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La ville arabe, Alep, à l’époque ottomane

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André Raymond

The population of Aleppo in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries according to Ottoman census documents

Note de l’éditeur

Extrait de: International Journal of Middle East Studies, 16, 1984, p. 447-460.

Texte intégral

I. Introduction

1 1. 1. Among the most obscure aspects of the past of Arab towns, that of the number of their population at different periods of their history must be mentioned. A better knowledge of their demography would no doubt bring more accurate answers to the main problems of urban evolution (expansion or decline, prosperity or decadence) as, through lack of well-founded figures, they have often been resolved by authors from general impressions or even from a priori attitudes. The first really serious statistics go no earlier than the end of the eighteenth century ( Description de I’Egypte ) for Cairo. For earlier periods, the only available sources for a long time were the evaluations provided by chronicles or travel accounts which proposed more or less fanciful and often divergent figures, the more reasonable evaluations often being a question of chance, or being considered so only because they confirmed the users’ prejudices.

  • 1 Örner Lutfî Harkan. “Les grands recensements de la population et du territoire de l’Empire Ottoman, (...)

2 Decisive progress was made in this domain since Ömer Lutfi Barkan initiated the utilization of censuses that were carried out in the provinces of the empire by the Ottomans, whose reputation as exact administrators (at least for the time) is further confirmed as use of their archives progresses. 1

  • 2 See, for instance, for Damascus, Adnan Bakhit, The Ottoman Provin (...)

3 1.2. Census documents found for a certain number of Arab towns thus constitute a fundamental source and are at the origin of ever more numerous and more precise works. 2 Their use, unfortunately, comes up against a certain number of difficulties:

  • 3 See Irène Beldiceanu-Steinherr and N. Beldiceanu, “Règlement ottoman concernant le recensement (pre (...)

in spite of the obvious care that was taken in these operations,3 the reliability of the censuses, the aim of which was mainly fiscal, is not always certain with regard to a demographic study, and comparisons of successive censuses often reveal profound discrepancies or differences;

in the towns, these censuses were generally carried out by quarters (hâra, maḥalla), which were administrative units of not absolute stability and of often uncertain geographical limits;

  • 4 Bernard Lewis, “Ottoman Archives as a Source for the History of the Arab Lands,” in Studies in Clas (...)
  • 5 W. D. Hütteroth and K. Abdulfattah, Historical Geography of Palestine (Erlangen, 1977), p. 36 menti (...)

the censuses were generally carried out using different units, the demographic significance of which is not always clear: usually khana (household, or feu), mujarrad (bachelors), and various categories of exempts such as imâm, sharîf, etc.4 It is therefore difficult to suggest a “multiplier” that would transform these units into numbers of population: the importance of the khâna, for example, is diversely evaluated by many authors and no estimation is ever really well argued.5

4Finally, as regards Arab towns, the censuses that have been found and studied concern only the sixteenth century, which rules out a comparison that would enable any long-term evolution to be defined.

5 1.3. From various points of view however, the town of Aleppo presents a particularly favorable case. A whole series of censuses, based on the population of the quarters from the sixteenth to the end of the nineteenth century is available for this town:

  • 6 I could study them from the microfilms gathered in the Centre for Historical Research of the Univer (...)

two Ottoman documents dating from the sixteenth century, tapu defteri 397 (v. 944/ 1537-1538) and tapu 610 (992/1584), registered at the Başvekalet arşiv daīresi archives in Istanbul, that give the count for 72 and 73 quarters.6

  • 7 D'Arvieux, Mémoires vol. VI, pp. 434-437.

a count concerning 74 quarters, reproduced by the French traveller d’Arvieux in 1683. Its origins are not mentioned but it is so precise, and its contents are in such accordance with tapu information, that it must have been based on an official document of the time.7

  • 8 Kāmil al-Ghazzî, Kitâb Nahr al-Dhahab vol. II (Aleppo, 1342 H/1923-1924).

a count of the population of Aleppo carried out, quarter by quarter, in the work of Kâmil al-Ghazzi (Nahr al-dhahab), printed in 1342 H/1923-1924, that gives the state of the town of Aleppo at the turn of the twentieth century, before its modernization (97 quarters for the historical part of the city).8

  • 9 Jean Sauvaget, Alep (Paris, 1941), pp. 225, 226, 230.

6In his book on Aleppo, J. Sauvaget, who was acquainted with the Ottoman documents, thanks to Ö. L. Barkan, had noted their interest and had used them, making a partial comparison with d’Arvieux’s figures, but not attempting, however, to make a global evaluation.9 It seemed to me that it would be profitable to compare the information contained in these three series of documents, which, the fact is worth mentioning, represent a complete selection of the sources generally available for research into the history of the Arab world in modern times: archive documents, Arab sources, information given by travellers.

7 No doubt great difficulties stand in the way of the use of these documents:

previously mentioned uncertainties about the units employed in the Ottoman documents;

the identification of the quarters;

the belated character of the count carried out by Ghazzî at a time when Aleppo had extended well beyond the limits of the historic town.

8But I believe that resorting simultaneously to the three types of documents may bring an acceptable solution to a certain number of these problems and thereby make it possible to evaluate the population of Aleppo, its distribution, and its evolution in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.

2. The interpretation of the sources

9 2.1. The present study is intentionally limited to a survey of the population of Aleppo: it does not, therefore, deal with the questions of the role of the quarters in the town structure and of their actual organization. It is carried out within the framework of the built-up area of Aleppo at the beginning of the nineteenth century as it was defined by Sauvaget in his plan. We will moreover study this population within the great regions into which we may divide the town of Aleppo:

the intramural town, constituted, as early on as the Mameluk era, within limits that were more or less definite;

the north suburbs, up to Bab al-Hadîd (J 23);

the east suburbs;

the south suburbs (from Ma‘âdî, X 17, to Kallâsa, U 6);

  • 10 The letters and numbers refer to the grid of the maps which accompany this article.

the west suburbs (see Map l).10

Map I. Aleppo during the Ottoman period

Map I. Aleppo during the Ottoman period

10 2.2. In our documents, the geographical unit is the quarter (ma alla) which formed in Aleppo, as in all Arab towns, the fundamental human and administrative cell. It constitutes the framework of the Ottoman censuses, as well as that of d’Arvieux; it is also that of Ghazzi’s description of the town.

11 2.2.1. By using Ghazzi’s work, the large modern maps of Aleppo, and the archive documents of the Ma kama, it was possible to identify and locate most of the quarters mentioned.

12 The difficulties that arose, due to changes in the designation of the quarters, were generally quite easily solved, as were those presented by the changes that had occurred in their delimitation, or were due to the regrouping of neighbouring quarters in new units or to the division of others into smaller units.

13These changes explain the “disappearance” of certain quarters from one census to the other or the appearance of “new” quarters. To confine ourselves to the most stable region, because it was earliest to be built, that of the intramural town, we can note, for example: the disappearance of Farâfira (in L 17) (mentioned in 1537 and 1584) in d’Arvieux’s list, which no doubt incorporated it into Bandara (J 15); the change from the appellation of Ughulbak (O 23) (1537 and 1584) to that of Bab al-Amar (d’Arvieux); the splitting-up of Jallum (Q 11) (1537 and 1584) into Jallum al-kabîr and Jallûm al-aghîr (d’Arvieux). These changes were particularly numerous in the suburbs, where new quarters thus appeared, from one census to another, in more recently urbanized zones. Insofar as our aim is not to study the quarters themselves, but to make a general survey, these changes on the whole were not troublesome.

  • 11 J. Sauvaget (Alep, p. 225) remarks that “les toponymes étant parfois transcrits d'une manière telle (...)

142.2.2. The problems posed by the identification of the quarters were more difficult to resolve. Reading the two lists of tapu documents revealed the sort of difficulties usually present in this type of document. But d’Arvieux’s list often proved to be enigmatic, the toponymes being so deformed that they sometimes appeared unidentifiable.11 If Bâb al-Amar (P 22) can be read in “Bâb al-Hamenac,” Farrâ’în (IJ 27-28) in “Harat al-Faaon,” Qawânia (K 4) in “Cannansa,” Abd al-ayy (E 15) in “Harat Eben Aayt,” al-Yahûd (J 13) in “Yudiam,” and so on, other identifications are quite hypothetical, though the more or less geographical classification of d’Arvieux’s quarters did help resolve a few of the more tricky problems. But I admit that some of the readings are rather hazardous: Qasal Jûra (I 21) for “Kassangié,” Shaīkh Arabî (G 23) for “Chiex Aarati,” Ariyân (I 22) for “Sarriyn,” etc. With these reservations I could identify and localize 72 of the 74 quarters mentioned by d’Arvieux.

  • 12 According to a document which was communicated to me by M. Jean-Pierre Thieck, this maḥalla could h (...)

15A few maalla have not, however, been identified or located. They vary from one list to another. The most noticeable cases concern the Zâwiya quarter, mentioned in the two tapu documents, and d’Arvieux’s “al-Haggiag” quarter, that is also to be found in the list of Ibn al-Shina and in the documents of the Ma-kama (ajjaj).12

16 2.2.3. On the whole, however, I hope to have solved the essential of this type of problem; the 63 ma alla identified and located (out of 72) in the tapu document 397 concern 9,583 census units out of a total of 10,270 (that is to say 93%); the 68 ma alla located (out of 73) in the tapu document 610 concern 9,049 out of 9,361 (97%); finally, the 72 quarters located in d’Arvieux’s list (out of 74) concern 13,854 units out of a total of 14,146 (a proportion of 98%). We thus have at our disposal nearly complete lists of the quarters of Aleppo in 1537, 1584, and 1683.

17 2.3 The demographic interpretation of the data provided by our documents, on the other hand, proves to be more difficult, given the variety of the census units.

  • 13 These percentages are calculated in reference to the sum of the various census units, which is slig (...)

182.3.1. I mentioned above that the two tapu documents divide the population to be counted into khâna (household, feu), into mujarrad (bachelors), into imâm, and into sharîf. In the 1537 document, the khâna are by far the most numerous (86% of the total), as compared to 10.7% for the mujarrad, 2.6% for the imâm, and 0.6% for various others (sharîf, etc.).13 D’Arvieux’s count mentions “doors or houses” and also includes mosques, khans, “caisseries” (lodging for foreigners), public baths, ovens, and more. But the count lists separately 777 “public houses and buildings,” so that the total figure and the detail, quarter by quarter, seem to truly correspond to the number of “houses.” Finally, Ghazzî gives a census, quarter by quarter, of the houses (huyût) and records the number of individuals living in them.

19 2.3.2. This disparity in the census units does not, however, pose an insoluble problem in their use and comparison between one list and another.

  • 14 This is an application of a principle enunciated by Ferdinand Lot for medieval towns, a principle w (...)

20 I consider as reasonable the proposition that, in the old quarters of historic towns, and in particular in the central areas, the basic demographic conditions have remained relatively stable between the end of the Middle Ages and the beginning of the modern era. A study of the region of Qâhira (in Cairo) from the Mameluk era to modern times led me to a similar conclusion. 14 One can thus suppose, roughly, that the intramural zone of Aleppo had reached, prior even to 1516, a demographic balance that was hardly modified afterwards until the nineteenth century. For that reason its population must have varied little, apart from a few minor changes in the built-up surface area, or temporary modifications, following demographic disasters such as epidemics or famines, or political catastrophes such as civil wars. The successive maps of Aleppo drawn up by Sauvaget seem to lead to this very conclusion.

  • 15 W. D. Hütteroth and K. Abdulfattah, Historical Geography, 36.

21If one accepts the hypothesis that the different categories of census subjects mentioned in the tapu documents constitute units that can be totalized, as Barkan and Hütteroth and Abdulfattah actually do for the khâna and the mujarrad (representing, as we have seen, 96.7% of the total of the census units mentioned in 1537)15 this results in the numbers presented in Table 1 for the intramural part of Aleppo.

Table 1. Total number of quarters and census units in intramural Aleppo

Table 1. Total number of quarters and census units in intramural Aleppo

aGhazzi has omitted to give the number of houses in the maalla of Suwayqa âtim (N 13), but estimates its population to be 841 persons. I supposed that, in this case, there was an average of 7.4 people per house, as in the neighbouring quarters of Jallûm (Q 11), Suwayqa ‘Ali (M 15), and Jub Asadallah (N 11). Thus, the number of houses in Suwayqa âtim would have been 113.

  • 16 The important drop in the number of housing units mentioned by Ghazzi for the intra muros city towa (...)

22 Even more so than the number of quarters (which can be modified by “administrative” decisions), the number of “census units” is so remarkably constant from 1537 to 1900 that one cannot envisage this stability as pure coincidence. Indeed the census units of the tapu documents (whatever their diversity) seem to correspond to d’Arvieux’s “houses” and Ghazzi’s “ buyût. ” And the near perfect stability of the number of “housing units” around 5,000 is in the image of the probable stability of the population of the intramural zone during more than three centuries. 16

23 One can thus consider that in all four cases we deal with “housing units” (households, feux ) , the evolution of which can be compared from one census to another. And one can also conclude that d’Arvieux reproduced an Ottoman census comparable to those of 1537 and 1584, in which the different categories of census subjects were totalized.

24 2.3.3. Is it possible, when starting from these “housing units,” to formulate hypotheses on their demographic significance? This amounts to again raising the problem of the “multiplier” enabling one to pass from an evaluation in “households” (feux) to an evaluation in inhabitants.

  • 17 For the whole historic city Ghazzis census gives an average of 8.4 (100,224 inhabitants for 11.958 (...)

25On this point, it seems to me legitimate to use the data supplied by Ghazzî’s census, insofar, as we have seen, as one supposes that the demographic structure of the urban centre remained fairly constant between the sixteenth century and the end of the nineteenth century in Aleppo as in most of the historic cities of the Arab world. Ghazzî gives, for 4,558 buyût in the intramural town, a population of 37,319 individuals, that is to say a “multiplier” of 8.2. I propose to apply this “coefficient” (rounded off to 8) to the numbers of housing units available for the sixteenth and the seventeenth centuries.17 It is much higher than the figures usually put forward, situated between 5 and 7. It appears more reasonable, however, if one considers the average size of “families” in traditional near eastern society (since they included not only children, but persons attached to them, such as servants and slaves).

26 I do not deny that this hypothesis is highly conjectural: I will therefore mainly use “housing unit” figures, which are less questionable and make it possible to establish reflections on demographic changes on a fairly sound basis without, however, refraining from mentioning numbers of inhabitants in order to give a more concrete illustration of these changes.

3. The population of Aleppo in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries

27It is now possible to propose, period by period, evaluations of the global population of Aleppo and its distribution in the different areas of the city.

28 3.1. The earliest evaluation available is that of the tapu document 397 (around 944/1537-1538).

29The document gives us a list of 70 maalla and two jamâa (areas not constituted into quarters), including a group of eight zuqâq and one jamâa joined together in a maalla known as Daqâshir, formed, perhaps recently, in the region situated to the north of Bâb al-Nar (16): a total of 10,270 housing units.

30Out of this total it was possible to locate 63 quarters which represent 93% of the total “housing units” mentioned. The identification of the unlocated quarters is therefore not likely to modify our conclusions: the most important deficiencies concern the Zâwiya (80 units) and Qibliyya (148) maḥalla, that we were unable to locate.

31In these 72 maḥalla and jamâ‘a, there is an average of 145 housing units by quarter. The more important quarters are the Jallûm, which includes 688 units (Q 11), followed by Jub Asadallah, 395 units (N 11).

Table 2. Distribution of quarters and housing units in 1537-1538

Table 2. Distribution of quarters and housing units in 1537-1538

32The distribution of the 63 located quarters and of the corresponding housing units may be summed up as shown in Table 2. (See Map 2 for the location of the population.)

Map 2. Aleppo. Population of the maḥalla (1537)

Map 2. Aleppo. Population of the maḥalla (1537)

33Eight being taken as a “multiplier,” the total number of the population, in 1537, for 10,270 housing units, could be estimated at 80,000 inhabitants. The distribution of this population would appear to have been as follows: in the intramural town, a little more than half (42,500 inhabitants); in each of the north and east suburbs, about one-fifth, that is to say approximately 16,000 inhabitants.

34 3.2 . The census of 992/1584 ( tapu document 610), obviously carried out on bases very similar to that of 1537, gives fairly comparable results.

35It deals with 73 quarters (9,361 housing units), one of which (maḥalla Khârij/ outside Bab al-Nar), subdivided into 21 groups (zuqâq and jamâa), corresponds to the Daqâshir maḥalla of the previous document (I 16-17).

36Out of this total, it was possible to identify and locate 68 quarters (and 97% of the housing units): the listing order is not very strict, as in the tapu document 397, but the disorder is also very different, which makes it impossible to identify toponyms through comparison between the two lists. The most notable lacuna again concerns the Zâwiya quarter (74 units).

37 From the data presented in Table 3, one can propose an evaluation of the population: approximately 75,000 inhabitants, including about 42,000 for the intramural city and 33,000 for the total of the suburbs.

Table 3. Distribution of quarters and housing units in 1584

Table 3. Distribution of quarters and housing units in 1584

38These figures, and the organization of the quarters, are in marked continuity with the 1537-1538 census: the population of the intramural city is absolutely stable (5,021 housing units as against 5,012), but there is, however, a notable drop in the total population (nearly 10%).

39 3.3. The census mentioned by d’Arvieux, exactly a century later (1683), reveals, on the contrary, highly significant changes in the demographic structure of the city.

40 D’Arvieux mentions 74 quarters, 72 of which (98% of the census units) have been identified and located.

41The most important quarters mentioned by d’Arvieux are the Jallûm (Q 11) divided into two maḥalla, Jallum al-kabîr (542 units) and Jallum al-aghîr (167), and the Basita (I 11) (477 units) and the âa Biza quarters (U 15) (421 units).

42The distribution of the quarters and of the population are presented in Table 4. These figures make it possible to evaluate the population of Aleppo towards 1683 at a little less than 115,000 inhabitants: a little more than one-third of the total seems to have lived in the intramural town (42,000), and approximately one quarter in each of the north and south suburbs (28,000 inhabitants). (See Map 3.)

Map 3. Aleppo. Population of the maḥallas (1683)

Map 3. Aleppo. Population of the maḥallas (1683)

Table 4. Distribution of quarters and housing units in 1683

Table 4. Distribution of quarters and housing units in 1683

4. Main features of the evolution of the population of Aleppo in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries

43 4.1. One of the most striking characteristics of the demographic evolution of Aleppo during the first two centuries of Ottoman rule is the stability of the organization of the town in maḥalla.

Table 5. Distribution of quarters in 1537, 1584, and 1683

Table 5. Distribution of quarters in 1537, 1584, and 1683
  • 18 J. Sauvaget, Perles choisies, pp. 184-187.

44Between 1537 and 1683 the total number of quarters passed from 72 (1537) to 73 (1584) and 74 (1683). The distribution of these quarters as shown in Table 5 in the main regions of the town also varied but little. It is likely that the situation was notably different during the Mameluk era: the list of quarters given by Ibn al-Shina (ca 1450) comprises 39 quarters in the intramural town and 14 quarters in the suburbs, that is to say, proportions of 73.6 and 26.4%.18 If this list is to be considered wholly significant, it was during the first decades of the century, immediately after the Ottoman conquest (1516), that the structure of quarters underwent deep changes, with a noticeable drop in the number of maḥalla in the intramural town and a marked increase in their number in the suburbs.

  • 19 But a maḥalla al-Yahûd already existed in Aleppo: it is mentioned in 1554 in the daftar Aleppo numb (...)

45In detail, several changes seem particularly worth noting: the appearance of a jamaa Yahud (J 13) in 1584;19 the appearance of Dabbagha al-Atiqa (“The Old Tanneries”) (L 13) in 1683, a result of the substitution of a residential quarter for the industrial quarter of the Tanneries, transferred to the west of the town (in O 6), shortly before 1574, an urban event the consequence of which was the urbanization of the region of Jisr al-Salâif (N 7), which is mentioned as a quarter in 1584; the division of Jallûm (Q 11) into two quarters (Jallûm al-kabîr and Jallûm al-aghîr) (1683); the appearance, in 1683, of eight new quarters on the west and northwest outskirts of the northern suburbs – Judaīda (around F 12), Tumâyât (E 12), Zuqâq al-khall, Zuqâq Arbaîn and Kanîsa (around D 14), Abd al-ayy (E 15), Basâtina (D 18), Qasal aramî (C 19), an obvious consequence of the rapid development of the Christian suburb in the sixteenth and in the seventeenth centuries.

46 4.2. If the organization into quarters appears rather conservative (quite normally, since institutions evolve but slowly, and follow with some delay the urban transformations), during the same period the demographic structure of Aleppo underwent profound changes that are apparent in the housing unit figures that we were able to compare.

  • 20 See André Raymond, “The Ottoman Conquest and the Development of the Great Arab Towns,Internationa (...)
  • 21 Antoine Abdel Nour, Introduction à l’histoire urbaine, p. 72.

474.2.1. The most striking characteristic of this demographic evolution is the global increase of the population of Aleppo between 1537 (10,270 housing units) and 1683 (14,146), that is to say, a progress of nearly 40%. Insofar as one can translate these housing units into numbers of inhabitants, it seems that the population increased from some 80,000 inhabitants (in 1537) to approximately 115,000 (in 1683). Let us notice that this increase corresponds to what we know of the evolution of the built-up surface area of Aleppo, which Sauvaget’s work makes it possible to estimate at approximately 50% between 1516 (238.5 ha) and the beginning of the nineteenth century (349 ha).20 Using fairly hypothetical data, A. Abdel Nour suggests a comparable increase between 1516 (60,000 inhabitants) and the beginning of the eighteenth century (80 to 85,000) (that is to say, + 37.5%).21

48We should point out, however, that this global development, over a century and a half, was no doubt irregular. There were, during this long span of time, alternating periods of demographic growth and decline. We can assume that the years 1516-1537 were a period of strong growth, as seems obvious from the comparison between the number of suburban quarters in Ibn al-Shina (14 quarters) and in the 1537 census (41 quarters). The figures for 1584 show a temporary settling in comparison with 1537 (roughly 10%). Last, the period 1584-1683 was marked by a resumption of demographic progress.

49 4.2.2. Just as significant was the upheaval in the distribution of the population within the town between the beginning of the sixteenth century and the end of the seventeenth century.

50The stability of the intramural town is striking: 22, then 23, then 24 maḥalla; 5,102, 5,021, then 5,111 household units (in 1537, 1584, and 1683 respectively); a population that remained constant at approximately 40,000 inhabitants. This confirms the comments already made on the demographic stability of the central quarters. The point of equilibrium had no doubt been reached as early as the Mameluk era, and was to be kept, with few changes, until the end of the nineteenth century: Ghazzî mentions 28 quarters, for 4,558 houses and 37,319 inhabitants. But, due to the global growth of the town, the part represented by the intramural zone in the total population of Aleppo fell from the sixteenth century (53.2% in 1537 and 55.5% in 1584) to the seventeenth century (36.9% in 1683), after which it seems to have been fairly constant until the end of the nineteenth century (38.1% according to Ghazzî).

51 4.2.3. The great demographic change that occurred from the sixteenth to the seventeenth century is of course the very rapid development of the town suburbs: their part in the total population rose from a little less than half (46.8% in 1537 and 44.5% in 1584) to nearly two-thirds (63.1% in 1683), a proportion that is preserved in Ghazzî’s census (61.9%). A comparison of the housing unit figures shows that the population of the suburbs as a whole actually doubled: 4,481 in 1537 (4,028 in 1584), 8,743 in 1683 (and 7,400, according to Ghazzî), that is to say, approximately 36,000 inhabitants in 1537 and 70,000 in 1683.

Table 6. Average number of housing units per quarter in 1537, 1584, and 1683

Table 6. Average number of housing units per quarter in 1537, 1584, and 1683
  • 22 J. Sauvaget, Alep, pp. 223-226, 228-231, and maps LXII and LXX. See also Raymond, “The Ottoman Conq (...)

52This massive increase seems to have been fairly equally distributed between the two great north and east suburbs. Between 1537 and 1683 the north suburb rose from 2,027 housing units to 3,689 (+ 82%) and the east suburb from 1,883 to 3,446 (+ 83%); the percentages of increase being remarkably similar in both cases. The development of the west suburb was even more considerable, from 317 units to 952 (+ 200%), but this suburb was of a very small demographic importance in comparison with the two great northern and eastern suburbs, each of which held approximately a quarter of the population of Aleppo in 1683, a proportion that remained steady until the end of the nineteenth century (24.5 and 27.6%, according to Ghazzî). This demographic evolution of the suburbs confirms Sauvaget’s observations on the development of Aleppo during the Ottoman era.22

53The growth of the suburbs was marked by the creation of new quarters. The absence of census in the time of the conquest forbids us to be more specific about a movement which was certainly very important during the two decades following 1516 (as we have noticed earlier). The comparison between the lists of quarters of 1537 and 1584 and that of 1683 seems to show that this period was also marked by the creation of new quarters, especially in the north suburb, of which we have mentioned eight, but also to the west of the town (three quarters in 1537, five in 1683).

54But this development of the suburbs was also due to the progressive peopling of the quarters between the sixteenth and the seventeenth centuries. On this point, a comparison of the average number of housing units per quarter, as shown in Table 6, seems quite enlightening. These figures indicate that the average population per quarter in the north and east suburbs, at first lower by more than half that in the intramural town quarters, as would seem normal in recently populated zones, reached a comparable level in 1683, which obviously indicates a progressive rise of population density in these suburban quarters.

Notes

1 Örner Lutfî Harkan. “Les grands recensements de la population et du territoire de l’Empire Ottoman,” in Revue de la Faculté des sciences économiques de l’Université d’Istanbul, 1940.

2 See, for instance, for Damascus, Adnan Bakhit, The Ottoman Province of Damascus in the Sixteenth Century (Beyrouth, 1982); and Jean-Paul Pascual, Damas à la fin du XVI e   siècle (Damascus, 1983).

3 See Irène Beldiceanu-Steinherr and N. Beldiceanu, “Règlement ottoman concernant le recensement (première moitié du XVIe siècle),” in Südost-Forschungen XXXVII, 1978.

4 Bernard Lewis, “Ottoman Archives as a Source for the History of the Arab Lands,” in Studies in Classical and Ottoman Islam (London, 1976), pp. 146-147. Also Amnon Cohen and Bernard Lewis, Population and Revenue in the Towns of Palestine in the Sixteenth Century (Princeton, 1978), pp. 14-16.

5 W. D. Hütteroth and K. Abdulfattah, Historical Geography of Palestine (Erlangen, 1977), p. 36 mention the suggestions of Barkan (5), Lewis (5 to 7), Cook (4, 5 for the khâna, 3 for the mujarrad) and they themselves propose 5 for the addition of the khâna and the mujarrad.

6 I could study them from the microfilms gathered in the Centre for Historical Research of the University of Ammân, thanks to the amicable cooperation of Professor A. Bakhit, to whom I am happy to express my deep gratitude. On these documents see Lewis, “Ottoman Archives,” p. 150. Lewis dates the daftar 397 “circa 944/1537-1538.”

7 D'Arvieux, Mémoires vol. VI, pp. 434-437.

8 Kāmil al-Ghazzî, Kitâb Nahr al-Dhahab vol. II (Aleppo, 1342 H/1923-1924).

9 Jean Sauvaget, Alep (Paris, 1941), pp. 225, 226, 230.

10 The letters and numbers refer to the grid of the maps which accompany this article.

11 J. Sauvaget (Alep, p. 225) remarks that “les toponymes étant parfois transcrits d'une manière telle qu'ils demeurent méconnaissables, on ne peut procéder à une confrontation pour chacun des quartiers de la ville.”

12 According to a document which was communicated to me by M. Jean-Pierre Thieck, this maḥalla could have been located in the east suburb, around M 25 (Awāmir al-Sultâniyya [National Archives of Damascus, 1156/1743], Aleppo, IV, p. 217, n. 448). I did not take it into consideration in my study. This maḥalla is mentioned in Ibn Shinas list, among the extra muros quarters of Aleppo (Jean Sauvaget, Les perles choisies dIbn ach-Chihna [Beyrouth, 1933], pp. 184-187).

13 These percentages are calculated in reference to the sum of the various census units, which is slightly different from the general total.

14 This is an application of a principle enunciated by Ferdinand Lot for medieval towns, a principle which, in my opinion, does not justify the skepticism of Alexandre Lézine, Deux villes dlfriqiya (Paris, 1971), p. 17, and Antoine Abdel Nour, Introduction à l’Histoire urbaine de la Syrie Ottomane (Beyrouth, 1982), p. 52. About Qâhira see my paper given at the Symposium of Washington on the Mamluks (to be published in Muqarnas 2).

15 W. D. Hütteroth and K. Abdulfattah, Historical Geography, 36.

16 The important drop in the number of housing units mentioned by Ghazzi for the intra muros city towards the end of the nineteenth century can be explained by various reasons: diminution of the built-up area which is mentioned in Sauvagets map LXX, north of the Citadel; consequences of the disasters of the beginning of the nineteenth century (earthquake of 1822, revolt and siege of Aleppo in 1819-1820) which resulted in severe destruction and in the abandonment of vast areas, especially in the south of the Citadel; beginning of the emigration movement of the population from the old city to the newly built quarters in the west.

17 For the whole historic city Ghazzis census gives an average of 8.4 (100,224 inhabitants for 11.958 buvût).

18 J. Sauvaget, Perles choisies, pp. 184-187.

19 But a maḥalla al-Yahûd already existed in Aleppo: it is mentioned in 1554 in the daftar Aleppo number I, p. 158 (National Archives of Damascus).

20 See André Raymond, “The Ottoman Conquest and the Development of the Great Arab Towns,International Journal of Turkish Studies, 1:1, 1980, pp. 94-95.

21 Antoine Abdel Nour, Introduction à l’histoire urbaine, p. 72.

22 J. Sauvaget, Alep, pp. 223-226, 228-231, and maps LXII and LXX. See also Raymond, “The Ottoman Conquest.”

Table des illustrations

Titre Map I. Aleppo during the Ottoman period
URL http://books.openedition.org/ifpo/docannexe/image/1668/img-1.png
Fichier image/png, 541k
Titre Table 1. Total number of quarters and census units in intramural Aleppo
Légende a Ghazzi has omitted to give the number of houses in the maḥalla of Suwayqa Ḥâtim (N 13), but estimates its population to be 841 persons. I supposed that, in this case, there was an average of 7.4 people per house, as in the neighbouring quarters of Jallûm (Q 11), Suwayqa ‘Ali (M 15), and Jub Asadallah (N 11). Thus, the number of houses in Suwayqa Ḥâtim would have been 113.
URL http://books.openedition.org/ifpo/docannexe/image/1668/img-2.png
Fichier image/png, 23k
Titre Table 2. Distribution of quarters and housing units in 1537-1538
URL http://books.openedition.org/ifpo/docannexe/image/1668/img-3.png
Fichier image/png, 54k
Titre Map 2. Aleppo. Population of the maḥalla (1537)
URL http://books.openedition.org/ifpo/docannexe/image/1668/img-4.png
Fichier image/png, 469k
Titre Table 3. Distribution of quarters and housing units in 1584
URL http://books.openedition.org/ifpo/docannexe/image/1668/img-5.png
Fichier image/png, 56k
Titre Map 3. Aleppo. Population of the maḥallas (1683)
URL http://books.openedition.org/ifpo/docannexe/image/1668/img-6.png
Fichier image/png, 456k
Titre Table 4. Distribution of quarters and housing units in 1683
URL http://books.openedition.org/ifpo/docannexe/image/1668/img-7.png
Fichier image/png, 56k
Titre Table 5. Distribution of quarters in 1537, 1584, and 1683
URL http://books.openedition.org/ifpo/docannexe/image/1668/img-8.png
Fichier image/png, 33k
Titre Table 6. Average number of housing units per quarter in 1537, 1584, and 1683
URL http://books.openedition.org/ifpo/docannexe/image/1668/img-9.png
Fichier image/png, 25k

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