THE INSTITUTIONALIZATION OF CONVERSION:
KISVE BAHASI PETITIONS AS A SOCIAL PHENOMENON
In chapter 4, we have had occasion to point out the essentially different nature of the information revealed by kisve bahası petitions, when compared to that found in tax registers. Certainly, we cannot compare tax registers with their immense statistical value to the peti- tions of new Muslims which survive in limited numbers only. How- ever, the latter are still useful as they indicate certain changes in the process of conversion and concomitantly, in Ottoman society in general.
As pointed out in the beginning of the study, my database of peti- tions consists of 636 documents issued in the names of 755 people and falling within the period 1672–1735. Table 9 below presents the distribution of documents and new Muslims per year. I have also included the major internal and external events that occurred dur- ing the period. As a result, the reader may establish a link between the number of petitions and new Muslims in a particular year and the most significant events of the year concerned.
Table 9. Distribution of kisve bahası petitions and new Muslims per year
compared to events from the Ottoman history1
1 The table includes all documents listed in Appendix 2 as well as the two doc- uments published by Uzunçarşılı—see Uzunçarşılı, Merkez, Appendix, Facsimiles 27 and 28.