Migrations within the Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman State’s complex and diverse ethnic, cultural and religious fabric included many migrants who succeeded in becoming wealthy and powerful.
Most migrants in the Ottoman Empire built only modest new lives away from home. Some, however, became rich and powerful in their adopted country. Many high-ranking officials in the Ottoman hierarchy came from the ethnically and religiously diverse communities of the Balkans, Anatolia, the Caucasus, the Levant and North Africa. Most remained faithful servants of the system that made them, but others – particularly in North Africa – ended up breaking away and ruling practically unchallenged. Known as pashas, deys, beylerbeyi and beys, these personalities, aided by their military and intellectual elite, did much to advance their countries by introducing reform and improving the local infrastructure while consolidating their power by adopting the customs of and intermarrying with the local population.
Muhammad 'Ali Pasha

19th century

Bibliotheca Alexandrina, Alexandria, Egypt

Muhammad ‘Ali Pasha was an Ottoman general of Albanian descent. Dispatched to look after Ottoman interests in Egypt, he soon assumed practically unchallenged power. A great statesman and considered the founder of modern Egypt, he governed between 1805 and 1848 and established the dynasty that was to head Egypt until middle of the 20th century.

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In this Exhibition
About the Exhibition
Privateering and captivity in the Mediterranean
Migrations within the Ottoman Empire
North–South movements
The life of European immigrant communities: Egypt and Tunisia