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October 31, 2009
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History of Tripoli

The Early Ottoman Period (late 14th Century to late 17th Century)

Tripoli > History > The Early Ottoman Period

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Please send your comments, suggestions, or contributions to: Dr. Ghazi Omar Tadmouri.

Major Events
  • 1516 CE: Syria and Egypt fell to the Ottoman Sultan Selim I.
  • 1535 CE: Signature of treaty by Suleiman the Magnificient and Francois I, king of France, giving France favors and privileges in the Levant.
  • 1612 CE: Flood destroyed Mamluk monuments.
  • 1623 CE: Fakhr-ed-Din attacked the forces of Pasha of Tripoli at Anjar; Tripoli fell to Fakhr-ed-Din, (Sultan al-Barr or Sultan of the Land).

Legal Status

Provincial capital and chief town of an Ottoman pashalik (or vilayet) encompassing the coastal territory from Jubayl to tarsus and the inland Syrian towns of Homs and Hama; the two other vilayets are Aleppo, and Damascus. Click here to listen to an Arabic real audio recording about the historical relationships between the Ottomans and inhabitants of Tripoli city.


Economy and Dominant Function

Until 1612 Tripoli considered as the port of Aleppo; also depended on Syrian interior trade and tax collection from mountaneous hinterland; strong presence of French Merchants during the 17th and 18th centuries; intense inter-European competition for trade.


Infrastructure and Public Works

Citadel of Tripoli restored by Suleiman II, the Magnificient; later governors brought further modifications to the original Crusader structure used as garrison center and prison.


Urban Form and Functional Structure

Khan AlSaboun (originally a military barrack) is located in the center of the city to control any uprising; development of the southern entrance of the city (AlMuallaq Mosque and Hammam AlJadid).


The World's First Recorded Informed Medical Consent

Even though a fair amount is known about the codes of medical ethics and practice and the physician-patient relationship in ancient civilizations, there is little evidence that the formalized practice of legally binding informed medical consent existed before the late 19th century.

A documented case of legal informed medical consent, which is dated 12 Shaban 1088/Nov 10, 1677, described the extraction of hernia of the Christian Ya'qub son of Ghanem, by the Christian Nicholas, son of Yanni: "The reason why this document had been written down is that the Christian Ya'qub, son of Ghanem, the Monk in Balamand Monastery, Koura Sub-district, province of Tripoli, presented himself at the Holy Shari'a Council of Tripoli and hired and engaged the Christian surgeon Nicholas, son of Yanni, to extract his (Ya'qub's) hernia on the right side in return for a fee of 10 piasters. After the hired has undertaken to extract the hirer's hernia and treat it with ointments, the aforementioned hirer asked people to duly and legally bear witness that if the hirer died as a result of fate and Allah's divine decree because of his being treated by the hired, the latter shall not be held as guarantor for him; and the hirer has also relieved the hired from any responsibility for his death and blood money, and that the hirer or his heir after him shall not be entitled to any related claims made against the aforesaid surgeon. Effected and written down on thetwelfth day of the holy month of Sha'ban of the year 1088.

Witnesses: Mawlana Sheikh Mustafa - may his grace be augmented. Mawlana Sheikh Mohammed, scriber of the original copy. Mohammed Shalabi, Interpreter. Hussein Buluk Bashi. Haj Ramadan, Chief Court Usher."

The document, which was recorded during the Ottoman Empire, attests to the established practice of legal contracts between physician and patient, which were drawn up and signed in the presence of witnesses. It is interesting to note that the contract was not limited to the surgical procedure, but also included postoperative treatment and physician fees.

Reference: AlHumsi NS. History of Tripoli Through the Shari'a Court Documents in the Second Half of the Seventeenth Century. Beirut (Lebanon): Al-Rissalah Foundation/Dar Al-Iman; 1986. p. 289.


Building Types and Major Buildings

Religious buildings

  • AlMuallaq (hanging) Mosque (1559).
  • AlTahhan Mosque (early 17th century).
  • AlTawbah Mosque (Mamluk construction, destroyed by 1612 flood and restored during early Ottoman Period).

Secular buildings

  • Khan AlSaboun (early 17th century).
  • Hammam AlJadid (1740).

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