One of the main objectives of IRCICA is to help the progress of scholarly research on the history and the cultures of the Islamic countries. To this aim, the Centre endeavors to facilitate the access of researchers around the world to the historical and present sources –texts, documents, publications, etc. that contain information needed for their studies. With regard to the history of Arab countries, the official documents dating from the Ottoman State are first-hand records of facts in all spheres of life. However, they demand proficiency in deciphering Ottoman texts. As a contribution in this respect, and to facilitate the task of researchers whose working language is Arabic, the Centre undertook to publish samples of Ottoman documents, selected for the relevance of their contents or their importance as landmarks, relating to the administrative, cultural, social, and international relations history of Arab lands. The documents are accompanied by their Arabic translations and brief analyses and classified according to the geographic regions. These volumes form a series titled “History of Muslim Countries in the Light of Ottoman Archive Documents”. Ten volumes, prepared by Prof. Dr. Fadel Bayat from IRCICA, have been published. The last one, relating to the Wilaya or Tunis, appeared at the end of 2021.
The Preface by Ambassador Prof. Dr. Mahmoud Erol Kılıç, Director General of IRCICA, is followed by the author’s Introduction, which describes the methodology, the difficulties encountered, and the importance of scholarly studies concerning the history of the region.
The book consists of seven chapters that bring together documents about the political status of Tunis in the Ottoman period, administrative affairs, judicial affairs, endowments and religious affairs, economic affairs, military affairs, the Hafsid rulers of Tunisia, local leaders, families and notables. The analysis of each document is accompanied by its image. A general index of names, places and terms is provided, to facilitate researchers’ use of the information contained in the documents. The majority of the documents presented in the volume were unpublished before. Altogether, they contribute to shedding light on the history of Tunis in the 16th century.