What was the Ottoman Millet System? It was an independent court of law under which a non Muslim confessional community (Christian Canon law, or Jewish Halakha etc.) was allowed to rule itself under its own laws. ---[Theard]--
The millet system is linked to Islamic rules on the treatment of non−Muslims living under Islamic dominion. Separate legal courts, personal law under which minorities were allowed to rule themselves with fairly little to none interference from the Ottoman state.
The Millets had a great deal of power – they set their own laws and collected and distributed their own taxes. When a member of one millet committed a crime against a member of another, the law of the injured party applied.
Christian and Jewish communities were granted a large autonomy. Tax collection, education, legal and religious affairs of these communities were administered by their own leaders, a large contrast to western colonialism and its systematics of dealing with subjects.
The Jewish community, in particular, was able to prosper, its ranks grew with the arrival of Jews who were expelled from Spain by the Alhambra Decree. The biggest Operation of the Ottoman Navy of its time brought thousands of Jews from Spain to the Empire.
The jewish Millet had a considerable amount of administrative autonomy and were represented by the Chief Rabbi. There were no restrictions in the professions Jews could practice analogous to those common in Western Christian countries.
Some Jews reached high positions in the Ottoman court and administration include Mehmed II's minister of Finance Hekim Yakup Pasa, his physician Moses Hamon, Murad II's physician Is'hak Pasha and Abraham de Castro, who was the master of the mint in Egypt.
They were the predominant power in commerce and trade as well as diplomacy and other high offices. The apogee of Jewish influence could arguable be the appointment of Joseph Nasi to Sanjak-bey (governor, a rank usually only bestowed upon Muslims) of the island of Naxos.
The leading financiers in Istanbul were Greeks and Jews. The most notable of the Jewish banking families in the 16th-century Ottoman Empire was the Marrano banking house of Mendès, which moved to and settled in Istanbul in 1552.
The Millet System itself in a similar form was also used by the Abbasid Caliphate and comes actually from the pre Islamic Persian Empire of the Sassanids, it goes back to the Parthian and first Persian Achmedian Empire.
Some later examples of the Millet, here we can see a Ottoman Bill with different languages on it.
Also different newspapers in different languages from Hebrew to Armenian.
Here we can see some older Ottoman Documents which guarantees Parents money in form of a salary from the Ottoman State to support their children, independent of religion or ethnicity. This was given to all, Muslims or non Muslims families inside the Millets by the Ottoman State.
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