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THE RURAL ECONOMY OF OTTOMAN CRETE (1650-1670): A SPATIAL APPROACH

Georgios Vidras, Christos Kyriakopoulos, Elias Kolovos
University of Crete

Abstract: This paper explores the shifting economic dynamics on the island of Crete during the transition from Venetian to Ottoman rule in the seventeenth century. We will examine the impact of the long war between the two powers on the Cretan economy, focusing on the dispersion of the rural population, emerging settlement patterns and the overall spatial redevelopment of the landscape during and after the Cretan war. We focus especially on the environmental regional diversity of the island’s hinterland. Our analysis takes into account not only the Venetian and the Ottoman land policies enforced upon Crete but also the parameters of the geography and the natural environment, as they both helped shape much of agrarian activity on the island. As cartography plays a crucial role in deepening our understanding of this process, we utilized the digital toolset of Geographical Information Systems (GIS) in order to produce several maps with our findings.

Keywords: Ottoman History, Rural Economy, Ottoman Crete, Tahrir Defterleri, Digital Humanities