Eyalet of the Archipelago
|Eyālet-i Cezāyir-i Baḥr-i Sefīd|
|Eyalet of the Ottoman Empire|
Eyalet of the Archipelago in 1609
|Today part of|| Turkey|
The Eyalet of the Archipelago (Ottoman Turkish: ایالت جزایر بحر سفید, Eyālet-i Cezāyir-i Baḥr-i Sefīd, "Eyalet of the Islands of the White Sea") was a first-level province (eyalet) of the Ottoman Empire. From its inception until the Tanzimat reforms of the mid-19th century, it was under the personal control of the Kapudan Pasha, the commander-in-chief of the Ottoman Navy.
During the early period of the Ottoman Empire, the commander of the Ottoman fleet (the Derya Begi, "Bey of the Sea") also held the governorship of the sanjak of Gallipoli, which was the principal Ottoman naval base until the construction of the Imperial Arsenal under Sultan Selim I (reigned 1512–20). His province also included the isolated kazas of Galata and Izmit.
In 1533/4, the corsair captain Hayreddin Barbarossa, who had taken over Algeria, submitted to the authority of Sultan Suleyman I (r. 1520–66). His province was expanded by the addition of the sanjaks of Kocaeli, Suğla, and Biga from the Eyalet of Anatolia, and of the sanjaks of Inebahti (Naupaktos), Ağriboz (Euboea), Karli-eli (Aetolia-Acarnania), Mezistre (Mystras), and Midilli (Lesbos) from the Eyalet of Rumelia, thus forming the Eyalet of the Archipelago. After Hayreddin's death, the province remained the domain of the Kapudan Pasha, the new title of the commander-in-chief of the navy, a position of great power and prestige: its holder was a vizier of three horsetails and a member of the Imperial Council. As a token of this, the title of the local sub-provincial governors was not sanjak-bey but derya-bey. Although the Kapudan Pashas resided in the Imperial Arsenal, Gallipoli remained the official capital (pasha-sanjak) until the 18th century.
After Hayreddin's death in 1546, the sanjak of Rodos (Rhodes) also became part of the Eyalet of the Archipelago, and in 1617/8 the sanjaks of Sakız (Chios), Nakşa (Naxos) and Andıra (Andros) were added to it. Algeria became de facto independent of Ottoman control after 1642, and in ca. 1670 Cyprus was added to the eyalet. It was detached in 1703 as the personal fief (hass) of the Grand Vizier, but returned to the eyalet in 1785. Under Merzifonlu Kara Mustafa Pasha, the sanjaks of Mezistre and Karli-eli were detached and incorporated in the new Eyalet of the Morea. Alone among the major Aegean islands, Crete, although conquered from the Republic of Venice in 1645–69, was never subordinated to the Eyalet of the Archipelago.
By the early 19th century, the eyalet was reduced to the sanjaks of Biga (now the pasha-sanjak), Rodos, Sakız, Midilli, Limni (Lemnos) and Cyprus. As part of the Tanzimat reforms, its ties to the Kapudan Pasha were severed in 1849, and it became the Vilayet of the Archipelago after 1867. The island of Samos (Turkish Sisam), which was an autonomous principality since 1832, continued to be counted as a sanjak of the eyalet until 1867. Cyprus was lost to British control in 1878, and the remainder of the vilayet was dissolved after the eastern Aegean islands were conquered by the Italians during the Italo-Turkish War (1911–12) and the Greeks in the First Balkan War (1912–13).
The eyalet's most common English names are the Province of the Islands or of the Archipelago. Because it was commanded by the Kapudan Pasha, the head of the Ottoman navy, it was also known as the Province of the Kapudan Pasha (Ottoman Turkish: Kapudanlık-ı Derya, "Captaincy of the Sea").
- List of Kapudan Pashas
- List of Ottoman admirals
- The Eyalet of the Western Archipelago (Algiers), also held by the Kapudan Pashas
- The Byzantine naval themes: Cibyrrhaeot, Aegean Sea, and Samos
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