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Title: Poor Quarter/Rich quarter: Distribution of Wealth in the Arab Cities of the Ottoman Empire. The Case of Eighteenth Century Algiers
Author(s): SHUVAL, Tal
Journal: Turcica
Volume: 32    Date: 2000   
Pages: 169-196
DOI: 10.2143/TURC.32.0.467

Abstract :
The analysis of probate inventories registered by the the Algerian administration of finances (bayt al-mâl) at the end of the eighteenth century shows quite clearly the existence of both rich and poor quarters in eighteenth-century Algiers. Situated mainly around the economic, administrative and religious center of the city, the rich quarters follow a pattern found in other Arab cities in the same time period. A closer analysis, however, shows another pattern that seems unique to Algiers, that of the separation of rich Algerians from the rich members of the military-administration Ottoman elite ("Turks"). The difference in Algiers' pattern of residence may be the manifestation of its social reality: exclusion of members of the local elites from the ruling institutions, and lack of integration of members of the Ottoman elite into the local society. An analysis of the distribution of urban facilities (public baths, quarter markets, mills and bakeries) in the city shows that they were to be found where they were most needed, that is, in the city’s large concentrations of population.

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