hosted by Zoe Griffith
The Capitulations are regarded as one of the most obvious and humiliating signs of European dominance over Ottoman markets and diplomatic relations in the 19th century, granting European merchants and their Ottoman protégés extensive extraterritorial privileges within the empire. In this podcast, Professor Omar Cheta probes the limits of the Capitulations in the Ottoman province of Egypt, where the power of the local Khedives intersected and overlapped with the sovereignty of the sultan and the capitulatory authority of the British consulate. Commercial disputes involving European merchants and their protected agents on Ottoman-Egyptian soil reveal the ambiguous and negotiable nature of jurisdiction and legal identities in the mid-19th century. These ambiguous boundaries provided spaces for merchants and officials to contest the terms of extraterritorial privileges. The creation of new legal forums such as the mixed Merchants' Courts gave rise to new norms and procedures, while reliance on Shari'a traditions continued to appear in unexpected places.