Sultan Abdul Hamid II of Turkey

September 22, 1842: Birthdate of  Abdul Hamid II who issued a firman in 1889 stating “That there shall be no interference with the Jews’ places of devotional visits and of pilgrimage, that are situated in the localities which are dependent on the Chief Rabbinate, nor with the practice of their ritual.”  (Mitchell Levin)

Abdul Hamid II was the 34th sultan of Turkey, who ruled from 1876 to 1909.  While his policy (stated above) towards the Jews in his country was lenient, his regime was autocratic and was effectively a brutal dictatorship which was responsible for government-led pogroms and massacres of Armenians and Bulgarians.

Despite his conservatism and despotic rule, some modernization of the Ottoman Empire occurred during Abdul Hamid’s long reign, including reform of the bureaucracy, the enhancement of the country’s railways, the establishment of a system for population registration and control over the press and the founding of the first modern law school in 1898. The most far-reaching of these reforms were in education: professional schools were established. The University of Istanbul, although shut down by Abdul Hamid himself in 1881, was reopened in 1900, and a network of secondary, primary, and military schools was extended throughout the empire. Railway and telegraph systems were developed by primarily German firms.  (Wikipedia)

Shown here is a 1-piastre postage due stamp from 1908, bearing the tughra (official seal) of Abdul Hamid II.  The stamp is listed in the Michel catalog as #TR P29 and in the Yvert Tellier catalog as TR T41.



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