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A kaza (Arabic : قضاء, qaḍāʾ, pronounced  [qɑˈd̪ˤɑːʔ] , plural: أقضية, aqḍiyah, pronounced  [ˈɑqd̪ˤijɑ] ; Ottoman Turkish : kazâ [1] [note 1] ) is an administrative division historically used in the Ottoman Empire and currently used in several of its successor states. The term is from Ottoman Turkish and means "jurisdiction"; it is often translated "district", [3] "sub-district" [4] (though this also applies to a nahiye), or "juridical district". [5]


Ottoman Empire

In the Ottoman Empire, a kaza was originally a "geographical area subject to the legal and administrative jurisdiction of a kadı . [1] With the first Tanzimat reforms of 1839, the administrative duties of the kadı were transferred to a governor (kaymakam), with the kadıs acting as judges of Islamic law. [6] In the Tanzimat era, the kaza became an administrative district with the 1864 Provincial Reform Law, which was implemented over the following decade. [5] A kaza unified the jurisdiction of a governor (kaymakam) appointed by the Ministry of the Interior, [7] a treasurer (chief finance officer), and a judge (kadı) in a single administrative unit. [5] It was part of efforts of the Porte to establish uniform, rational administration across the empire. [5]

The kaza was a subdivision of a sanjak [1] and corresponded roughly to a city with its surrounding villages. Kazas, in turn, were divided into nahiyes (governed by müdürs and mütesellims ) and villages (karye, governed by muhtars ). [7] The 1871 revisions to the administrative law established the nahiye (still governing a müdür), as an intermediate level between the kaza and the village. [7]


The early Republic of Turkey continued to use the term kaza until it renamed them ilçe in the 1920s.

Arab countries

The kaza was also formerly a second-level administrative division in Syria, but it is now called a mintaqah.

The kaza or qadaa is used to refer to the following:

See also


  1. Some translations in languages used by ethnic minorities: [2]
    • Armenian: աւան (awan; meaning "borough") [2]
    • Bulgarian: околия (okoliya; meaning "district"); [2] also Кааза
    • Greek: υποδιοίκησις (hypodioikēsis) or δήμος (dēmos, which means "borough" or "municipality"); [2] also Καζάς
    • Ladino: kaza [2]

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  1. 1 2 3 Selçuk Akşin Somel. "Kazâ". The A to Z of the Ottoman Empire. Volume 152 of A to Z Guides. Rowman & Littlefield, 2010. p. 151. ISBN   9780810875791
  2. Strauss, Johann (2010). "A Constitution for a Multilingual Empire: Translations of the Kanun-ı Esasi and Other Official Texts into Minority Languages". In Herzog, Christoph; Malek Sharif (eds.). The First Ottoman Experiment in Democracy. Wurzburg: Orient-Institut Istanbul. p. 21-51. (info page on book at Martin Luther University) // CITED: p. 41-44 (PDF p. 43-46/338).
  3. Suraiya Faroqhi. Approaching Ottoman History: An Introduction to the Sources. Cambridge University Press, 1999. p. 88. ISBN   9780521666480
  4. Donald Quataert. The Ottoman Empire, 1700-1922. 2nd Ed. Volume 34 of New Approaches to European History. Cambridge University Press, 2005. p. 108. ISBN   9781139445917
  5. 1 2 3 4 Eugene L. Rogan. Frontiers of the State in the Late Ottoman Empire: Transjordan, 1850-1921. Volume 12 of Cambridge Middle East Studies. Cambridge University Press, 2002. p. 12. ISBN   9780521892230
  6. Selçuk Akşin Somel. "Kadı". The A to Z of the Ottoman Empire. Volume 152 of A to Z Guides. Rowman & Littlefield, 2010. p. 144-145. ISBN   9780810875791
  7. 1 2 3 Gökhan Çetinsaya. The Ottoman Administration of Iraq, 1890-1908. SOAS/Routledge Studies on the Middle East. Routledge, 2006. p. 8-9. ISBN   9780203481325