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date: 07 December 2019

Abstract and Keywords

An ambitious State with multi-continental holdings, the legal authority of the Ottoman Empire was subject to different interpretations at different times. This chapter is concerned primarily with the Ottoman capitulations. It argues that the capitulations illustrate the variability of the empire's status in a changing international legal order, demonstrating that this variability found expression in a distinct set of instruments for the regulation of political and economic relations with the West. Though both Ottomans and Westerners came over time to perceive the capitulations as sustaining far-reaching relations of domination and exploitation, a realistic account of the capitulations, one that captures the distinctive fluidity of Ottoman-European relations, may, it suggests, be developed on the back of the insight that each capitulatory document was first and foremost a site of contestation.

Keywords: Ottoman Empire, capitulations, treaties, sovereignty, statehood

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