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Title: The Greek Community in Tunis through 16th – 17th Centuries
Other Titles: الجالية اليونانيّة في تونس خلال القرنين السادس عشر والسابع عشر
La communauté grecque en Tunisie durant les XVIe et XVIIe siècles
Authors: Chaldeos, Antonios
Keywords: Greek Community
16th Century
17th Century
Issue Date: 2016
Publisher: University of Balamand
Part of: Chronos
Issue: 34
Start page: 51
End page: 61
The region of North Africa, because of its geographical position in the Mediterranean basin, was a perpetual field of cultural osmosis and religious syncretism. Tunisia, in the center of the Mediterranean and the North African coast, "hosted" at times, different nationalities, races and religions. The 16th century was marked by the conflicts of the Spanish kings with the Ottoman Empire for supremacy in the Mediterranean. In the early 16th century, the coast of North Africa was an important base for the pirates, such as the Barbarossa brothers who took the place of the trustee in the name of High Portal after the conquest of Algiers. In the second half of the 16th century, Spain took under its control several coastal cities, but only for only a short period, since soon they were conquered by the Ottoman Empire. The first Ottoman conquest of Tunis took place in 1534 under the command of Barbarossa Hayreddin Pasha, the younger brother of Oruç Reis, who was the Kapudan Pasha of the Ottoman Fleet during the reign of Suleiman the Magnificent. However, it was not until the final Ottoman conquest of Tunis from Spain in 1574 under Kapudan Pasha Uluç Ali Reis that the Turks permanently acquired the Tunisia. In 1574, the Ottoman reign was permanently established in the area creating the eyalets3 of Algiers, Tunis and Tripoli. The expansion of the Ottomans in North Africa, from Libya to Algeria, and the suppression of the Admiral Sinan Pasha of the Knights of Malta restored in parallel the influence of Islam in the region, which was weakened by the Catholic Spain’s strong presence in the Mediterranean. Gradually, the High Port, because of its inability to control Tunisia, granted the administration of the eyalets to local elites and later to the janissaries, who laid the groundwork for their political and economic power. Through this procedure, the eyalets of Tripoli, Tunis and Algiers acquired a peculiar autonomy as vassals of the Sultan. These vassal principalities were informally recognized by the central government, whom rulers were appointed by the Sultan until the late 17th century. The most famous of those local administrators was Hayreddin Barbarossa, who preferred to be dependent on the Ottoman Porte in order to confront the Spanish threat. As a result, he was appointed commander of the area and later the Kapudan Pasha. In Tunis, the administrative status was somewhat different since there was a supportive Board, which was consisted of corsairs, captains and senior military officers.
Open URL: Link to full text
Type: Journal Article
Appears in Collections:Chronos

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