Between 1512 and 1574, after they halted Spain’s imperial and colonial ambitions, with the exception of Morocco the Ottomans in turn occupied the Maghrib. To administer this new eyalets (provinces), which was now incorporated into the Ottoman Empire, the Ottomans introduced a military system based exclusively on mamluk infantry, the vast majority of whom were of slave castes. By comparison to the mamluks, employment of military slaves and militia derived from the regions of sub-Saharan Africa that had occurred both before and after the Ottoman period has been overlooked in the recent and growing interest in military slavery in the historiography of the Ottoman domains in general. In Ottoman Tunis, for instance, while the existence of a lesser-known Sudanic military corps has been documented by contemporaneous sources, to date very little is known about their presence, roles, or functions.
The Forgotten Sudanic Palace Guards of Ali Bey I: Their Genesis, Functions, and Legacy in Ottoman Tunisia
Ismael M. Montana is an associate professor of history at Northern Illinois University. He is a historian of trans-Saharan slavery and enslaved West African communities in Northwest Africa. He is also the author of Abolition of Slavery in Ottoman Tunisia (University Press of Florida, 2013) and, with Paul E. Lovejoy and Behnaz A. Mirzai, Slavery, Islam and Diaspora (Africa World Press, 2009).
Ismael M. Montana; The Forgotten Sudanic Palace Guards of Ali Bey I: Their Genesis, Functions, and Legacy in Ottoman Tunisia. Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East 1 August 2018; 38 (2): 296–309. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/1089201x-6982062
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