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Age of RoguesRebels, Revolutionaries and Racketeers at the Frontiers of Empires$
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Ramazan Öztan and Alp Yenen

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9781474462624

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: January 2022

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474462624.001.0001

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Conspiracy under Trial: Christian Brigands, Rebels and Activists in Bosnia during the Tanzimat

Conspiracy under Trial: Christian Brigands, Rebels and Activists in Bosnia during the Tanzimat

(p.151) 5 Conspiracy under Trial: Christian Brigands, Rebels and Activists in Bosnia during the Tanzimat
Age of Rogues

Anna Vakali

Edinburgh University Press

The Ottoman nineteenth century witnessed increased levels of mobilization among ordinary Christians throughout the Balkans. Preceded by the Greek and Serbian revolutions and the establishment of autonomous Serbia (1830) and the Greek Kingdom (1832), the onset of the Ottoman centralizing and modernizing reform program known as the Tanzimat (1839-1876) was followed by consecutive tax revolts, local uprisings connected with intense smuggling of weaponry, as well as the formation of networks, (secret) societies, and clubs facilitated by the dissemination of printed material. Instead of viewing these uprisings as a linear chain of events, during which specific demands of the population were manipulated by external and internal agents having a nationalist agenda, this article aims to approach them in their full complexity, without the hindsight of the events which ensued them. By focusing on a series of local uprisings in Ottoman Bosnia during the late 1850s and early 1860s, I argue that the process of ‘nationalization’ was less linear and reductionist than has been accepted; various social groups posing different demands operated simultaneously; agency belonged not (only) to ‘elite mediums’, but was exercised by such diverse local actors as peasants, village priests, brigands and jobless wanderers, motivated and mobilized by different agendas.

Keywords:   Ottoman Bosnia, Tanzimat, Nationalization, tax revolts, activist clergy, rebels

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