Population and the Administrative Style
There are various statistical information and data about the Ottoman State. First of all, it is not so easy to found a great state and to establish dominion all over the world. The wars that lasted for centuries had not been carried out without proper knowledge. In the stage of preparation for the arrangement of war, it was necessary to determine the level of military forces that the state had possessed. Therefore, the censuses within the borders of the Ottoman State were carried out in different dimensions. For example; there are comprehensive and detailed data and information within the Title Deed Registry books that were recorded in the period of Kanuni Sultan Süleyman. However, since the Ottoman Archives have not yet been investigated properly, it is difficult to indicate definite data andinformation in respect of the years. Nevertheless, it is possible to provide the reasonable informative data since the first periods of the state up to now. For example, the population of the city of Istanbul had been nearly 40.000 before its conquest. However, pursuant to the conquest, the population of this city had continuously increased since it was the capital city of the state. In the census carried out in the year of 1477, the population of Istanbul was 100.000 people. It has been known that the population of the same city has reached to the figure of 400.000 in the years of 1530s, and the figure of 800.000 in the years of 1680s.
There is fairly detailed information about the total population of the Ottoman State pertaining to the period that covered the years of 1800-1914. However, different rates of increase in the total population had been recorded due to the continuous loss of lands within the boundaries of the state in this period and the immigrations from these lands that were lost towards Anatolia. In the year of 1800, the total population of the state exceeded 26 millions of people.
Pursuant to the end of Ottoman-Russian War, a detailed general census was carried out in the entire state in the year of 1831. According to the aforesaid census: the total figure of population was determined as 15.339.000 people. Of this population, 4.839.000 people lived in Roumelia; 6.700.000 people lived in Anatolia; and 3.800.000 people lived in the Middle East and the Northern Africa.
According to the Ottoman statistics, the total population of the state had reached to the figure of 17.134.000 in the year of 1884; the figure of 17.381.670 in the year of 1893; the figure of 19.050.000 in the year of 1897; the figure of 28.652.000 in the year of 1910; and the figure of 29.357.000 in the year of 1913. However, from that date on, firstly a population of 5.5 millions of people got separated from the Ottoman State upon the loss of lands in the region of Roumelia. Then, a population of 8,5 millions of people got separated from the state as a result of the disintegration of Middle East and the Northern Africa pursuant to the invasions. The residual figure of population was 15.254.000 people living in the Anatolian lands that had a surface area of 757.340 km2. Afterwards, Republic of Turkey was founded andpursuant to the foundation of this republic, the population of the new state was determined as 13 millions in the year of 1927.
The censuses carried out in the Ottoman State were generally based on the counts of houses. In the course of the determination of state population, the estimations are carried out on the basis of the numbers of houses. Today, the domestic and foreign historians consider the size of a family, in other words, the number of the total population of a house as 5 persons. This estimation is extremely wrong. Actually, the Ottoman family system showed a patriarchal structure. There were grandfather, grandmother, mother, father, and their children, and even the brothers, sisters and their children within only one family. Such a family with an extensive scale was counted as a single house. Taking this situation into consideration, the size of a house is above 10 members. Therefore, the figures of the total population of Ottoman State that we have indicated above are misleading. The real population of the state was at least two folds of the figures stated above.
The administrative system of the Ottoman State had been subject to occasional modifications. However, it was based on he provincial system in general. The provinces were divided into sub-units of administration among themselves. The defects that had been observed in the government and administration were corrected immediately through the issuance of the Code of Laws. All of the activities such as the cultivation system of lands, industry, trade, etc. had been carried out within the structure of a specific order determined by the state. For example; the agriculture was invigorated on a permanent basis through the taxes imposed for giving up farm-work that was applied in the system of agriculture. Therefore, the emigration from the rural areas to cities had been prevented for centuries. Actually, the basis of this tax was composed of a tax with an exorbitant amount that was taken from the farmer that gave up the cultivation of the arable fields under his possession and immigrated to another region. A law similar to this code has been applied in U.S.A. recently.