Jevdet Pasha (1822–1895)

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JEVDET PASHA (1822–1895)

Ahmet Jevdet Pasha was an Ottoman historian, administrator, and educational and judicial reformer. Born in Bulgaria, he pursued a religious education; dissatisfaction with traditional methods led him to study secular mathematics, law, and history. He wrote the first Ottoman grammar primer in Turkish, Kavaid-i Osmaniye.

Jevdet's unique combination of religious and secular education made him useful as an advisor to the Tanzimat reformer, Mustafa Resit Pasha. He worked on educational reforms, wrote a religious text for schoolchildren, and began his history of the later Ottoman Empire, Tarih-i Jevdet, based on state papers and personal observation. He became a judge and member of the government, writing judicial and cadastral regulations. After a series of administrative positions in the reformist government of the Tanzimat, he became minister of justice, established a secular court system, and drew up a modernized Islamic law code, the Mejelle (1869–1876), based not on French law but on Islamic Hanafi law.

Jevdet opposed the constitution of 1876 and the deposition of Sultan ˓Abdulaziz. He served the absolutist Sultan ˓Abd al-Hamid II in various ministerial posts and prosecuted the reformer Midhat Pasha for the murder of ˓Abdulaziz (1881). He retired in 1882 and continued work on his history and his memoirs, Tezakir, but returned to government service from 1886 until his death in 1895.

See alsoModernization, Political: Administrative, Military, and Judicial Reform .


Chambers, Richard L. "The Education of a Nineteenth Century Ottoman Alim, Ahmed Cevdet Pasa." International Journal of Middle East Studies 4 (1973): 440–464.

Lewis, Bernard. The Emergence of Modern Turkey. Oxford, U.K.: Oxford University Press, 1961.

Linda T. Darling