The Imperial Slave Market in Istanbul


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Innovation Fellowships




The Imperial Slave Market in Istanbul operated for over two centuries and was conceivably the largest slave market in the Middle East until the prohibition of the slave trade by the order of Sultan Abdülmecid in 1847. The history of Ottoman slavery was gradually erased from the cityscape, and before long, the location of the official slave market was lost in time. Benefitting from interdisciplinary methodologies of spatial analysis and digital history, this project explores the lost space, internal layout, and legacies of the slave market from the many-layered sources of Istanbul’s past and present. While building a digital database, this project examines the economic and social impact of this space on the Ottoman Imperial Capital and beyond.