I'm working on a project, and during this project, the subject of a Tapu deed in the Ottoman Empire came up. Tapu was a permanent lease by the government to someone.

I was able to find this picture of a deed from the 1900s, but:

a.) I'm wondering about the 1830s

b.) I don't read Turkish.

courtesy of @ottomanarchive on Twitter

What information was actually included on a Tapu deed in the Ottoman Empire in the 1830s?


1 Answer 1


The image that you included is for Miri Lands as it is issued by "Defterkhana-e-Khaqani" aka Royal Office.

Anton Minkov of McGill University studied the Tapu leases from 18th and 19th century and he says the following about their structure (Quoting only relevant bits, you can read them in detail by following the link):

Form and Structure of the Tapu

Ottoman Turkish allows for the attachment of an almost unlimited number of subordinate clauses to the main clause, a practice developed to its utmost in the Ottoman chancery. The text of a tapu usually consists of one or two very long sentences. Thus, I find it appropriate to analyze the tapu according to the syntactic structure and the semantic links between the components of the document, rather than their actual consecutive order.

  1. ‘Hüve’ (The introductory protocol of a tapu begins with the so-called ‘hüve’ (Ar. huwa)—He, that is, God—which is placed at the top of the document.)

  2. Introductory formula (This is usually a short sentence introducing the content, e.g., ‘the reason for writing the document is as follows’ (vech-i tahrir-i huruf oldur ki). It is always the first line of the text. )

  3. Identification of the landholder

  4. Identification of the landholding

    4.1. Specification of the landholding

    4.2. Boundaries

    4.3. Geographical location

    4.4. Quantitative characteristic

  5. Information about the issuer of the tapu

    5.1. The first part, which usually follows the introductory protocol, informs us about the administrative authority of the tapu’s issuer.

    5.2. The second part of the element occurs towards the end of tapu. It refers to the personality of the issuer, and, more specifically, to his post. I

  6. Reason for issuing the tapu

  7. Value of the landholding

  8. Payment of the price

  9. Declaration that the new landholder wants to pay the tapu fee

  10. Statement of landholding rights

  11. Declaration of the official that the tapu fee is collected

  12. Demonstration of tapu’s issuance

  13. Guarantee of the rights

  14. Date

  15. Validation of the document

  16. Witnesses

  17. Vesselâm (As a final element in some tapus, we find the interjection ‘vesselâm’ ‘and that is the end of the matter.’)

  18. Notes

I speak an Indo-Iranian language and Ottoman Turkish shared a lot of words with our family which is why I could understand most of what was written on the Deed you shared (Although it is from 1930s) and my findings are more or less inline with Minkov's. If you can find a deed from 1830s, I would be happy to translate it as well (Well as far as I can).

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