Demographic History of Istanbul

Ever since its foundation, Istanbul has stood out as an exceptional city. In this study, where we evaluate the studies on Istanbul’s population, at first the method and approach is discussed. Although the provinces of the Ottoman state were subjected to many surveys for determining and allocating tax resources, it is not possible to make the same observation for the city of Istanbul. This study examines those studies investigating the population of Istanbul before and after its conquest through estimations and indirect inference or interpretations based on numbers and those studies based directly on the tax surveys or tahrirs. For this reason, it is difficult to say anything about the city population between the 16th and the 19th centuries except for some estimates and assumptions. We do not have at our disposal reliable studies on the city population prior to the 19th century. There is also the need to revise some figures given for the 16th and 17th centuries. There are fruitful studies on the surveys and counts executed in the 19th century. Here we deal with the concepts, methods, problems, findings and figures put forward in these studies in a comparative way and make some comments on their positive, incomplete aspects as well as those aspects requiring explanation.


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