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1. Weights and Measures

There was no single system or standard of weights and measures in Greater Syria during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and the value of units carrying the same name varied from region to region, town to town, village to village, and even from one soap factory or granary to the next. As seen in Chapter 3, a measuring container could also be made to yield different results depending on who was giving and who was taking. None of this was unusual in agricultural societies that enjoyed a degree of autonomy from central state control. Nevertheless, the shift in the economic center of gravity to the coastal cities, the increasing importance of international trade, and greater urban control over the rural surplus all militated for standardization in the weighing and measuring of agricultural products.[1] A more intrusive Ottoman state set in motion a process of “creeping” standardization in Palestine beginning in the 1840s. Its basic concern was to rationalize taxes on the movement of goods through ports and city gates and to control the units with which taxes collected in kind were measured.[2] Whenever possible, I have defined the value of units on the basis of contemporary local sources, such as records of the Nablus Advisory Council. All of the following units, unless otherwise cited, are for the city of Nablus.[3] Measures of weight, it should be noted, were based on one common denominator: a grain of wheat.[4]

Measures of weight

Equal to 64 grains of wheat, or 3.2 grams[5]
Equal to 1.5 dirhams, or 4.8 grams
Equal to 75 dirhams, or 240 grams
Equal to 400 dirhams, or 5.3 uqiyyas, or 1.28 kilograms
Equal to 900 dirhams, or 12 uqiyyas, or 2.88 kilograms
Equal to 10 ratels, or 28.8 kilograms
Equal to 100 ratels, or 225 uqqas, or one camel load, or 288 kilograms[6]

Measures of Capacity

A dry measure the value of which differed depending on the type of grain as well as on the locale. A sa of wheat in the city of Nablus was equal to 3 ratels and 4 uqiyyas, or 9.6 kilograms; and a sa of barley equaled 2.5 ratels, or 7.2 kilograms. In the subdistrict of Bani Sa‘b, the values were 7.2 kilograms and 5.76 kilograms, respectively.
Equal to 2 sa[7]
Equal to 2 mudd, or 4 sa[8]
Kayla Istanbuliyya(Islambuliyya in local sources)
Equal to 35.27 liters. This became the standard unit of the Ottoman Empire in 1841.[9] On June 3, 1850, the Nablus Advisory Council was notified that they would soon receive a standardized measuring container, called kaylaislambuliyya, in three sizes: 1/8, 1/4, and 1/2. All other measuring containers, the order continued, must be destroyed, and henceforth no one was to use the irdabb as a unit of measure.[10]
In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, an irdabb equaled 182 liters, or about 133.7 kilograms of wheat.[11]
Jar of olive oil
Equal to 16 uqqas[12]

Units of Length

Dhira of fabric
Equal to 68 centimeters
Hindaza of fabric
Equal to 65.6 centimeters[13]
Dhira of builders
Equal to 75 centimeters[14]


1. For example, in 1735 the French consul in Sidon urged Zahir al-Umar to impose a uniform standard of weights for the Galilee (Cohen, Palestine, p. 14). [BACK]

2. Invariably, units of weights and measures appeared in local sources within the context of letters about taxes (NMSR, pp. 43, 50, 132; NICR, 11:18). [BACK]

3. Unless otherwise cited, the following is based on NIMR, 2:275–277. For a detailed survey of weights and measures used in Palestine as a whole, see Arraf, Al-Ard, pp. 224–229. [BACK]

4. NIMR, 2:275. [BACK]

5. Arraf, Al-Ard, p. 224. [BACK]

6. A qintar of Nablus soap was defined as equal to 225 uqqas in NMSR, p. 132; dated August 19, 1851. [BACK]

7. Arraf, Al-Ard, p. 226. [BACK]

8. Ibid. [BACK]

9. Walther Hinz, Al-Makayil wa al-awzan al-islamiyya wa ma yu‘adiluha fi al-nizam al-mitri (Islamic Weights and Measures and Their Metric Equivalent) (trans. Kamil al-Asali; Amman, 1970), pp. 72–73. [BACK]

10. NMSR, p. 43. [BACK]

11. Hinz, Al-Makayil, pp. 58–59. [BACK]

12. NMSR, p. 50; dated July 28, 1852. That same year, another customs document defined a jar of oil destined for soap making in the Jerusalem region as containing 13.5 uqqas (NMSR, p. 132; dated August 15, 1852). [BACK]

13. Hans Wehr, A Dictionary of Modern Written Arabic (ed. J. Milton Cowan; 3d ed.; New York, 1976), p. 1036. [BACK]

14. Arraf, Al-Ard, p. 226. [BACK]

2. Court Records, Judges, and Private Family Papers

Records of the Nablus Islamic Court

The Islamic court records (sijills) of Palestine began to be collected and bound in 1923 on the initiative of Hajj Amin al-Husayni, then both mufti of Jerusalem and head of the Islamic Higher Council.[1] The Nablus sijills are located in the Nablus Islamic Court, and the ones used in this study are listed in Table 10. As indicated below, few records from the sixteenth through the eighteenth centuries have survived. A flash flood near the end of the eighteenth century apparently destroyed all but five volumes, and these cover only a handful of years.[2] From 1798 onward, the records are complete.

10. Islamic Court Records of Nablus, 1655-1865
Volume Number Period Covered Number of Pages
Sources: NICR, 1-13B.
Note: The period covered and the number of pages of each volume in this table differs from the ones provided in Muhammad Adnan al-Bakhit, et. al., Kashshaf ihsa’i zamani li-sijillat al-mahakem al-shar‘iyya wa al-awqaf al-islamiyya fi Bilad al-Sham (Statistical and Chronological Index of the Islamic Court Records and Muslim waqfs in Greater Syria) (Amman, 1984), p. 199. They also differ from the list in Ramini, Nablus fi al-qarn al-tasi ashar, pp. 7-9. Both calculated the period covered by looking at the first and last pages of each volume. These volumes, however, consist of two parts: a listing of cases brought before the court starting form the first page and a chronological listing of all administrative correspondence received, starting from the last page and moving inward. The range of years covered by the second part is substantially longer than that covered by the first. The most important miscalculation is for Volume 7, which they date from 1808-1809, but which in fact covers the years 1808-1817. For many of the volumes they also miscalculated the number of pages.
1 1655-1658 360
2 1685-1689 432
3 1689-1692 194
4 1722-1726 351
5 1728-1729 186
6 1798-1807 370
7 1808-1817 402
8 1817-1830 432
9 1831-1839 417
10 1840-1847 307
11 1847-1850 193
12 1850-1860 382
13A 1860-1863 378
13B 1863-1865 244

Judges of the Nablus Islamic Court

The autonomy of Jabal Nablus within the context of Ottoman rule was reflected by the fact that Nabulsi families provided the judges of the Nablus Islamic court. Jerusalem was the official center of Palestine’s judicial system because of its religious significance.[3] Its Islamic court was consistently assigned a high-ranking judge with the rank of mulla, who was directly answerable to shaykh al-Islam, the highest religious authority in the Ottoman Empire.[4] Until the last quarter of the nineteenth century, the Jerusalem judge was empowered to assign a deputy (na’ib) to each of Palestine’s districts by sending an appointment letter, a copy of which was faithfully recorded in each district’s Islamic court records.[5] These appointment letters show that the Jerusalem judge, typically a person from outside Palestine who served for no more than one year, usually confirmed a choice that was locally made. They also show that Mustafa Khammash and Abd al-Wahid Khammash, father and son, respectively, dominated this position for roughly four of the most turbulent decades of the nineteenth century, hence providing some stability to this important institution.[6]

Private Family Papers

All of the private family documents used in this study are photocopies I made of originals that remain in private hands. In the references, each document is identified by the name of the family and by a reference number. Here, only the family name, time span covered, and types of documents are identified.

  1. Nimr Family Papers. This is the private collection of Ihsan Nimr. It contains a few hundred documents dating from the seventeenth through the nineteenth centuries. They span a wide range, from personal letters and business contracts to property purchases and timar land grants. They also include some documents collected from other families.
  2. Smadi Family Papers. 1637–1881. Most of the documents deal with urban properties, business contracts, or lawsuits.
  3. Arafat Family Papers. 1874–1923. Almost all of the documents are business records and correspondence of Hajj Isma‘il Arafat.
  4. Burqawi Family Papers. 1807–1893. Most of the documents concern acquisitions of property in and around the village of Dayr al-Ghusun.
  5. Tuqan Family Papers. 1689–1866. Most of the documents deal with the purchase of lands and urban properties, especially during the early 1790s.
  6. Jardana Family Papers. 1745–1839. The documents deal with purchases of urban properties, lawsuits, and waqf exchanges.
  7. Abd al-Hadi Family Papers. 1842–1852 (including the Advisory Council Records). The documents deal with tax collection and soap production in the early 1840s.
  8. Khammash Family Papers. 1723–1868. Most of the documents are waqf endowments.
  9. Khalaf Family Papers. 1844–1883. All of the documents pertain to the same property, a house.
  10. Ya‘ish Family Papers. 1674. A waqf endowment.


1. For details on the records of the Nablus Advisory Council, see the discussion in and notes to the Introduction. For a comprehensive overview of these records, see Beshara Doumani, “Palestinian Islamic Court Records: A Source for Socioeconomic History,” MESA Bulletin, 19 (1985), pp. 155–172. Internal records of the Nablus Islamic Court show that all the volumes known to exist today were accounted for in that period. [BACK]

2. Interview with Nazih al-Sayih, head scribe of the Nablus Islamic Court for the past three decades, according to stories that were passed to him (February, 1987). Nimr, writing in the 1930s, made the same claim (NIMR, 1:6). [BACK]

3. For a general overview, see Gibb and Bowen, Islamic Society, 2:86–93. For Palestine, see Doumani, “Palestinian Islamic Court Records,” pp. 155–161. [BACK]

4. According to Gibb and Bowen, there were only 27 mullas in the Ottoman Empire in the second half of the eighteenth century. In rank, Istanbul came first, followed by the Holy Cities of Mecca and Medina, then Cairo and Damascus, followed by Jerusalem, along with three suburbs of Istanbul, Smyrna, Aleppo, Salonika, and Yeni-shehir (Islamic Society, pp. 89, 121). [BACK]

5. No appointment letters were registered for the years 1829, 1831, 1837, 1845, 1852–1853, or 1856–1857. All of these gaps occurred during the long tenures of Abd al-Wahid Khammash and his father, Mustafa Khammash. Most likely, they served during those years. [BACK]

6. A full list of Nablus judges during the 1799–1860 period, as well as the exact dates of their appointment, can be found in Doumani, “Merchants,” pp. 409–411. [BACK]

3. Soap Factories and the Process of Production

The physical layout of soap factories, the types of raw materials used, and the process of production remained remarkably the same throughout the Ottoman centuries and varied little from city to city in Greater Syria. However, the number and price of soap factories in Nablus as well as the volume of soap production increased significantly during the nineteenth century.

Physical Layout and the Process of Production

A typical soap factory in Nablus during the Ottoman period was made up of three basic parts.[1] The first part consisted of wells, located beneath the ground floor, in which olive oil was stored. The number of wells ranged from three to seven, and their capacity varied from five to thirty or more tons each.[2] The largest well was called “the lake” (al-bahra); the smallest, “the adjacent one” (al-janibi, pronounced al-jnayb). The second part took up the entire ground floor, which had a high ceiling designed to absorb heat from the cooking process. In the back and along the sides of the ground floor were storage rooms for the other raw materials: qilw and lime (shid),[3] as well as wood and crushed olive pits (jift).[4] A small room in the front served as an office. The soap-cooking center was usually located in the large, open space in the middle of the ground floor. This section contained the furnace room (qamim), a large copper vat (qidra, or halla), the “adjacent” oil well, fermentation pits for the qilw/shid mixture, and a water tank. The furnace was located below the ground level and reached via a short set of stairs. On top of the furnace sat the copper vat which weighed about one ton.[5] (These vats were expensive and often jointly owned, and/or owned separately from the soap factory itself). Next to the furnace room was the “adjacent” oil well, which held exactly one vat’s worth of olive oil (250 jars, or approximately five tons). The location and size of this well were designed to save measuring time and to conserve energy: by the time the first batch was cooked, the second would already be warm and ready to go. The third part of the soap factory, called al-mafrash, took up the entire second floor. There the cooked soap was spread, cut, dried, and packaged.

Soap production took place in stages, each lasting longer than the previous one. The first stage was preparation of qilw/shid mixture. The qilw was put into a stone urn or mortar (jurn) and pounded into a fine powder with a wooden pestle (mihbash). Meanwhile, the shid was spread in a shallow pit and soaked in water until it coagulated and dried. Then it was rolled and crushed into a fine powder. The two powders were then combined and put into a row of fermentation pits (ahwad, usually three to six in number) that were raised from the floor. Each pit was about 1 meter long, 70 centimeters wide, and 20 centimeters deep. Hot water was then released from a small spigot (mibzal) in the bottom of the copper vat (the oil remained on top) and poured on top of the mixture in the pits. As the water absorbed the chemical content of the mixture, it was allowed to drip slowly into an identical, albeit deeper, series of pits located below. This was repeated until the chemical content of the water reached a certain strength. That water was then added to the vat, so that the oil would absorb the chemicals, closing the cycle. This cycle was repeated dozens of times (an average of forty times) while the hot, liquid soap in the vat was stirred continuously with a long, oarlike piece of wood called the dukshab.

Controlling the soda content of the liquid soap as well as the speed of the coagulation process was the all-important task of the supervisor (ra‘is). Taken out too early, the soap would not dry well. Taken out too late, the soap would become very hard and difficult to cut. The critical decision of when to stop the cooking process was based largely on the sense of smell. A round, 60-centimeter-long wooden stick, called al-shammama, was dipped into the liquid soap and then sniffed. If the supervisor thought it was ready, he passed the stick to the soap-factory owner for consultation. In case of disagreement, an expert was called in to render an opinion.

The cooking process took about eight days. This is why the product was and still is referred to as the tabkha, which loosely translates as “a cooked batch.”[6] Each tabkha consumed 250 jars of oil (5,128 kilograms).[7] The large amount and expense of the oil involved often forced oil merchants to pool their resources in order to commission just one batch of soap. The other raw materials, usually provided by the soap-factory owner, amounted to approximately 7 qintars of qilw,[8] 10 qintars of shid,[9] and about 25 jars of water per tabkha.[10]

When the liquid soap was ready, it was carried in wooden barrels up to the al-mafrash via a steep set of stairs. There the soap was poured on the large floor and was contained by planks of wood about 3–5 centimeters high. After the soap firmed up, the uneven top layer was shaved off with a scraper (mabshara) to smooth the surface. Then strings dusted with white powder were stretched across at regular intervals a few centimeters above the surface and plucked, so that the powder fell and formed lines on top of the soap. Following these lines, workers holding a long, wooden stick with a sharp metal piece attached at the bottom cut the soap into cubes, each called a falqa.[11] Later, other workers put the factory’s mark on each cube of soap by stamping it with a metal seal attached to a wooden hammer. The soap was then stacked into tall, hollow structures, called tananir, which were shaped like inverted cones. A space was left between each cube of soap for ventilation. The al-mafrash usually had long, high windows to speed up the drying process, which, depending on type of soap and its destination, took anywhere from three months to a year. After it dried, the soap was put into sacks and loaded onto camels for shipment. Each tabkha netted anywhere from 20 to 22.5 qintars, or roughly six tons, of soap.[12]

Numbers and Prices of Soap Factories

In eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Nablus, most soap factories were located in the Habala, Yasmina, and Gharb quarters. With the doubling of soap-factory buildings after the mid-nineteenth century, the number of operational soap factories in the Gharb and Yasmina quarters grew, and most of the production became concentrated in the southern and western parts of the city, near what is today known as “Soap-Factories Street” (shari al-masabin).

It is not clear how many soap factories existed in Nablus during the eighteenth century. The extant records of the Islamic court for that time are limited to less than ten years, and there were only a few transactions involving soap factories. Not so for the nineteenth century. The records are fairly complete, and because soap production began to increase significantly by the mid-1820s, references to soap factories became more frequent as they were renovated, rented, sold, endowed as waqf, and fought over. Judging from these records, there were at least 13 soap-factory buildings at the turn of the nineteenth century. Of these, four were described as abandoned, ruined, and/or transformed into residences and warehouses. Five others, said to be in bad need of repairs, were renovated by the late 1820s. Only four factories seemed to be fully functional (see Table 11). By the late 1820s, therefore, there were at least nine operational soap factories.

11. Soap Factories in Nablus, Early Nineteenth Century
Name Quarter Status
Sources: NICR 4-13B.    
Yusifiyya[1] Habala Renovated
Bashawiyya[2] Habala Renovated
Sawwariyya[3] Habala Renovated
Rukabiyya[4] Habala Not operational
Bishtawiyya[5] Yasmina Functional
Sultaniyya[6] Yasmina Functional
Shunnariyya[7] Yasmina Not operational
Husniyya[8] Yasmina Renovated
Hallaqiyya[9] Yasmina Functional
Gharzaniyya[10] Gharb Not operational
Shaytaniyya[11] Qaryun Functional
Uthmaniyya[12] Qaryun Renovated
Shafi‘iyya[13] Qaysariyya Not operational

By 1860, there were 15 fully functional soap factories in Nablus, according to Rosen,[13] and by 1882 30 factories, according to a British trade report.[14] Tamimi and Bahjat, in a visit to Nablus during World War I, noted that there were 29 fully operational soap factories in Nablus, 23 of them large and the rest small.[15] In sum, from 1800 to 1917, the number of soap-factory buildings in Nablus doubled, and that of operational soap factories more than tripled. The first major phase of expansion in terms of facilities began in the 1820s, when a number of already existing factories were renovated and put back into production. The second phase began in the 1850s, when a number of new soap factories were built and/or already existing structures—such as tanneries, pottery works, and warehouses—were converted into soap factories.[16]

The available information indicates that prices for fully operational soap factories appreciated significantly, although the exact rate cannot be established or adjusted for the rate of devaluation of the piaster.[17] The Husniyya soap factory, for instance, cost 900 piasters in November 1802,[18] 1,800 piasters in September 1811,[19] and 120,000 piasters in June 1856.[20] The Hallaqiyya soap factory (along with some adjacent property) jumped from 10,500 piasters in December 1829 to roughly 28,000 piasters in September 1835 and to 50,000 piasters in January 1840.[21] In October 1834 the Shaqrawiyya soap factory was bought from the survivors of the recently executed Qasim al-Ahmad (leader of the 1834 revolt against the Egyptian occupation) for 16,000 piasters,[22] but it was worth 132,000 when it was acquired a generation later by a rich merchant over a two-year period (1860–1862).[23]

The above examples are meant only as a rough approximation of trends. The range of prices differed during the same period, sometimes widely, depending on the size, condition, equipment, and properties attached to each soap factory. The relationship with the buyer and political leverage also played important roles. Still, it makes sense that there was a steep rise in prices between 1800 and 1860. First, real estate values in general increased during this period, due to the growing population and to heavy investment by merchants in urban properties, especially after they gained access to political office in the 1840s. Second, it was far quicker, less expensive, and more convenient to acquire existing soap factories then to expand and renovate them, rather than to construct new ones, or to attempt to buy a series of properties from a myriad of families in order to convert already existing structures into suitable soap factories. After the initial wave of renovations had run its course by the late 1820s, however, demand for facilities began to outstrip the supply of available factories. Over the next three decades the prices of existing soap factories rose very quickly and soon reached the point at which it became cost effective to construct new ones, especially because soap production doubled soon after the mid-nineteenth century (see below). It must also be remembered, furthermore, that soap factories, once acquired, were almost immediately endowed as family (ahli) waqfs and, technically, were excluded from the real estate market. It was this combination of factors that caused the number of factories in Jabal Nablus to double after the mid-nineteenth century.

Volume of Production

Far more difficult to estimate is the volume of production, although there is little doubt that output increased significantly. The first reliable set of figures available can be calculated from Bowring’s report on soap production in Greater Syria as a whole (Table 12).

12. Soap Production in the Levant, 1837
City/Town Tabkha
Source: Bowring, Commercial Statistics, p. 19.
Aleppo 200-250
Idlib 100-120
Kilis 10-15
Damascus 100
Dayr al-Qamar 200
Jerusalem, Nablus, Gaza, Lydda, Ramla 500
Latakia, Tarsous, Adana ?

All of the figures in Table 12 are estimates for a good year.[24] Bowring does not mention Tripoli, although other sources cite it as an important soap-manufacturing city.[25] For Latakia, Tartous, and Adana, he mentioned only that they produced “some quantities,” implying that it was not much.[26] Still, it is clear that Palestine was the largest single source of soap in the Fertile Crescent. Unfortunately, Bowring does not distinguish among the cities of Palestine, but there is no doubt that Nablus was by far the largest soap-production center. As Schölch shows, for example, the doubling of soap exports from Palestine during the 1860s and 1870s went hand in hand with the doubling of the soap factories in Nablus.[27] In addition, Nablus accounted for thirty of the forty factories in Palestine during this period.[28]

The few available clues as to the volume of soap production in Nablus are not very helpful, though they bear exploring. One set of figures, for 1842–1843, was found among the Abd al-Hadi family papers.[29] This document contains a list of taxes on soap manufacturers calculated according to the number of tabkhas they cooked that year. In all, 75,240 piasters were assessed on 10 producers who cooked a total of 90 tabkhas. This unusually small number, it must be immediately pointed out, does not include the production of at least two soap factories, both owned by the Abd al-Hadis. The precedent for this practice was set in 1838, when soap producers agreed among each other to assess taxes according to the number of tabkhas except for those produced in the Shaqrawiyya and the Sawwariyya soap factories, both owned by the Abd al-Hadis.[30] The Abd al-Hadis were the most powerful ruling family in Palestine throughout the 1830s, and they obviously used their political clout to exempt themselves from taxes. It is not clear whether any of their allies were also exempted. It is also not clear from the document whether these taxes were calculated for the entire production of that year or only for those batches that, for one reason or another, had not been taxed.

Another major reason why the figure of 90 tabkhas is artificially low is that this document was drafted in 1852–1853: ten years after the fact. Underreporting of both rural and urban production and of the amount of taxes collected were, as one would expect, favorite practices of Nabulsi leaders, because true accounts would leave less in their pockets after they paid the Ottoman government its dues. Also, this document was submitted to the Nablus Advisory Council, whose members, all soap manufacturers, were then embroiled in a battle with the customs officials over taxes on soap production and export.[31] In such circumstances, they would have every incentive to underestimate the true amount of production.

The second figure is from Tamimi and Bahjat’s report in 1917. They estimated that Nablus’s factories produced an average of 400 tabkhas annually.[32] This also might be a low number, because when the authors broke down the production figures on the basis of which family produced how much, they only listed 12 families who, together, produced 317 tabkhas. In any case, the best educated guess that can be made at this time is that the annual volume of production in Nablus increased from roughly an average of 100 tabkhas at the turn of the nineteenth century to approximately 400 tabkhas during the early twentieth century.


1. A detailed description can be found in NICR, 12:154. This account is also based on personal visits. Often, soap factories had residential apartments built above the second floor; that is, buildings were three or sometimes four stories high. Most of the soap factories discussed in Chapter 5 are still standing. [BACK]

2. For example, the al-Qadi soap factory had four wells, each with a capacity of 750 jars of olive oil (about 15 tons), enough for three cooked batches of soap (tabkhas). This soap factory is one of the smaller ones in Nablus. Larger ones have wells with at least twice this capacity. This information is based on a visit to the factory and on a conversation with Husni Ali Abd al-Haq (b. 1922), who, at the time of the interview (August 1, 1990), supervised soap production in this facility. [BACK]

3. Limestone is abundant in the hill regions of Palestine. To make shid, soft limestone is piled in a large pit, covered with wood, and burned. Produced mostly in villages, shid was also used in construction. [BACK]

4. After the oil is pressed, the crushed olive pits are sun dried, then packed for use as fuel. They retain heat and burn for a long time, like small coals. [BACK]

5. NIMR, 2:290. [BACK]

6. Bowring refers to it as a “copper” (Commercial Statistics, p. 19). [BACK]

7. NIMR, 2:291. Tamimi and Bahjat, Wilayat Bayrut, p. 120. Their accounts were confirmed by the account-books of the Yusifiyya soap factory and the inheritance estate of the Bishtawi brothers. See Chapter 5. [BACK]

8. Nimr claims that 10 qintars of qilw went into each tabkha (NIMR, 2:291). [BACK]

9. This figure was calculated using a log of expenses and profits for the Yusufiyya soap factory (see Chapter 5). According to this log, dated 1826, approximately 147 qintars of shid were used for 21 batches of soap. See below for details. [BACK]

10. Not a single source mentions the amount of water, and some ignore it al-together. The figure of 25 jars is calculated from the formula provided in Muhammad Sa‘id al-Qasimi, Qamus al-sina‘at al-shamiyya (2 vols.; Paris, 1962), 2:268. [BACK]

11. The size of each falqa differed, depending on the destination. Those exported to Egypt measured about 3 by 5 by 5 centimeters and were twice as large as the ones cut for local consumption. [BACK]

12. NIMR, 2:291; Tamimi and Bahjat, Wilayat Bayrut, p. 120. [BACK]

13. G. Rosen, “Über Nablus und Umgegend,” Zeitschrift der Deutschen Morgenländdischen Gesellschaft, 14 (1860), p. 638; cited in Schölch, “European Penetration,” p. 50. [BACK]

14. Cited in ibid. [BACK]

15. Tamimi and Bahjat, Wilayat Bayrut, p. 119. [BACK]

16. Some of the new names were Shaqrawiyya, Salihiyya, Khayyatiyya, Asaliyya, Ayshiyya, and al-Qadi. See Chapter 5. [BACK]

17. Soap factories were rarely sold as a whole. The following prices were calculated from the sale of shares. [BACK]

18. NICR, 6:165. [BACK]

19. Ibid., 7:84. A year earlier the Bishtawiyya soap factory had sold for 900 piasters (ibid., 7:40), but five years later, in January 1816, another factory, the Bashawiyya soap factory, sold for 9,000 piasters (ibid., 7:363). [BACK]

20. Ibid., 12:154. [BACK]

21. Respectively, ibid., 8:328, 361; 9:151; 10:267. In September 1839 the Uthmaniyya soap factory sold for roughly 33,556 piasters (ibid., 9:399). [BACK]

22. Ibid., 9:180. [BACK]

23. Ibid., 13A:31–36, 74–75, 110–111. [BACK]

24. Olive trees produce abundantly only every other year. [BACK]

25. For example, Kurd Ali, Khitat al-Sham, 4:159; Tamimi and Bahjat, Wilayat Bayrut, p. 54. [BACK]

26. Bowring, Commercial Statistics, p. 19. There is also some confusion concerning the size of each tabkha. Bowring gives the figure of 20 to 22 qintars of soap each for Aleppo, Idlib, and Kilis but specifies 3,200 uqqas, which only comes to 16 qintars, for all other cities and towns. As we have seen, however, in Nablus each tabkha produced about 20–22.5 qintars of dry soap. [BACK]

27. Schölch, “European Penetration,” p. 50. [BACK]

28. Ibid. [BACK]

29. Abd al-Hadi Family Papers, 1.1.4. [BACK]

30. NICR, 9:393. [BACK]

31. For example, NMSR, pp. 221–222. [BACK]

32. Tamimi and Bahjat, Wilayat Bayrut, p. 119. [BACK]

The following brief definitions are based on the context in which these terms appeared in the local sources.

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