Presentation of the project researcher Anđelko Vlašić at a symposium in Turkey

Anđelko Vlašić (PhD), researcher on the project of the Croatian Science Foundation “From Virgin Forests to Ploughlands: History of Anthropization of Forests in Slavonia from the Middle Ages to the Beginning of the 20th Century”, participated at the 22nd Symposium of the International Committee of Pre-Ottoman and Ottoman Studies (CIEPO), which was held October 4-8, 2016, in Trabzon (Republic of Turkey). Vlašić held a presentation entitled “The correlation between the spatial distribution of forests and pig farming in Ottoman Slavonia”.

Official page of the Symposium:

Symposium Program:

Summary of the presentation by Anđelko Vlašić:

The state of forests of the Ottoman Empire during the 16th and 17th centuries is still a sparsely researched topic. It is difficult to research this topic because the majority of Ottoman sources are silent when it comes to forests in the mentioned period. However, Ottoman tax registers give us a lead on the possibility of researching forests, and that is the tax on pigs and their grazing in the forests, at least in the provinces with considerable Christian population which practiced pig farming. A good province to focus our research on is the Ottoman Slavonia, that is, the three Ottoman sancaks in region of Slavonia: Sancak of Srijem (Sirem), Sancak of Požega (Pojega), and Sancak of Pakrac (Pakraç, Bakriç, Zaçasna, or Cernik) because the Christian population had a prevalent majority in Ottoman Slavonia. This is why the amount of money obtained through tax on pigs was very high in numerous Slavonian settlements. Pig farming in Christian settlements in Slavonia can be tied to the proximity of forests: pigs needed to be reared by letting them graze during winter in oak and beech forests and eat fallen acorns. Thus the spatial distribution and size of the pig farming population of Ottoman Slavonia can be linked to the spatial distribution and size of Slavonian forests. The presumption is that the surroundings of the settlements with the biggest number of pigs were heavily covered with oak and beech forests. The aim of this paper is to correlate the pig farming settlements of Ottoman Slavonia with the approximate distribution of forests throughout the region. The paper is based on published and unpublished Ottoman tax registers for the three abovementioned sancaks, as well as on the bibliography on the approximate distribution of forests in Slavonia in the 16th and 17th centuries.