chapter  11
12 Pages

Ethnicity, race, religion and social class: Ottoman markers of difference: Baki Tezcan

More than thirty five modern nations, from Slovakia and Ukraine in the north to Eritrea and Yemen in the south, and from Algeria in the west to Azerbayjan in the east, have at some point in their history been partially or wholly part of the Ottoman empire. During the last two centuries many of these modern nation-states have become independent and have developed national historiographies that have – with varying degrees of success – constructed nationalities and projected them back to the Middle Ages or the ancient world. Accordingly, it has become increasingly difficult to reconstruct the experience of Ottoman subjects in a multi-ethnic and multi-religious empire in which loyalty to the ultimate political authority had little to do with one’s national belonging, and the term ‘nation’ meant quite different things.