Index of tribes in the 19th century

Tribes Index

website of Jelle Verheij, historian

Paralel with the absence of a strong central authority, in the Eastern provinces of the Ottoman Empire, among rural  Muslims (Kurds, Arabs, Türkmen, Circassians and others) tribes were an important form of social organization.

The tribal structure fluctuated in time, although many tribes and their subdivisions show remarkable continuity.

For the 16th and 17th century, on the basis of the relatively rich Ottoman sources of that period, Ottomanists have tried to make lists of tribes in the area. This kind of lists are much rarer for the 19th century.

In the 19th century the large majority of tribes in the area were Kurdish, followed by Arab tribes (in the south of the area = North Mesotopamia) and some Türkmen (Turcoman) tribes. Related to their subordinated role in dominant Muslim society non-Muslim tribes were extremely rare, athough some examples existed.

Sources included in the index

What is in the index ?

The index contains, in alphabetical order, names of tribes as they appear in a number of sources, mainly from British archives. The names have been reproduced as they are written in the source. Direct links are included to the relevant page of the source.

For a British map (1919) showing the locations of Kurdish tribes: "Kurdistan and the Kurdish tribes" (link to the Qatar National Library)

More maps in the map section on this website.