19th century sources

website of Jelle Verheij, historian

Lists of tribes

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 during the 19th century.

For the 16th and 17th century, on the basis of the 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 this section you will find some less known archival sources listing tribes, mostly from British archives. 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 and Circassian tribes. In the Hakkari area there were also non-Muslim tribes (Assyrians belonging to the Church of the East/ Nestorians), but in the rest of the eastern provinces non-Muslim tribes were extremely rare.

Sources included in this section


All tribe names in the sources of this section are included in the alphabetical tribe index on this website

Lists of tribes