Damascus Eyalet

Eyalet-i Şam
إيالة العرب
Eyalet of the Ottoman Empire


Damascus Eyalet in 1795
Capital Damascus[1]
  Battle of Marj Dabiq 1517
  Disestablished 1865
Today part of  Syria

Damascus Eyalet (Ottoman Turkish: ایالت شام; Eyālet-i Šām)[2] was an eyalet of the Ottoman Empire. Its reported area in the 19th century was 51,900 square kilometres (20,020 sq mi).[3] It became an eyalet after the Ottomans conquered it from the Mamluks in 1516.[4] Janbirdi al-Ghazali, a Mamluk traitor, was made the first beylerbey of Damascus.[5] The Damascus Eyalet was one of the first Ottoman provinces to become a vilayet after an administrative reform in 1865, and by 1867 it had been reformed into the Syria Vilayet.[6]

Territorial jurisdiction

The Ottoman Empire conquered Syria from the Mamluks following the Battle of Marj Dabiq in August 1516 and the subsequent pledges of allegiance paid to the Ottoman sultan, Selim I, in Damascus by delegations of notables from throughout Syria.[7] The Ottomans established Damascus as the center of an eyalet (Ottoman province) whose territories consisted of the mamlakat (Mamluk provinces) of Damascus, Hama, Tripoli, Safad and Karak.[8] The mamlaka of Aleppo, which covered much of northern Syria, became the Aleppo Eyalet.[8] For a few months in 1521, Tripoli and its district were separated from Damascus Eyalet, but after 1579, the Tripoli Eyalet permanently became its own province.[8]

At the close of the 16th century, the Damascus Eyalet was administratively divided into the sanjaks (districts) of Tadmur, Safad, Lajjun, Ajlun, Nablus, Jerusalem, Gaza and Karak, in addition to the city of Damascus and its district.[9] There was also the sanjak of Sidon-Beirut, though throughout the late 16th century, it frequently switched hands between the eyalets of Damascus and Tripoli.[10] Briefly in 1614, and then permanently after 1660, the Sidon-Beirut and Safad sanjaks were separated from Damascus to form the Sidon Eyalet.[8] These administrative divisions largely held place with relatively minor changes until the mid-19th century.[11]


Administrative divisions

Sanjaks of Damascus Eyalet in the 17th century:[12]

  1. Sanjak of Jerusalem
  2. Sanjak of Gaza
  3. Sanjak of Karak
  4. Sanjak of Safad
  5. Sanjak of Nablus
  6. Sanjak of Ajlun
  7. Sanjak of Lajjun
  8. Sanjak of Beqaa
  1. Sanjak of Tadmur
  2. Sanjak of Sidon
  3. Sanjak of Beirut



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