- Railroads as Sites of Social Conflict: Railway Companies, Trespassers, and the Law in the Late Ottoman Empire
- Journal of the Ottoman and Turkish Studies Association
- Indiana University Press
- Volume 4, Number 1, May 2017
- pp. 117-136
- View Citation
- Additional Information
From the second half of the nineteenth into the early twentieth century, people in different regions of the Ottoman Empire witnessed numerous railroad accidents that caused death, injury, and property damage. These accidents became a major source of concern for the Ottoman ruling elites, and they worked on measures to prevent them from occurring. One of the early measures was a regulation to delineate the offenses and penalties for railroad safety violations. This study provides an overview of this June 1867 regulation and investigates its implementation within the context of its articles dealing with stock animals trespassing onto railroad tracks and other restricted sites. One of the major goals of this regulation was to impose restrictions on the movements of animals along railroad tracks. However, these restrictions were contested and resisted in both rural and urban areas. Hence, lengthy conflicts and negotiations ensued involving the owners of trespassing animals, railway companies, and various government offices. Examining some of the conflicts in the European and Anatolian provinces of the empire, this article demonstrates that animal owners from various ranks of society played an important role in shaping the content and implementation of railroad safety regulations.