled to the frontier outpost of Algeria remained there. An imperial official’s best opportunities, then, lay in the distant province to which he had been assigned. The surest method to climb the administrative ladder in Algeria proved to be through real and fictive kinship networks and household connections. From Mohammed Pasha’s installation of Constantine’s first governor in 1567, beys served longer than their allotted three-year term. Interrupted only by governors’ deaths, this practice continued until the French conquest of the provincial capital in 1837. Across the Ottoman Empire, this was highly unusual; only four to six percent of beys in other provinces served longer than the standard three-year term.[31]

Scatterplot of the governors's tenures in Constantine, Algeria, 1567-1837

Figure 1: Tenure of Constantine’s Governors. For underlying data, see:
Sanders, “Governors of Ottoman Constantine, Algeria, 1567-1837.”

After Sultan Murad III signed a truce with Habsburg Emperor Philip II in 1580, Algeria became increasingly marginalized within the Ottoman Empire.[32] As a result, the janissaries sent to the frontier region stayed for the duration of their service. Through their long sojourn, the janissaries grew even more powerful. Beginning in the seventeenth century, the internal governing council, or divan, consisting of corsair leaders and janissary officers, became one of the primary training grounds for men who were promoted to serve as dey in Algiers and beys in the western and eastern territories.[33] Enrollment, voluntarily or not, into the janissary corps provided young men with the opportunity to cultivate patronage relationships, foster support among their peers, and gain valuable leadership experience. All three proved essential factors in the success of Ottoman officials when they reached the upper echelons of the military-administrative ranks, but they were not sufficient conditions to ensure a governor’s success in the province of Constantine.

The Beys’ Balancing Act: Local and Imperial Interests

In Algeria, admission into an elite household became one of the primary avenues to administrative offices for Ottomans, Algerians, and Europeans, alike. Household formation enabled Ottomans to maintain connections with the imperial center and to establish local ties. Ottoman officials who built alliances with Algerian elites demonstrated their allegiance to the local population and thereby earned the trust of their constituents. Furthermore, membership in the households of powerful local notables provided security for ambitious non-Algerian officials. Likewise, client relationships with their patrons enabled manumitted European slaves (‘uluj) to hold some of the highest offices in the Algerian Regency.[34] Two of Constantine’s governors were European by birth, taken captive, and then freed following conversion to Islam. These men, variously known as “mamluks,” “renegades,” or “‘uluj” (singular: ‘ilj), were incorporated into elite households throughout Algeria.[35] Both traditional households, as well as the janissary barracks, facilitated patronage networks that opened important doors for constituent members’ careers.[36]

Based on statistical hypothesis testing and close reading, the most successful governors proved to be Turkish officials who served in the janissaries, established roots in the province through marriage into local notable families, and formed alliances through political appointments. In 1713, for instance, Ottoman General Kelian-Hussein found himself in Constantine to reestablish peace and preserve Ottoman sovereignty in the defiant region, but military acumen alone was not enough. Multiple governors had come and gone so frequently in the preceding six years that little, apart from their names, found its way into the historical record. Meanwhile, tribes in the Aurès Mountains were in full armed rebellion. Kelian’s first expedition to quell the mutiny met only embarrassing defeat at the hands of the locals. Nineteenth-century French Arabist, Ernest Mercier, attributed Kelian’s later military success to his travels throughout the province and the increase in tax revenues from the south to fund further exploits.[37] This seems a reasonable explanation, but it elides the significant fact that Kelian married into one of the prominent Aurès tribes. Despite Ottoman strictures against such marriages, this became common practice in Constantine to shore up support among influential local leaders. Marriage into a notable Algerian family provided an Ottoman official the military and political backing that was essential to his success and longevity. Without such ties, provincial governors did not last long, often suffering dismissal or, increasingly in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, exile and assassination.

The convergence of each bey’s ethnicity, kinship connections, and ability to bridge local and imperial interests ultimately determined his effectiveness in office.[38] The contrast between Ahmed Bey El Colli (r. 1756-1771) and Hossein Bey (r. 1806-1807), illustrates how a governor’s path to the beylicate influenced his administrative practices and tenure. The former began life as Ahmed ben Ali, but upon his incorporation into the janissaries and subsequent move to Algeria, he became known as Ahmed Bey El Turki to denote his Turkish heritage, which set him apart as a member of the ruling caste in the imperial province. By the time he became governor of Constantine, he was known as Ahmed El Colli in recognition of his long residence in Collo, Algeria. In Ahmed’s period of transition from “El Turki” to “El Colli,” he developed a network that included both his Ottoman military-political connections and powerful local families. Ahmed’s moniker signaled his ethnic background, and its evolution suggests his gradual acceptance among the Algerians. 

Ahmed El Colli’s experience as a janissary officer in Algeria and two strategic marriages into prominent local tribes made him an excellent candidate for the governorship. While stationed in Collo, Algeria, Ahmed became acquainted with the blacksmith who tended his horse, Mohammed, sheikh of the Ben Gana tribe.[39]  Mohammed harbored ambitions of becoming the next Sheikh al-Arab.  According to the chroniclers, it was this ambition that prompted Mohammed to approve of the Ottoman officer’s marriage to his daughter. As Mohammed’s daughter was barren, Ahmed later married Daïkra, daughter of the sheikh of the powerful Muqrani family. Guardians of the dangerous land passage from Algiers to Constantine, the Muqranis were both wealthy and strategically located to facilitate communication, military transports, and trade between the two cities.[40] Perhaps with the advice of the previous Bey of Constantine, Ḥussein Ben Zereq ʿynū, under whom Ahmed served admirably as a lieutenant in campaigns against Tunis, Dey Baba Ali Pasha appointed Ahmed as the next bey of Constantine in 1756, a position he held until his death due to illness in 1771.[41]

Supported by his eminent Algerian relatives, fellow janissaries, and the Dey, Ahmed Bey El Colli established peace in the defiant region. With a largely pacific province, Ahmed focused his attention on developing the capital city’s infrastructure. He planned and oversaw the construction of a new barracks for the janissaries, as well as urban squares, markets, and civilian housing. In addition, he developed neighboring plantations and encouraged agricultural expansion, thereby laying the groundwork for the explosion of productivity under his hand-picked successor, Sāliḥ Bey.[42] Known for his military prowess and wisdom as a leader, Ahmed Bey managed the nearly impossible task of balancing the competing interests of the Dey, the janissary corps, and the Constantinois, not to mention multiple sets of in-laws.

Ethnic Turks, such as Ahmed Bey El Colli, who married into local families proved the most successful at balancing both local and imperial interests. The janissaries were more likely to support ethnic Turks, especially those who were elevated to the beylicate from among their officers. The Dey in Algiers depended on the janissaries’ support and was therefore reluctant to contravene their wishes. As soldiers, the janissaries were also adept at executing rapid transfers of power from one governor to their desired successor. In the end, however, the Dey generally had the final word on the fate of a governor. Beys who abused their power or flouted that of the Dey found their tenure cut short. Nevertheless, wealthy Algerian elites remained influential in the capital and were able to sway the Dey’s decisions regarding the selection and removal of Beys from time to time.

A kuluğhlu with familial connections to local notables through his mother and a Turkish lineage through his father, Hossein Bey (r. 1806-1807) would seem to have been perfectly positioned for a successful tenure as governor. Instead, Hossein aroused the jealousy of the janissaries and was assassinated after a single year in office. Hossein was just a child when his father, Sāliḥ Bey (r. 1771-1792), was murdered in a political assassination. Fearing for their lives, Hossein’s mother fled to raise him near her own family, away from the tumultuous world of Ottoman state affairs. Despite the young mother’s efforts to remove her son from high provincial politics, other Algerian notables pinned their hopes for peace and prosperity on him.[43] Local elites who remained influential in Algiers lobbied Dey Ahmed Pasha to offer restitution to the people of Constantine and to Sāliḥ Bey’s family for his assassination. Led by the elderly but formidable Ben Djelloul, the Algerian notables persuaded the Dey to elevate Sāliḥ Bey’s son, Hossein to the beylicate. The liberality of their pocket books spoke louder than their words, and Dey Ahmed Pasha consented to their request.[44] The ascension of an inexperienced man to the governorship was practically unheard of in Constantine. For Hossein, it was disastrous.

Hossein’s precarious position made it essential to appease both the janissaries and the local notables in the construction of his administration. Heeding his advisors, Hossein selected elder Turkish statesmen and local Algerians from among his sponsors’ families, but it did him little good.[45] Despite his efforts, Hossein Bey’s story illustrates the tragic consequences that awaited provincial governors who provoked the janissaries’ ire. After Hossein formed his administration and launched a victorious assault on the Tunisian army, the Tunisian Bey sent an enormous force to Constantine in the hope of acquiring the fertile province. Upon their arrival, the Tunisians launched a thirty-day siege. The city’s brave inhabitants weathered the storm, but the siege continued until Dey Ahmed Pasha was able to send two corps of janissaries who soundly defeated the invaders. A year later, Ahmed Pasha’s lieutenant led an ill-fated offensive against the Tunisians and blamed his defeat on Hossein Bey. Furious, the janissaries rode straight to the Dey of Algiers to demand Hossein’s death and replacement with one of their own members. In a pattern repeated throughout the Regency period, the Dey cast the deciding vote regarding a bey’s fate in the struggle between the janissaries and local Algerian notables for influence over provincial governance.  The Dey acquiesced to the janissaries’ demands, and Hossein was summarily strangled in his home after just one year in office. In a move designed to reinforce and highlight their own power in the region, the janissaries prompted the Dey to appoint Ali, one of their own number, to serve as the next bey.[46] Hossein’s liminal identity, lack of experience, and absence of fictive kinship ties to the Ottoman military-administrative elite were liabilities. In the unforgiving world of Ottoman politics, Hossein did not enjoy enough time in office to compensate for his deficits.

As Hossein’s story suggests, local Algerian elites contributed to both the selection and removal of governors in Constantine and were therefore an important set of stakeholders with whom provincial governors had to contend.[47]  When a governor abused his power, local notables lodged strong complaints with the Dey in Algiers. At their urging, the Dey often sent an emissary to reassign the offensive governor or to irrevocably remove him.[48]   In April 1676, Dey Ismail Pasha (r. 1659-1686) selected Abd-el-Rahman Dali Bey, a “true Turk” and experienced janissary to serve as Constantine’s bey.[49]  With a reputation for brutality, Dali Bey was an unfortunate choice. Algerian scribe, teacher, and chronicler Ṣāliḥ Ibn Muḥammad Al-ʿAntarī characterized Dali Bey as a man of “death and pillage.”[50] After enduring Dali Bey’s excessive violence for several years, the Constantinois pled with the Dey of Algiers to rescue them from the man’s tyranny. Without hesitation, Dey Ismail responded to their desperate request and ordered Dali Bey’s execution in 1679.[51] Following the assassination, Dey Ismail installed Dali Bey’s protégé, a military commander, ʿmar Bey Ben ʿbd Al-Raḥmān (r. 1679-1688). ʿmar was apparently an acceptable replacement, for the local notables allowed him to live out the remainder of his natural life in office.[52]

Provincial governors therefore had to balance the competing interests of their Algerian constituents with those of Ottoman officials. When Beys elevated the interests of the local Constantinois above those of the Dey, they signed their own death warrant.  In retaliation for Napoleon Bonaparte’s imprisonment of Algerians in Marseilles in 1805, Ahmed Dey of Algiers confiscated France’s cessions and turned them over to England instead. The Constantinois immediately protested the transfer. They had long-established, trusted trade relationships with the French agents in La Calle, Annaba (Bône), and Collo and were highly invested in their continuance. In an attempt to placate the local elite and prevent armed protest, Constantine’s governor, Abd-Allah Bey, transmitted his constituents’ message of outrage, but he only succeeded in provoking the Dey’s anger. Despite his loyal service and prudent leadership, Ahmed dismissed Abd-Allah and sent his chaouches to execute the Bey.[53] Death by strangulation was the customary means of assassination for high ranking officials because it did not mutilate the body. Abd-Allah’s Bey’s brutal death under the chaouches’ batons, therefore, signaled the Dey’s great displeasure and served as a warning to other beys. Governors were thus beholden to both the local elite and to the Dey; pleasing both often proved impossible, as the number of assassinations attests.

Expected Beylical Comportment: A Case Study in the Negative

Although grim reading, the justifications given for political assassinations offer an important window into the expectations of those who occupied the Algerian centers of power: the janissaries, deys, and local elites.

Bar chart showing that most governors were assassinated or exiled from Constantine, Algeria, 1567-1837.

Figure 2: Fates of Constantine’s governors at the end of their tenure. The notation “non-violent” refers to the manner of the governors’ removal from office and covers both dismissals and reassignments.

Throughout the first two hundred years of Ottoman administration in Constantine, transfers of power from one governor to the next were relatively peaceful. During the first century of the Regency period, governors were reassigned, died in battle, or succumbed to illness or old age.[54] 1666 saw the first assassination of a provincial governor in Constantine when Redjeb Bey ordered the death of his half-brother, Mohammed. In the wake of Mohammed’s death, Redjeb not only took his place as bey but also married his brother’s reputedly beautiful widow, Aziza Bey, and built an ostentatious palace for her in Algiers.[55] Until the end of the eighteenth century, assassination remained an extreme measure and rare occurrence. In contrast, between 1792 and 1826, assassination became the most common fate for beys who governed the eastern province after Sāliḥ Bey’s strangulation in 1792. His death coincided with a series of plagues and famines that plunged the region into continual internecine violence, punctuated with the assassinations and removals of eighteen beys until Hadj Ahmed Bey’s nomination to the post in 1826.[56]

Figure 3: Gantt Chart of Simplified Fate Descriptions

The justifications offered for these assassinations suggest that all three sets of stakeholders shared similar notions of proper gubernatorial comportment. For instance, they expected governors to administer justice fairly and moderately, an expectation that remained a constant throughout the Ottoman Regency period. Beys who abused their power and brutalized their constituents provoked such an outcry among the Constantinois that the presiding deys ordered their immediate assassinations.[57] Similarly, the data suggest a consensus between the Dey and the local community that governors’ whose family members exhibited outrageous behavior ought to be replaced as well. For instance, notwithstanding his years of excellent service, laudable piety, strong friendships with autochthonous notables, and wise leadership, Hadj Mustapha Ingliz (r. 1798-1803) learned that the actions of his “perverse and vicious” son had ramifications for his own administration. The Dey sought to have the bey killed, but  Mustapha enjoyed the admiration and support of both influential Algerian elites and the janissaries.[58] His divan, composed of both local notables and Ottoman administrators drawn from the janissary corps, advocated for clemency. The Dey complied and exiled Mustapha to Tunis instead.[59] The ability of Mustapha’s divan to spare his life demonstrates the necessity of forging mutually beneficial ties with both the janissaries and local elites.

The decision about each provincial governor’s fate ultimately rested with the Dey, and beys who formed unfortunate alliances were particularly vulnerable to the Dey’s wrath. At the end of the eighteenth century, the Jewish lending house of cousins Michael Bacri and Naftali Busnach enjoyed a strategic position in Algiers as intermediaries between the Ottoman Regency and European states.[60] Bacri and Busnach’s wealth and influence threatened each succeeding administration until, finally, fearful of their growing political and economic capital, Hadj Ali (r. 1808-1815) beheaded a member of the Bacri family and then condemned to death all those who had relationships with this man. The condemned included the Bey of Constantine. Prior to his death, Ahmed el-Tobbal Bey (r. 1808-1811) managed to stabilize the plague-ridden, bankrupt, and disorganized eastern province. El-Tobbal was an active, firm, and prudent man who regularly fulfilled his duties both to the Ottoman administration in Algiers and to his constituents.[61] Nevertheless, in February 1811, Dey Hadj Ali had him strangled. His crime? He provided the unfortunate Bacri with three loads of wheat.[62]

Embodied Tensions of Empire: The Case of the Kuluğhlus

The reception and short tenures of the kuluğhlus illuminates the challenges that governors faced in their attempt to balance local and imperial interests and expectations. Kuluğhlus straddled the boundary between local and Ottoman elites in their very personhood. As such, one might reasonably expect the mixed-ethnicity governors to have been the most successful and longest serving. The number of kuluğhlus appointed to the governorship suggests that they were better positioned socially, politically, and financially than local Algerian notables to curry favor with the Deys in Algiers.[63] Contrary to expectations, however, they were more likely to be assassinated than any other ethnic group. (See Table 2 below.) 

Table 2: Governors’ Fates by Ethnicity, 1567-1837

Algerian governors, on the other hand, were the only known ethnic group to escape assassination. The three Algerians who served as governor fared better than the more numerous kuluğhlus, all but one of whom were killed in battle, exiled, or assassinated. Hadj Ahmed Bey (1826-1837) was the only kuluğhlu to successfully avoid a violent termination. This suggests the somewhat striking conclusion that the three centers of political power – the Dey, janissary corps, and local elite – were more likely to trust exogenous Ottoman governors than men born in Algeria.

The kuluğhlus’ inability to preserve their office, not to mention their own lives, is confounding and deserves some explanation.  In theory, ideology, and myth, kuluğhlus were prohibited from holding offices in the Ottoman military and government.[64] One explanation may be found in the kuluğhlus’ failed attempt to seize power in 1629.[65] According to Laurent d’Arvieux, French Consul in Algiers in 1673-74, kuluğhlus were still banned from positions of authority in response to their attempted coup.[66] Decades later, Thomas Shaw, British chaplain in Algiers, similarly observed that the kuluğhlus “have not been much encouraged, and when they are, they are always excluded from the honor of being Dey, Aga of the Janissaries, and other considerable offices and employments.”[67] In practice, many kuluğhlus served in a number of administrative positions.[68] Nevertheless, the pattern of provincial governors’ ethnicities in Constantine bears out the truth of Shaw’s remark. (See Figure 3 below.)

Figure 3: Timeline of Constantine Governors’ Ethnicities

Only six kuluğhlus served in the highest position of political power in the province, accounting for just thirteen percent of the beys, in total. This trend suggests that the Ottomans were highly effective at keeping kuluğhlus out of the highest offices until the end of their imperial hold on Algeria. This finding lends credence to Toledano’s contention that the Arab provinces, including Algeria, underwent a simultaneous process of Ottomanization and localization wherein Ottoman norms took precedence, while Ottoman officials became integrated into local social politics through marriage into Algerian families.


Early modern Ottoman governance strategies in Algeria relied on a provincial governor’s ability to do two things. First, he needed robust imperial networks to support his advancement to the governorship and to substantiate his authority while in office.[69]  Political networks provided pathways to higher office by connecting janissaries and European servant clients with Turkish patrons. Second, a governor had to ingratiate himself with the Algerian community, and marriage into local families was one of the surest ways to forge strong alliances.[70] The short terms and violent ends of European and kuluğhlu governors indicate the necessity of both imperial and local connections.

Local Algerian notables were often more involved in Ottoman politics than extant scholarship suggests. They lobbied for the elevation of specific beys, levied complaints of brutality to oust particularly unjust beys, and advocated for leniency for outgoing Beys they believed did not deserve death. While the voices of the Ottoman administrative elite and janissary forces carried the most political weight, those of Algerian notables could not be ignored. This made the bey’s task doubly challenging because he owed allegiance not only to the Dey in Algiers, the janissary ocak, but also the local elite. Navigating this complex political terrain was a dangerous undertaking. The local elite needed to approve of the bey’s methods of governance, comportment, and the behavior of his family members. Governors who did not live up to the expectations of the Constantinois were removed.

The best safeguards against such fates were a lengthy record of experience with the janissaries and/or in imperial administrative positions coupled with strong local alliances in the province. Marriage provided the most durable bond between an Ottoman official and local families, but it was not the only means of forging alliances. Other methods included patronage and the strategic placement of specific men in positions within the government. In Constantine, as in the rest of the Ottoman Empire, one finds evidence of the age-old equation: wealth and experience plus significant socio-political connections resulted in the acquisition of power.

While experience, wealth, and advantageous social networks were important factors in a man’s elevation to the beylicate, but, alone, they did not determine one’s longevity in office. The sources and data suggest that the Constantinois were most receptive to Ottoman governors who had come to Algeria from the heart of the Empire and built enduring relationships with local notables. The few Algerians who served as governor fared reasonable well compared to former European slaves whose patrons freed them and provided the necessary assistance to advance their careers. From all outward appearances, kuluğhlus would seem the perfect blend of Ottoman and local ties, but they were among the least successful governors. Nevertheless, by the end of the Regency period, more kuluğhlus were serving at the highest level of provincial government than ever before, suggesting that the dual processes of Ottomanization-Localization had finally taken root in Constantine.

Frequently overshadowed by the weight of French colonialism’s legacy, the Regency period remains an understudied era in the history of Algeria. This prosopographical study of Constantine’s provincial governors reveals the ways in which Ottoman governance worked on the ground and the essential roles that local Algerian notables played in the effectiveness of Ottoman administrators. My evidence shows how local Algerian elites contributed to both the selection and removal of governors in Constantine, demonstrating a greater role in Ottoman governance than hitherto recognized. By the nineteenth century, a rising numbers of kuluğhlu governors points to the integration of Turkish officials into Algerian society in the last three decades of Ottoman rule.  Through reconstructing the details of Constantine’s governors’ lives, I have argued that ethnicity, real and fictive kinship networks, and integration into Constantinois society determined the success and longevity of an Ottoman governor’s tenure in office between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries. 

[1] Jane Hathaway, The Politics of Households in Ottoman Egypt: The Rise of the Qazdağlis (New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 1997); André Raymond, The Great Arab Cities in the 16th-18th Centuries: An Introduction (New York: New York University Press, 1984); Asma Moalla, The Regency of Tunis and the Ottoman Porte, 1777-1814: Army and Government of a North-African Eyâlet at the End of the Eighteenth Century (New York: Routledge Curzon, 2004); S. H. Winter, “The Province of Raqqa under Ottoman Rule, 1535–1800: A Preliminary Study,” Journal of Near Eastern Studies 68, no. 4 (2009): 253–68,; Dina Rizk Khoury, State and Provincial Society in the Ottoman Empire: Mosul, 1540-1834 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1997); Tal Shuval, “Cezayir-i Garp: Bringing Algeria Back into Ottoman History,” New Perspectives on Turkey 22 (2000): 85–114,; Antonis Anastasopoulos, ed., Provincial Elites in the Ottoman Empire : Halcyon Days in Crete V : A Symposium Held in Rethymno 10-12 January 2003 (Rethymno: Crete University Press, 2005); Marc Aymes, A Provincial History of the Ottoman Empire: Cyprus and the Eastern Mediterranean in the Nineteenth Century, 2014.

[2] İ. Metin Kunt, The Sultan’s Servants: The Transformation of Ottoman Provincial Government, 1550-1650 (New York: Columbia University Press, 1983); Jane Hathaway, “The Military Household in Ottoman Egypt,” International Journal of Middle East Studies 27, no. 1 (1995): 39–52; Tal Shuval, “Households in Ottoman Algeria,” Turkish Studies Association Bulletin 24, no. 1 (2000): 41–64; Amy Aisen Kallander, Women, Gender, and the Palace Households in Ottoman Tunisia (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2014); Donald Quataert, The Ottoman Empire, 1700-1922, 2nd ed, New Approaches to European History (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005). Quataert identifies one of the gaps in the literature that I seek to address in this study. He observes, “Historians likely have underestimated the retention of local political power by such pre-Ottoman elite groups, and more of these families played an important role in the subsequent Ottoman centuries than has been credited” (Quataert, 47).

[3] Ehud Toledano, “The Emergence of Ottoman–Local Elites (1700–1900): A Framework for Research,” in Middle Eastern Politics and Ideas: A History from Within, (New York: Tauris Academic Studies, 1997), 145–62.

[4] For a recent synthesis, see James McDougall, A History of Algeria (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2017).

[5] Tal Shuval, “The Ottoman Algerian Elite and Its Ideology,” International Journal of Middle East Studies 32, no. 3 (2000): 323–44.

[6] Isabelle Grangaud, La Ville Imprenable: Une Histoire Sociale de Constantine Au 18e Siècle, Recherches d’histoire et de Sciences Sociales, Studies in History and the Social Sciences 95 (Paris: Editions de l’Ecole des hautes études en sciences sociales, 2002), 229,

[7] French chronicles used for this study include Eugène Vayssettes, Histoire de Constantine Sous La Domination Turque de 1517 à 1837, Bibliothèque d’histoire Du Maghreb (Saint-Denis: Bouchene, 1867); Eugène Vayssettes and Abderrahmane Rebahi, Histoire des derniers beys de Constantine: depuis 1793 jusqu’à la chute de Hadj-Ahmed (Alger: Grand-Alger-Livres, 2005); Henrie-Delmas Grammont, Histoire d’Alger sous la domination turque (1515-1830) (Paris: E. Leroux, 1887); Mercier, Histoire de Constantine; Mouloud Gaïd, Chronique des beys de Constantine (Algeria: Office des publications universitaires, 1978).

[8] Roberts, 198.

[9] “Jacques Philippe Laugier de Tassy,”, accessed May 21, 2019,; Laugier de Tassy, Histoire du royaume d’Alger (Amsterdam: Chez Henri du Sauzet, 1725).

[10] Laurent d’Arvieux, Mémoires Du Chevalier d’Arvieux, Envoyé Extraordinaire Du Roy à La Porte, Consul d’Alep, d’Alger, de Tripoli et Autres Échelles Du Levant : Contenant Ses Voyages à Constantinople, Dans l’Asie, La Syrie, La Palestine, l’Égypte et La Barbarie, vol. 5, 5 vols. (Paris: C.-J.-B. Delespine, 1735).

[11] A list of the primary sources used, brief author biographies, and the data compiled for this study can be found at

[12] Ahmed El Mobarek, “Kitab Tarikh Qosantina,” Revue Africaine : Journal Des Travaux de La Société Historique Algérienne 57 (1913): 265–301; Ahmed ben Omar ben Ahmad ben Mohammed ben El Attar El Mobarek El Qosantiny and A Dournon, Traduction du Kitâb Tarîkh Qosantîna (Alger: Adolphe Jourdan, 1913).

[13] The Ottoman archival documents used in this study are copies of the originals, which are currently held in the National Archives of Algeria. These are the only Ottoman administrative records that remain following the destruction of a number of documents during the French conquest and colonization (1830-1962). Microfilm copies may also be found in Archives Nationales de France in Series MI: “Archives turques d’Algérie, XVIIIe-XIXe s.” (Code: 228 Mi, 1-49). For a history of these records, see Abdeljelil Temimi, “Sommaire Des Registres Arabes et Turcs d’Alger” (Revue d’Histoire Maghrebine, 1979).

[14] “Prosopography, n.,” in OED Online (Oxford University Press), accessed February 17, 2019,; Claire Lemercier and Claire Zalc, Quantitative Methods in the Humanities: An Introduction, trans. Arthur Goldhammer (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2019), 33. The popularity of prosopography as an analytical method has steadily increased since the mid-1960s as historians continue to access ever larger stores of sources and better tools with which to analyze the data.For instance, see Google ngram viewer, “prosopography,” (17 February 2019). Jean-Baptiste Michel, Yuan Kui Shen, Aviva Presser Aiden, Adrian Veres, Matthew K. Gray, William Brockman, The Google Books Team, Joseph P. Pickett, Dale Hoiberg, Dan Clancy, Peter Norvig, Jon Orwant, Steven Pinker, Martin A. Nowak, and Erez Lieberman Aiden. Quantitative Analysis of Culture Using Millions of Digitized BooksScience (Published online ahead of print: 12/16/2010).

[15] Kunt, The Sultan’s Servants; Christian Flexj and Dirk Raith, “Émigré Social Scientists from Austria: A Prosopography,” in Mirrors and Windows: Essays in the History of Sociology, ed. Janusz Mucha, Dirk Kaesler, and Włodzimierz Wincławski (Torún: Nicolaus Copernicus University Press, 2001), 208–18; Nicolas Mariot and Claire Zalc, “Reconstructing Trajectories of Persectuion: Reflections on a Prosopography of Holocaust Victims,” in Microhistories of the Holocaust, ed. Claire Zalc and Tal Bruttmann (New York: Berghahn Books, 2016), 85–112.

[16] Although I compiled the initial data set, this project has benefited greatly from the assistance of three UCLA doctoral candidates: Veronica Dean, Robert Farley, and Suleiman Hodali. ­­­­

[17] “Governors of Ottoman Constantine, Algeria,” Initial experimental visualizations of the data are also available: Ashley Sanders Garcia, “By the Numbers: Constantine Governors in Ottoman Algeria, 1567-1837,” Colonialism Through The Veil (blog), October 1, 2018,

[18] Joshua M. White, Piracy and Law in the Ottoman Mediterranean (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2018); Andrew C. Hess, The Forgotten Frontier: A History of the Sixteenth-Century Ibero-African Frontier (University of Chicago Press, 2010), 61–62.

[19] Shuval, “Cezayir-i Garp,” 89, 98.; Haëdo, Topographie et histoire générale d’Alger, 503; Laurent d’Arvieux, Mémoires du chevalier d’Arvieux, vol. 5 (Paris: C.-J.-B. Delespine, 1735), 251–52.

[20] Shuval, “The Ottoman Algerian Elite and Its Ideology,” 325; Charles André Julien, History of North Africa: Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, from the Arab Conquest to 1830 (London: Routledge & K. Paul, 1970), 280–81.

[21] John Ruedy, Modern Algeria: The Origins and Development of a Nation (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1992), 17; McDougall, A History of Algeria; Richard Roughton, “The Administration of Ottoman Algeria (1517-1830)” (Master of Arts, University of Maryland, 1962), 4–10; Hess, The Forgotten Frontier, 61–67; Grammont, Histoire d’Alger sous la domination turque (1515-1830), 23–31; Julien, History of North Africa, 278–81.

[22] Laugier de Tassy, A Compleat History of the Piratical States of Barbary: Viz. Algiers, Tunis, Tripoli, and Morocco. Containing the Origin, Revolutions, and Present State of These Kingdoms, Their Forces, Revenues, Policy and Commerce. Illustrated with a Plan of Algiers, and a Map of Barbary. By a Gentleman Who Resided There Many Years in a Public Character (R. Griffiths, at the Dunciad in St. Paul’s Church-Yard., 1750), 166–67; Shuval, “The Ottoman Algerian Elite and Its Ideology,” 325; Abdallah Laroui, The History of the Maghrib: An Interpretive Essay, Princeton Studies on the Near East (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1977), 249; Roughton, “The Administration of Ottoman Algeria (1517-1830),” 1–10.

[23] Roughton, “The Administration of Ottoman Algeria (1517-1830),” 9–10.

[24] Shuval, “Cezayir-i Garp,” 98. Contrast Algeria’s exogenous recruitment with that of Tunisia’s internal recruitment strategy, described in Kallander, Women, Gender, and the Palace Households in Ottoman Tunisia.

[25] Hugh Roberts, Berber Government: The Kabyle Polity in Pre-Colonial Algeria, Library of Middle East History 14 (New York: I.B. Tauris, 2014), 198. The data regarding Constantine’s governors also bear out this observation.

[26] Godfrey Goodwin, The Janissaries (London: Saqi, 2013), 28–30.

[27] Haëdo, Topographie et histoire générale d’Alger, 62. Haëdo remarks that the “Turks by profession” were all “renegades” – Christians “by blood and parentage,” – who had become “Turks” by conscription into the janissaries. McDougall, A History of Algeria, 31; de Tassy and Tassy, A Compleat History of the Piratical States of Barbary, 205–6.

[28] Kunt, The Sultan’s Servants, 62.

[29] Shuval, “Cezayir-i Garp,” 98–100.

[30] Ashley Sanders Garcia, “Governors of Ottoman Constantine, Algiera, 1567-1837,” data set, (7 October 2019).

[31] Kunt, The Sultan’s Servants, 72.

[32] White, Piracy and Law in the Ottoman Mediterranean.

[33] Haëdo, Topographie et histoire générale d’Alger, 505.

[34] Even enslaved European Christians could reasonably hope to achieve high political office. Upon conversion and through their own industry European slaves were frequently manumitted and rose to great wealth and power. However, slaves brought north across the Sahara rarely earned freedom, although many were manumitted. Unlike European Christian converts, the freed Sub-Saharan African population remained poor laborers, suggesting nascent racial, ethnic, or geographic hierarchies  (McDougall, A History of Algeria, 30-31).

[35] M’hamed Oualdi, “Mamluks in Ottoman Tunisia: A Category Connecting State and Social Forces,” International Journal of Middle East Studies 48, no. 3 (August 2016): 473–90,; Hathaway, The Politics of Households in Ottoman Egypt. Officials in Egypt and Tunisia used the term “mamluk” more frequently than did writers in Algeria. European authors employed the term “renegades,” while the Arabic term most often seen in Algeria was “‘uluj” (singular: ‘ilj).

[36] Shuval, “Households,” 46.

[37] Mercier, Histoire de Constantine, 245.

[38] A man’s prior experience and kinship connections with local Algerians are statistically significant factors in his ability to retain office as a governor in Constantine between 1567 and 1837. Although ethnicity is not a statistically significant factor in a man’s length of tenure, it is a qualitatively important factor that emerges through close reading the source materials. I did not create a data category for a man’s ability to bridge local and imperial interests and therefore did not run statistical tests on this characteristic, but, like ethnicity, its importance emerged from close reading and comparing the biographies of the Constantinian governors over time.  Statistical significance in this case was calculated using Fisher’s Exact Test on 2×2 contingency matrices and a p-value of 0.05.

[39] Mercier, Histoire de Constantine, 266–68; Vayssettes, Histoire de Constantine Sous La Domination Turque de 1517 à 1837, 117–18. 

[40] Mercier, Histoire de Constantine, 266–67; Allan Christelow, Algerians without Borders: The Making of a Global Frontier Society (Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2012), 39; Temimi, Le Beylik De Constantine Et Hadj `Ahmed Bey (1830-1837), 1:60. Ahmed Bey also played match maker for his sister-in-law, Mebarka, who wed Farhate, nephew of the Sheikh-al-Arab Ali Bou Akkaz , demonstrating that he had earned the trust of both Algerian elite families involved. (Mercier, 267)

[41] Vayssettes, Histoire de Constantine Sous La Domination Turque de 1517 à 1837, 117.

[42] Mercier, Histoire de Constantine, 270; Jean-Pierre Bonnafont, Réflexions Sur l’Algérie, Particulièrement Sur La Province de Constantine : Sur l’origine de Cette Ville et Les Beys Qui y Ont Régné Depuis l’an de l’égire 1133 (1710) Jusqu’en 1253 (1837) 1846, 43,

[43] Vayssettes and Rebahi, Histoire des derniers beys de Constantine, 171–74; Gaïd, Chronique des beys de Constantine, 56; Mercier, Histoire de Constantine, 320–28.

[44] Gaïd, Chronique des beys de Constantine, 56; Vayssettes and Rebahi, Histoire des derniers beys de Constantine, 171.

[45] Gaïd, Chronique des beys de Constantine, 56.

[46] Gaïd, 57–59; Vayssettes and Rebahi, Histoire des derniers beys de Constantine, 65–69; Mercier, Histoire de Constantine, 322–28.

[47] Garcia, “Governors of Ottoman Constantine, Algeria, 1567-1837.”

[48] Eleni Gara, “Moneylends and Landowners: In Search of Urban Muslim Elites in the Early Modern Balkans,” in Provincial Elites in the Ottoman Empire (Halcyon Days in Crete V, Crete, Greece: Crete University Press, 2003), 136. Gara describes a similar phenomenon in the sixteenth- and seventeenth- century Balkans; McDougall, A History of Algeria, 38–39; Mercier, Histoire de Constantine.

[49] Vayssettes, Histoire de Constantine Sous La Domination Turque de 1517 à 1837, 88; Mercier, Histoire de Constantine, 235.

[50] Salih Ibn Muhammad Al-Antari, Faridah manisah fi hal dkhul al-Turk balad Qusantina wa-istila ihim ala awtanihima, aw, Tarikh Qusantinah. Edited by Yahya Bu’ Aziz. Diwan al-Matbu`at al-Jami`iyyah, 1991.

[51] Vayssettes, Histoire de Constantine Sous La Domination Turque de 1517 à 1837, 88; Mercier, Histoire de Constantine, 235.

[52] Mercier, Histoire de Constantine, 237–38. For more details see the data set: Garcia, “Governors of Ottoman Constantine, Algeria, 1567-1837.”

[53] Gaïd, Chronique des beys de Constantine, 54–56. A person who held the position of chaouch was an official in the Ottoman administration charged with carrying out procedural acts and executing decisions related to matters of justice, including, in this case, death sentences (Dictionnaire de l’Académie française, 4th Edition [Paris, 1762],

[54] Garcia, “Governors of Ottoman Constantine, Algeria, 1567-1837.”

[55] Miriam Hoexter, Endowments, Rulers and Community: Waqf al-Ḥaramayn in Ottoman Algiers, Studies in Islamic Law and Society, v. 6 (Boston: Brill, 1998), 131–32; Gaïd, Chronique des beys de Constantine, 22–23; Mercier, Histoire de Constantine, 231–32; Vayssettes, Histoire de Constantine Sous La Domination Turque de 1517 à 1837, 84–85; Ṣāliḥ Ibn Muḥammad Al-ʿAntarī, Farīdah manīsah [sic] fī ḥāl dukhūl al-Turk balad Qusanṭīnah wa-istīlāʾihim ʻalā awṭānihimā, aw, Tāʾrīkh Qusanṭīnah, ed. Yaḥyā Bū ʿAzīz (Algeria: Dīwān al-Maṭbūʿāt al-Jāmiʿiyyah, 1991), 48. Féraud, “Les Ben-Djellab,” Revue africaine, (1879), p. 351. Part of the Dar Aziza palace still stands in Algiers today, as a testament to Aziza’s real and symbolic importance.

[56] Lucette Valensi, On the Eve of Colonialism: North Africa Before the French Conquest (New York: Africana Pub. Co, 1977).

[57] Vayssettes, Histoire de Constantine Sous La Domination Turque de 1517 à 1837, 88, 207; Gaïd, Chronique des beys de Constantine, 75. As examples, see the case of Abd-el-Rahman, described above, and Kara Mustafa (r. 1818-1818); Garcia, “Governors of Ottoman Constantine, Algeria, 1567-1837.”

[58] The Dey in Algiers at this time was Mustapha VI ben Ibrahim (r. 1799-1805).

[59] Vayssettes and Rebahi, Histoire des derniers beys de Constantine, 46–50; Gaïd, Chronique des beys de Constantine, 50–51, 55.

[60] Only Jews occupied the middle space to serve as intermediaries between Ottoman Regency and foreign powers because there were really no Christians to compete for these positions.

[61] Vayssettes and Rebahi, Histoire des derniers beys de Constantine, 94–96.

[62] Mercier, Histoire de Constantine, 336–37; Vayssettes and Rebahi, Histoire des derniers beys de Constantine, 97.

[63] There were twice as many Kuluğhlu governors as Algerians.

[64] Thomas Shaw, Travels, or Observations Relating to Several Parts of Barbary and the Levant (Oxford: Printed at the Theatre, 1738), 313.

[65] Shuval, “Cezayir-i Garp.” Shaw, Travels, or Observations Relating to Several Parts of Barbary and the Levant, 313.

[66] Arvieux, Mémoires du chevalier d’Arvieux, 5:251.

[67] Shaw, Travels, or Observations Relating to Several Parts of Barbary and the Levant, 313; Peta Rée, “Shaw, Thomas (1694–1751),” in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, 2004, DOI: 10.1093/ref:odnb/25269.

[68] Shuval, 333.

[69] Kunt, The Sultan’s Servants.

[70] Grangaud, La Ville Imprenable.

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