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A Pre-Modern Middle-Eastern Population Brought to Light:Digitization of the 1848 and 1868 Egyptian Individual-Level Census Records

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ID: <10670/1.jjv5ss>


This paper describes my digitization project of two nationally representative samples of the 1848 and 1868 Egyptian censuses from the original manuscripts at the National Archives of Egypt, and introduces an application of the data in the field of Egyptian economic history. Our knowledge about pre-modern Middle Eastern societies has been limited by the lack of data. The 1848 and 1868 Egyptian individual-level census records provide two detailed snapshots of the Egyptian population in its early attempts to make the transition into a modernized society. Carried out during the reigns of Muhammad Ali (1805-1848) and Ismail (1863-1879) respectively, these censuses are perhaps the earliest in the Middle East and among the earliest in any non-Western country to include information on all segments of society including females, children, and slaves, and on a wide range of demographic and socioeconomic variables.

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