Sanjaks (Turkish pronunciation: [sanˈdʒak], Ottoman Turkish: سنجاق "Prefectures") were administrative divisions of the Ottoman Empire. Sanjak, and the variant spellings sandjak, sanjaq, and sinjaq, are English transliterations of the Turkish word sancak, meaning district, banner, or flag (derived from root word -sanc , "to immerse sth" for a flag is used by immersing to ground) . Sanjaks were also called by the Arabic word for banner or flag, liwa.
|State organisation of
the Ottoman Empire
Sanjaks originally were the first-level subdivisions of the Ottoman Empire. They arose in the mid-14th century as military districts that were part of the timar, a military-feudal system. In addition to the paid professional army, the Ottoman army had corps of cavalry soldiers (called spahis or sipahi) who performed military service in return for estates granted by the Sultan (larger estates were called zaim or zeamet, smaller ones timar). Spahis gathered for war according to the Sanjak in which they lived, and were led by an official called a Sanjak-beg or Sanjakbey (roughly equivalent to "district governor").
The number of Sanjaks in the Empire varied greatly. The Tanzimat reforms of the 19th century saw the number climb to over 400, but more usually it was around 150.
Not all sanjaks were part of a province; some were in newly conquered areas that had yet to be assigned to a province and others such as Benghazi and Çatalca remained independent of the province system with their leaders reporting directly to the Porte.
A sanjak was typically divided into kazas (Arabic qaḍāʾ, pl. aqḍiya), also known as kadiluks, each headed by a kadı, or judge. The kazas were further subdivided into local units known as nahiye (Arabic nāḥiya, pl. nawāḥī), which in turn comprised a number of villages (karye) or, for urban nahiyes, city quarters (mahalle).
|This Ottoman Empire-related article is a stub. You can help Wikipedia by expanding it.|