The eyalet ( Ottoman ايالت ) was the major province of the Ottoman Empire until the Tanzimatzeit. It was replaced in 1867 by the vilayet. At the top, which was founded on the feudal system of administration Eyalets was the Beylerbey with the rank of a Pasha of two tails Ross ( tugh ), in the late period often had Wesirsrang ( three Ross tails ).

A eyalet consisted of two or more Sanjak, who were under the leadership of Bey. Most Sanjak included several hundred to a thousand fiefs (depending on size ascending Timar, zeamet / Ziamet or hatred called ), from which the members of the feudal cavalry ( Sipahis ) earned their livelihood; Only the Eyalets Egypt, Baghdad, Abyssinia and al - Hasa were not further subdivided in Sandžak and Timars.

The first eyalet was Rumeli ( Rumelia ); it was formed by Murad I ( 1360-89 ) and initially covered all European possessions. Shortly thereafter, the Eyalet Anadolu (Anatolia ) was created, which included the Asiatic possessions. The ranks of Rumeli and Anadolu the Beylerbeys remained the highest in the feudal hierarchy and were granted in the late period as honorary titles.

Territorial typology of Ottoman rule in the 16th century

Vassals were over the centuries quite to provinces and vice versa.

Ottoman core provinces ( eyalet / vilayet )

  • Governed by certain of the sultan Great Governor
  • Divided into Sanjak, ruled by governors
  • Most of the land was divided into living / fief ( Timar ).
  • Examples: Anatolia, Buda, Cyprus, Rumelia, etc.
  • Special positions: Smaller municipalities and regions were given special privileges and local autonomies; Examples: Monasteries of Athos and Sinai, some islands and mountainous regions in Greece, etc.

Ottoman provinces ( Sâliyâne-Eyâlet/Sâliyâne-Vilâyet )

  • Governed by certain of the sultan Great Governor
  • Divided into Sanjak, ruled by governors
  • Country only partially or slightly distributed by benefice. While maintaining the vorosmanischen socio-economic and administrative structures, an annual tribute is paid to the Ottoman Treasury
  • Examples: Egypt, Yemen, Tunisia, Baghdad, Basra, etc.
  • Special positions: seldom at the level of Eyâlets, rather Sanjak - level one finds some provinces ruled by governors who were allowed to bequeath their office; Examples: Adana under the Ramazan Oğulları, some Kurdish Sanjak, Vidin under the Mihaloğlu family, etc.

Muslim vassals

  • States that accept the suzerainty of the Ottomans, but may not retain their traditional organizational structure. Nevertheless, the Sultan reserves the right to nominate the rulers of the vassal territory themselves. Do their policies generally align with the Ottoman policy, but can also act on their own responsibility, to perform even local acts of war.
  • Generally has a strong political, military, and / or symbolic importance for the Ottoman Empire, and therefore receives various forms of financial assistance
  • Examples: Khanate of the Crimean Tatars, the Sherif of Mecca, etc.
  • Special position: Iran indeed paid between 1590 - 1603 tribute, but was politically independent.

Christian vassals

  • States that accept the suzerainty of the Ottomans, they pay an annual total as a tribute to the Sultan, must align its foreign policy with the Ottoman policy, but retain for the most part their autonomy and traditional Christian institutions ( not an Islamic or Ottoman law in the territory of vassals). Nevertheless, the Sultan reserves the right to nominate the rulers of the vassal territory themselves, the policy should not stick to the guidelines.
  • Examples: Ragusa, Georgia, Transylvania, Moldavia, Wallachia, etc.
  • Special positions: some Christian kingdoms while paying tribute, either for part of its territory (eg Venice paid for Cyprus to the Ottoman conquest between 1517 to 1571, the Habsburg paid tribute to Northern Hungary 1533-1593 ) or " protection fee " to avoid being attacked or to be plagued by raids (eg Poland - Lithuania to the Khanate of the Crimea, and occasionally to the Ottomans ), but retained their political independence.

List of eyalet

From 1609 passed the following Eyâlets ( name of the capital in parentheses if different from that of the vilayet ):


  • Colin Imber: The Ottoman Empire, 1300-1650: The structure of power. Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke 2002, ISBN 0-333-61387-2.
  • Halil Inalcik: The Ottoman Empire: The Classical Age 1300-1600. Translated by Norman Itzkowitz and Colin Imber. Weidenfeld & Nicolson, London 1973, ISBN 0-297-99490-5.
  • Donald Edgar Pitcher: An Historical Geography of the Ottoman Empire. Brill, Leiden 1972, OCLC 494,766,207th