From a Chicken in Every Pot to a Time of Scarcity: Rethinking Slavery in the Crimean Khanate


Slavery and Abolition, vol.44, no.4, pp.784-804, 2023 (AHCI) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 44 Issue: 4
  • Publication Date: 2023
  • Doi Number: 10.1080/0144039x.2023.2209071
  • Journal Name: Slavery and Abolition
  • Journal Indexes: Arts and Humanities Citation Index (AHCI), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, IBZ Online, Periodicals Index Online, American History and Life, Historical Abstracts, Index Islamicus, MLA - Modern Language Association Database, Political Science Complete, Sociological abstracts, Worldwide Political Science Abstracts
  • Page Numbers: pp.784-804
  • Keywords: Black Sea, Crimean Khanate, Islamic Law, Ottoman Empire, slavery, Society
  • Çanakkale Onsekiz Mart University Affiliated: Yes


This article, by focusing on Crimean slavery, aims to enhance our understanding of the social and economic nature of slavery that underwent a remarkable change between the conquest of Caffa (1475) and the Treaty of Karlowitz (1699), both of which marked a turning point in the history of slavery in Crimea. With the conquest of Caffa by the Ottoman Empire, the Crimean Peninsula turned into a ‘slaving hub’ in Pontic-Danube steppe land for nearly 200 years. In this period, slaves became a basic commodity employed by a wide range of people in Crimea from different backgrounds from urbanites to peasants and from those who were wealthy to those who were penniless. By contrast in the aftermath of Caffa, however, the Treaty of Karlowitz caused a rapid depletion of slaves and consequently a sharp decline in revenues that Crimean Tatars derived from slavery which was accompanied by high inflation in slave prices and therefore a huge labour shortage. Using a micro-global perspective, this article examines these two political occurrences, which are described as a ‘turning point’ and ‘beginning of the transformation’ in Crimean society and explores the nexus between the political contexts and the changes in economic and social life .