As a result of advances and changes in arms technology and war tactics, the need for engineering services gradually increased from the the seventeenth century and brought about the formation of separate engineering units within the armies of many countries in the eighteenth century. The existing state of being educated on the basis of skills acquired through serving de facto for long years within the armed and naval forces (alaylı) as well as on the basis of the acquisition of technical skills through an education and practical training made it necessary to establish schools in technical branches related to engineering in the eighteenth century. The establishment of schools, which began in the last quarter of this century in earnest, appears in the Topçu Ocağı / Sürat Topçuları (Artillery Corps), the shipyard (in the naval forces), and specifically in the armed forces for technical classes such as the Humbaracı (Bombardiers) and Lağımcı (Miners). Engineering branches such as marine geography, cartography, shipbuilding engineering-architecture, and fortification and construction of new-style castles gained importance. As a result, the establishment of naval and military engineering schools, Mühendishane-i Bahri (School of Naval Engineering, 1775) and Mühendishane-i Berri (School of Military Engineering, 1795), became inevitable.

The reformation of the Ottoman navy, which had been losing its importance as a tool of proactive foreign policy since the sixteenth century, gained urgency, particularly following the severe blow of the Russian fleet in Çeşme (1770). Specialization, which was based on experience within the framework of the master-apprentice relationship, still occupied the largest space in meeting the technical needs of the period. Furthermore, increased schooling and the requirement for professional training, as seen in Europe, started exerting strong pressure on the Ottoman Empire. In 1772, Reisülküttab (chief of the scribes, and the minister of foreign affairs in practice at the time) İsmail Bey pointed out the fact that there was no lack of material and spiritual needs for war, however they were experiencing great difficulties in management due to insufficient technical service.1 This statement of his serves as a reminder, similar to the one, in Europe following the Seven Years War (1763), about the weakness of existing military personnel and the necessity for schooling. Humbaracı Ahmed Pasha (Bonneval) and Baron de Tott attempted to meet the need for modernizing the technical classes in the army, specifically the Humbaracıs and Topçus, by means of exaggerated activities in earlier periods,2 whereas naval training was dealt with in a small educational institution following the end of the Russian War in 1774. Nonetheless, Ottoman sources on these technological advances in the early period are extremely insufficient, problematic from a content perspective, and quite limited in terms of information. Therefore they are not favorable for explicitly following the developments in question. For this reason, narratives in the sources solely provide repeated information on the matter. The most significant and authentic sources of information are the reports and correspondences of French experts and envoys (invited for providing technical service) with their host states about their work. As a consequence, it is not possible to fathom the necessities, weakness and progress of the Ottoman world in technical field without having recourse to these sources.

1- The shipyard where the Imperial Naval Engineering School was located (BOA, C. Y, no. 447)


Referred to as École de Théorie or École de Mathématiques and Hendesehane or Hendese Odası in French and Turkish sources respectively, and opened in an empty ship hangar within the district of Darağacı, the school began education with a limited number of students including those of old age. Naval education was referred to as Hendesehane or Riyaziye Mektebi, and was not deemed suitable for the name Mühendishane (the school took this name later in 1781) during these early years. New findings on the school’s opening date have not gained prevalence, which resulted from the weakness of our historians in following the literature. The date 29 April 1775 should not be a source of controversy any more.3 It is also noteworthy that references to Baron de Tott regarding the opening of the school are exaggerated; that Tott’s much-mentioned Memoir is not a reliable source, and that there are serious doubts about the authenticity of the work, i.e., that the whole of it was penned by Tott. Therefore, information provided by Baron de Tott should be prudently evaluated, and it is also worth questioning the reliability of his account (also used as a widespread example for the ignorance of Turks in Europe) on the examination held for the registration of the students during Hendesehane’s opening (for example, the answer “it depends on the triangle” to the question “what is the sum of the interior angles of a triangle?”). Tott’s Memoir was published in French in 1784, and translated into English and German from French three years later. However, our comparison of all three translations of the text demonstrated that the German copy did not allocate any space for this exam comedy, the question and the answer as well as the term “ignorance.” While there does not exist any explanation with regard to this disposal in the German preface, there is no doubt that the absurdity of this story was brought up and Tott’s reliability was questioned by means of an intervention in the German text.4

2- The old style galley found in Mahmud Raif’s book published by the publishing house of Mühendishane-i Berr-i Hümayun (the School for Artillery Officers)

Owing to a limited number of documents reflecting the situation of the school at the shipyard and the impossibility to learn more from the existing ones, the written statement dated February 3, 1797 and presented to Selim III by Küçük Hüseyin Pasha still maintains its importance as it throws light on the issue proportionally. It is striking that “those competent at engineering and geography” are required to be on the navy ships, and that it provides this as the basis for opening the school that he classifies as the Hendese Odası (Engineering Chamber). The document also verbalizes the fact that ten students were registered at the school; a teacher, an assistant teacher (halife) and a person who was responsible of tools were appointed, and that their payment schemes were also determined. According to this written statement, the school was set to provide education five days a week, excluding a two-day-long holiday. In this way, the lessons were conducted by means of providing information on engineering and naval maps at the school. Hasan of Algeria was appointed as the teacher of the school, now named Mühendishane (the School of Engineering).5 According to an account by André Joseph de Lafitte-Clavé, who worked with him in the following periods, Hasan spoke Italian and could understand French. He served as a captain in Algeria (hence referred to as “of Algeria”) and dreamed of travelling to France one day.6

Visiting the school in 1781, Toderini pointed out that the number of students at the school amounted to approximately fifty. This number probably included the casual listeners. It should also be remembered that practices such as official registration and compulsory attendance were not implemented in this period, and that optional study visits were allowed in schools of this kind in Europe at the time. In addition to the lack of compulsory attendance, the school did not require any examination for graduation. It was reconstructed during the tenure of Halil Hamid Pasha as grand vizier from 1782–1785. First, a separate building with several rooms was constructed near the site where three-masted sailing ships were built—next to the shipyard dungeon—and then, both teachers and students were transferred to there. Data on the renovation of this building in 1797 suggest that it was built as a two-story building with a total size of 189 m2 (9x21m).7 The curriculum was also rearranged, and Lafitte-Clavé and Joseph Gabriel Monnier, who came from France, supported the educational staff. Lafitte-Clavé resided in Turkey between April 1, 1784 and July 31, 1788 and presented his experience in the Journal. He referred to the school as École de Mathématiques and École de Fortification. He used the name Muhendisch-Hané as the equivalent of École du Génie.8 Moreover, he referred to himself as the Engineer in Chief and Monnier as the Second Engineer.9 The classes were held on Mondays and Thursdays. Here, Lafitte-Clavé lectured on fortification in particular. Monnier, in addition to his service in the school, fulfilled extracurricular jobs such as mapping the Bosphorus and the Marmara Sea. He also undertook the fortification of both Bosphorus entrances by means of constructing fortified locations where necessary, and updating and rehandling existing or newly-started works (some of which were undertaken by Tott) which aimed at rendering Istanbul defendable against any Russian attacks. On October 28 (Thursday), 1784, Lafitte-Clavé gave his first lecture in a class of 10 students which he described as “a Turkish-style chamber possessing some books and engineering tools, nine divans and chairs.” He drew a hexagon as the frontal view of a fortification; the students copied this, and one of them showed it to the Shipyard Constabulary Çelebi Mustafa and obtained a good mark thereafter.10 His last lecture was performed on December 29, 1786.11

Lectures provided by French lecturers were classified as practical (applied), interpreted into Turkish by Grégoire Miran, an official interpreter of Armenian origin, and the students generally took notes. In fact, the fortification model was prepared in the garden of the Aynalıkavak Palace and works conducted here amounted to applied lectures. Hasan of Algeria, Gelenbevi İsmail, and Kasapbaşızade İbrahim Efendi (referred to as “Bebekli” in the Journal) provided the theoretical lectures (main engineering classes). In 1787, İsmail Efendi left his office to Palabıyık Mehmed Efendi while Hasan was succeeded by Seyyid Osman. Later on, Bahar Efendi succeeded Palabıyık. İbrahim Efendi’s brother Salih was also interested in engineering. Gelenbevi, on the other hand, served as the head mathematics teacher (maitre de mathématiques). The fortification model required the applied classes to have been completed by December 24, 1784.12 In order to see this model in person, Abdülhamid I paid a visit to Aynalıkavak Palace on January 16, 1785.13 While being content with the state of the school, Lafitte-Clavé regarded the absence of a printing house as a great shortcoming.14 It was planned that the printing house at the French Consulate would be supported with a Turkish typeface and potentially two printing counters to meet this need. Therefore, orders of materials and Turkish (Arabic) typeface arrived on April 1786.15 Two old students of the school Yakub and his son Canib made considerable progress and were interested in triangle calculations (sine, cosine and tangent) and studied maths and logarithms. İbrahim of Hasköy, Müftizade Hoca Osman and Müftizade Emir Seyyid Burhan were among the registered students. Apeaaring in the eighty-sixth class on 15 November 1785, Abdurrahman Efendi16 had been teaching arithmetic for two months according to a record in August 1786.17 He had been translating a part from the third chapter of Étienne Bézout’s book on mathematics (Cours de Mathèmatiques). It is not difficult to guess that this person was engineer Abdurrahman Efendi, who was also the head teacher of the Mühendishane-i Berri opened in 1795.18 It is reported that he served as the clerk of the Mehmed the Conqueror’s imaret (soup kitchen) and as professor.19 Another interesting personality, Hacı Abdullah of Algeria, appeared in the ninety-third class (December 13, 1785).20 According to information provided by Lafitte-Clavé on Hacı Abdullah, he was a Francophile who was trained in piloting in Marseille, worked on a French ship during the last war, and was involved and injured in conflicts. He served as a captain during his last years on Ottoman ships. He was held captive in Spain for sixteen years and returned to see his family. He was a knowledgeable person and was not very enthusiastic about Turks. Furthermore, he complained that the government distributed offices in exchange for money, and that talent and merit were not valued and prioritized.

Kasapbaşızade İbrahim translated some parts of Lafitte-Clavé’s fortification booklet (Castramétation)21 whereas his brother, Salih, was involved in translating the part on rectangular and pentagon fortresses.22 Official translator of the French Consulate, Joseph Fonton, approved these translations.23 Preparing for a war against Russia, the Ottoman state attached extraordinary significance to strengthening fortified locations in the Black Sea and the Bosphorus for the defense of Istanbul. It is seen from the documents that students and teachers desired to contribute to this cause. Grand Vizier Koca Yusuf Pasha approved the plan for the Fortress of Anapa prepared by Lafitte-Clavé for defense purposes. Another plan of Anapa, prepared by İbrahim of Hasköy, who was Lafitte-Clavé’s student, was examined by Hasan Pasha of Algeria, the admiral in chief.24 Kahya Bey did not approve the Anapa plan, drawn by Salih Efendi, as it was uncompleted. In contrast, Seyyid Burhan’s plan was adopted, as it was technically flawless.25

Seyyid Burhan pointed out that Gelenbevi played an effective role in the recruitment of the best students of the school.26 Mimar Aga’s 15 year-old son joined the school as a new student in March 1786.27 Two new students, sent by Gelenbevi, attend the 130th class that took place on May 2.28 It is understood that the number of attendances was not stable and the school did not bear any compulsory attendance condition for students. However, non-attendance for various reasons also applied to Turkish teachers. For instance, Gelenbevi, who did not attend classes at all times, remarked that he would not be able to lecture until the end of Ramadan, which was to start on June 27, 1786.29 To exemplify a fully-attended class, Kasapbaşızade İbrahim and his brother Salih, Gelenbevi, and Canib Efendi (promoted to department head) were among the attendees of the school in the 146th and 148th classes (in August 1786 following the eid). Salih, Osman, and Canib continued their work on the logarithm calculations and trigonometry.30 Taking a graphometer class (corner meter for field measurement) for some time, Salih learned to calculate the angles of a triangle through the Triangulation Method31 and conduct field measurements by ascertaining the distance between the meridian and perpendicular.32 Canib brought the graphometer and demonstrated how to use it.33 Yakub, Mehmed, and some others wanted an education about maps. Hüseyin Aga, one of the above mentioned people, is stated to have been a considerably clever person. Former şeyhülislam’s (chief jurist) son desired to continue his education at the school (6 may 1787).34 Lafitte-Clavé headed for the French Consulate with Bekir and Mehmet who wished to see the printing press (10 October 1786).35

3- The galley constructed by engineer Mustafa the drawing of which is found in Mahmud Raif’s book published by the publishing house of Mühendishane-i Berr-i Hümayun (the School for Artillery Officers)

Despite the fact that two years had passed since the beginning of the classes, the school did not have a nizamname (regulation). Kasapbaşızade İbrahim was an acquaintance of the Grand Vizier Koca Yusuf Pasha and acted to take advantage of this relationship for the school’s benefit. Koca Yusuf Pasha received the grand vizier’s seal in Peloponnese, arrived in Davutpaşa and took office on February 23, 1786. The Grand Vizier visited Tersane on February 27 and deliberated with the Chief Admiral, Hasan Pasha of Algeria, who had helped Koca Yusuf to ascend. Consulting with the grand vizier, İbrahim Efendi articulated his kind request of improving the school’s condition and shared his opinion on the issue. It was predicted that the number of enrollments would be 12 during that period. The enrolled students would be divided into three, and the first four students would be granted a salary of 25 kuruş, whereas the second and third groups of students would be provided with a salary of 15 and 10 kuruş respectively.36 The Tersane emini (director of the Shipyard) considered granting salaries of 20, 15, and 10 respectively. Since the mathematics teacher and director earned 60 kuruş each, there was a need for a monthly allowance of 300 kuruş and thus an allowance of 3,600 kuruş per year. A consultation was held with one of the school head teachers, Hasan Hoca of Algeria, who was appointed as the miri kaptan (royal captain) chief on the grounds of his success during the Russian War, and was to be executed owing to the debacle against the Russian fleet in Kılburun (November 12, 1787). 37 Hasan Pasha confirmed the issue. It is also striking that students were reported to have been demoralized due to negligence and a lack of support from the school. However, in his deliberations with Grand Vizier Yusuf Pasha on June 7, 1786, İbrahim Efendi was promised by the grand vizier that the school’s condition would be handled following the eid.38 İbrahim Efendi pointed out that the school would be built upon a solid ground and financially supported. Students would be granted salaries and an allowance would be allocated for all these activities. Serving as the shipyard director during that time, Mehmed Ataullah Efendi39 even deliberated with Testa, the interpreter of the French Embassy, on the school’s nizamname. Eventually the issue of granting salaries to senior students reached the point of realization in autumn (September 5, 1786). It is also pointed out that this development took place not only thanks to İbrahim Efendi but also the zeal of Gelenbevi and Canib Efendi. As a matter of fact, all three teachers penned a written report on the necessity of their school and presented it to Ahmed Nazif Efendi, the shipyard director on September 8, 1786. The report laid special emphasis on the issue of finding students by the state itself. Examining the report, the shipyard clerk promised that the school would be endowed with a nizamname. However, the grand vizier needed to be consulted with on the issue, and also assured that he would exert his authority regarding the matter. Eventually the grand vizier approved the nizamname for the school and delegated the financial matters to the defterdar (head of provincial treasurer). This probably explains the large number of students in the 156th class at school. Even two black eunuchs of the shipyard director attended the class.40 Dated 15 September 1786, the nizamname was declared on 26 September.41 A ceremony was organized for this occasion at the school on September 25, and 7 students were issued diplomas and granted a monthly salary of 10 kuruş (September 29).42 In the following 159th class, these students congratulated Lafitte-Clavé, and pleased him with their congratulation act. It seems that Ahmed Nazif, who had close relationship with the sultan thanks to his father Selim Aga, played a significant role in the issuance of the nizamname of the school, which was to provide education as a part of the shipyard.43 This development seems to have increased interest in the school as many uneducated enthusiasts attended the 168th class on October 10 and desired to take classes.44 They were followed by an increasing number of attendees. For instance, Amedci’s brother-in-law became a regular participant in the classes of Lafitte-Clavé after October 24. Accompanied by İbrahim Efendi, Clavé extended his thanks to Nazif Efendi in person on October 17.

4- The galley constructed by engineer Ahmed the drawing of which is found in Mahmud Raif’s book published by the publishing house of Mühendishane-i Berr-i  Hümayun (the School for Artillery Officers)

In contrast to Selim III who paid personal visits to the school of engineering in Hasköy, Abüldhamid I did not visit the school itself, although he went to the shipyard many times. For instance, it was found out that the sultan arrived in the shipyard incognito during the 142nd class (with a small number of students and Gelenbevi was not present again), and only glanced at the school while passing by on his horse (June 13, 1786).45

Lecturing 182 classes in total between 28 October 1784–29 December 1786 on Mondays and Thursdays, October 28, 1784 – December 29, 1786, Clavé did not provide detailed information on the content of the lectures and generally noted that “a routine lecture was given” or “proceeded with fortification.” Following the last lecture on December 29, Tuesdays and Fridays were allocated for applied classes in the field. It is understood that applied classes were included in the curriculum upon the request of Grand Vizier Koca Yusuf Pasha.46 The first applied class started off in Okmeydanı on January 2, 1787 with the participation of all students and planchettes. The second applied class was held on January 5 (Friday) and the total number of these classes was 23 between January 2–April 23, 1787. Bidding farewell to his students on April 3, Lafitte-Clavé left the office to Monnier and set out for his new position, the fortification of the Özü Fortress.47 The Journal does not bring any explanation on the fate of Monday-Thursday classes owing to the field classes. Furthermore, the non-existence of a chronological record of these classes amount to the fact that they were replaced with field classes.

It is seen that the Ottoman state disposed of French engineers for the reinforcement of fortified locations. However, it was capable of executing defense measures in a sufficient manner with its own local staff by means of the involvement and guidance of foreign experts. Manufacturing could be realized ideally on the condition that the most significant parts of the job were demonstrated by the experts. Teachers and students at the school were disposed of for drawing the technical and construction plans of fortresses. An initiative was undertaken upon the request of Hasan Pasha of Algeria by the state for starting the building of 30 ships, which were to be completed in the spring of 1786.48 Drawing of these ships by both French and local engineers was significant in terms of demonstrating the fact that schooling initiatives were instrumental in building up an adequate store of knowledge. It would not be a realistic approach to expect that the war mechanism of an empire would retaliate for a grand enemy by means of technical knowledge generated by an institution with its limited number of students and teachers under the name of mühendishane. Moreover, as indicated in the report of Küçük Hüseyin Pasha, French teachers were generally fortress engineers who were competent in fortification and fortress construction, and “they do not have any relationship with the shipyard.” This statement holds significance in terms of pointing out the need for performing practices in the field of military engineering. Owing to the fact that there was not another educational institution except for the existing school of engineering in the shipyard, both naval and military engineering schools were required to be gathered under a single roof. Definitions such as “participants” and “dilettantes” used for attendees of the classes indicate the lack of a system comprising diploma awards, official enrollment, compulsory attendance, and success in an examination. Assigning salaries at certain amounts to some teachers and students and the requirement for enrollment and attendance points to the commencement of a system. The goal of the school was to expand both in size and the number of staff by forming of a group of students liable for compulsory attendance that were assigned with salaries, though small amounts, that would ultimately result in the training of students as prospective teachers. Nonetheless, weak conditions resulted in the inability to meet educational needs on a teacher, student, and learning basis, and the failure to have an integrated approach to education with all levels and stages. This situation would apply to not only the naval but also the military school of engineering for long periods. Neither institution would be able to enjoy the desired development levels as seen in their European counterparts. Undoubtedly, each institution functions as a part of the whole, hence the general situation of the state. And the whole serves as a mirror of weaknesses or imperfections that plays a great role in this. From this perspective, it is not coincidental that the reforms and restoration attempts commencing during the reign of Selim III (Nizam-ı Cedid) were aimed at reforming the entire state including both military and civil administration.

The application submitted to France for the provision of experts in maritime and shipbuilding, as well as military engineers such as Lafitte Clavé and Monnier, received an affirmative reply. Hence, Jean-Jacques Sébastien le Roy arrived in Istanbul accompanied by a team of seven experts, including his assistant engineer Durest, carpenter, drilling and caulker masters, and assistants in September 1784. They started to work in the shipyard after they were assigned with salaries and rations. Le Roy was referred to as Serkalfa-yı Kalyon (chief masterbuilder of the galleon) and his team built approximately 112 ships on modern lines49 in different classes (2 frigates, 4 corvettes, 1 sail gondola, 1 galliot, 53 bombardes in assorted sizes and with assorted equipment, 16 large gunboats) between 1784–1788. 50 The most important of these was the galleon named Mukaddeme-i Nusret, which was engineered by Le Roy and equipped with 74 cannonballs. Completed in 1787, the ship was disassembled owing to decrepitude in 1800.51 During these four years, Le Roy also contributed to the training of expert Turkish engineers who would be skilled enough to build ships. Upon the return of French engineers and masters to their homeland due to the Austro-Russian War (September 1788), people such as Seyyid Mustafa and Ahmed Hoca, assistants of Osman Hoca lecturing on marine science and geographical maps, were reported to have built ships on their own particularly during the services of Le Brun (1793). Both Seyyid Mustafa and Ahmed Hoca learned, from Le Brun, how to build a ship with geometrical measurements and transferred this acquired knowledge to others.52 The frigate named Bülheves was carrying a crew of 275 and 40 cannonballs and was covered with copper at the bottom. In the same vein, the galleon built by Ahmed Hoca in Mytilene was named Ziver-i Bahri, which had a crew of 700 and 68 cannonballs. It was also covered with copper at the bottom.53 Pictures of these ships dating back to 1796 can be found in Mahmud Raif’s work.54 Also a student of Le Brun, Çavuşoğlu Mustafa built a frigate in 1797 named Hediyyetü’l-mülük which had a crew of 200, 46 cannonballs, was covered with copper at the bottom, and was included in Mahmd Raif’s book.

Following the opening of the military engineering school (Mühendishane-i Berri) in Hasköy in 1795, military and naval education at the shipyard engineering school underwent significant changes and both engineering schools were ultimately separated to serve their specific fields. Galleon building and maritime sciences were allocated for the Mühendishane-i Bahri whereas shipbuilding with comparative geometry and territorial sciences were to be provided at the Mühendishane-i Berri. The classes at the naval school were divided into two: 1) shipbuilding engineering 2) mapping and geography (maritime sciences). Le Brun was responsible for the shipbuilding engineering class. While Ahmed Hoca served as his head assistant, Seyyid Mustafa was appointed as his second assistant (1797). Seyyid Osman Efendi served as the lecturer of the mapping and geography classes in 1794. He was appointed as a teacher at the new school of military engineering in 1795, and returned back to the school of naval engineering in 1797. Le Brun had to return back to France on the grounds of the French attack on Egypt in 1798 (1799). He was substituted by Jean-Baptiste Benoit. Ahmed and Mustafa Hoca continued teaching the theoretical classes whilst the applied naval classes were provided by the French engineer, Parale. In the meantime, a group of 20 students, including the offspring of teachers, captains, and employees, were enrolled in the school. Upon Parale’s departure on account of war, the applied classes were performed by means of appointing students to ships on campaign.

5- The reference books of Sultan Selim III who paid special attention to the development of shipyard and was the founder of Mühendishane-i Berr-i Hümayun (the Schoolfor Artillery Officers): On the left from up to down <em>Mushaf-ı Şerif (the Holy Qur’an), Şifa-i Şerif, Fatawa, Kanunname, Motecuccoli (Sanayi-i Harb), Vauban</em>. On the right from up to down: <em>Siyer-i Veysi, Divan-ı Nabi, Cihannüma, Tarih-i Naima, Tarih-i Raşid, Atlas-ı Kebir</em> (Detail from Konstantin Kapıdağı’s portrait of Sultan Selim III, Topkapı Palace Museum, no. 17/30)

There is no doubt that Le Brun was the actual architect and head engineer of the new fleet formed during Selim III’s reign, and performed significant services for the state. For instance, 47 ships, comprising 19 galleons, 15 frigates, and 13 corvettes, were built between 1796–1799. Among these, the galleon of Selimiye, with a crew of 1,200 and 62 cannonballs; the admiral galleon, Tavus-ı Bahri, with a crew of 900 and 82 cannonballs; upper-half and lower-half rear admiral ships named Heybet-endaz and Beşaret-nüma with a crew of 850 and 76 cannonballs each; 9 large galleons including the galleon named Badi-i Nusret with a crew of 900 and 82 cannonballs; and Aslan-ı Bahri with a crew of 850 and 76 cannonballs were built by Le Brun himself in the shipyard.

It is also stated that a large part of the ships built by various engineers in shipyards outside Istanbul (Bodrum, Gemlik, Kal‘a-i Sultaniye, Mytilene, Sinop, Rodos, Ereğli, Limni, Korfu, Rodos, Kalas, Sohum) were built according to plans (line plan) approved by Le Brun. In addition to foreign engineer-architects such as French Benoit, Venetian Joseph, Swedish Klintberg, architect Philip and Antoine, there are references to master assistants including İsmail Kalfa, who served as an architect during Abdülhamid I’s reign, architect Papaço, architect Dimitri, Nikola, Nevsim, Kara Yorgi, Çakır Ali, Fidanoğlu and Mehmet, and Ahmed and Mustafa Hoca from the school of engineering.55 Çavuşoğlu Mustafa should also be included in the abovementioned list. The number of junior officers and recruits was estimated to be 20,495, whereas there were an estimated number of 2,329 cannonballs.56 Thereby, the Ottoman naval force, which had been reported to have a weakened defense force even in the Dardanelles, was substantially reinforced and renewed during Selim III’s reign. Nevertheless, collected data on the condition of the naval forces previously did not yield a bright picture. Arriving in Istanbul in 1784, a French junior officer, Bonneval,57 painted a rather dark picture of the condition of the Ottoman naval forces in his report. He stated that anyone with a little bit of maritime knowledge purchased captainships like stock shares, that captains embezzled state funds through various means (the most popular method: forcing half of the staff to embark upon land following the departure from Istanbul and pocketing the salaries and funds allocated for these staff members), that they had no knowledge of navigation, that navigators, most of whom were of Greek origin, knew nothing except for knowledge based on their experience and were therefore disorientated from their path in the event of losing sight of the mainland, and that they did not know how to use a compass, and that a warship stopped by İzmir or Rhodes first and looked for a European ship to follow in order to reach its destination. Although there is a bit of exaggeration in these statements, they mostly hold true. Ömer Faruk Efendi says “any captain sailing from Tophane to Sarıyer was deemed a master captain.”58 Pointing to the disorder on decks, Bonneval states that the decks abounded in wooden cabins, that the taffrail was full of huts allocated for junior officers, that there was almost no room on the deck, that they set up fires all around the ship, that no training and cannonball drills were performed, that it was quite difficult for the ships to switch to the war position, and that cannons and cannonballs were incompatible.59 The legal codes, related the Shipyard and Navy, works of Nuri, Vasıf and Cevdet,60 as well as Mahmud Raif Efendi’s work61 dating back 1798 confirm the correctness of Bonneval’s statements dated 22 April 1784.

According to Bonneval’s report, 16 of a total of 24 galleons (2 with 74; 12 with 64; 10 with 54 cannonballs respectively) were in good condition. 9 of these are ready for operations. In addition to the fact that 12 frigates out of 15 were in good condition, only nine were operational. Smaller ships were not in any better condition than these.62 Due to insufficient maintenance and careening, the ships were nondurable and taken out of service within a short time. In order to eliminate this weakness, there would be an attempt to construct a large dry pool (1797-1800) during the reign of Selim III.63 The relative peace period in the second half of the eighteenth century resulted in not only the vulnerability of the army owing to the loss of master commanders, but also the malfunction of the navy in time. Sailing into the Mediterranean every year, the navy did nothing but rob the islanders.64 The chief captains “had no idea about naval affairs.” In the appointments of naval staff, qualifications and skills were not considered. It was not known that voyages did not require a great deal of “knowledge and experience.” For this reason, the navy was unable to retaliate against European navies and deal with the problem of piracy in the Mediterranean. Hence, pilgrims bound to Egypt and merchants would ask for help from foreigners against the pirates.65 Shipbuilding was not economical and cost three to five-times as much, and provinces liable for providing wood to this end were unable to perform their duties.66

The sterns of the galleons were replete with numerous cabins and thus not suitable for battling. The disorder on the deck created difficulty even for walking. The ships would soak up the water in a year and malfunction as a result of wet-nailed wood. Naval soldiers, who were known as kalyoncu (mariner), would cause discomfort through their undisciplined and rude behavior among the public, and did not serve for any purpose either. The crew, mostly recruited by force and comprised of laborers and peasants, was incapable of navigating and battling and would be easily exhausted by waves. Captainships were granted or sold to incompetents. They would share the allowances paid by the state under the name of kalyoncu ulufesi. The defeat in Çeşme was directly caused by the abovementioned weakness in the navy.67 As seen, Cevdet Pasha’s notes paint a grimmer picture than Bonneval’s.

In addition to the Bahriye Kanunnamesi (The Naval Code), registered in the Başmuhasebe (accountancy in chief) on January 14, 1793, and the nizamname68 of the shipyard, issued on July 11, 1792, some extra arrangements were undertaken with respect to the navy.69 The number of senior naval officers (zabitan-ı bahriye) was registered as 3,000 in this document. Captains-in-chief, yelkencis (sailmakers), second and third captains, gemi ağası (master of the ship), and topçubaşıs (chief commander of the artillery) were awarded with a pay-rise and promotions. Their salary was openly indicated, and it was stipulated that all the abovementioned ranks including the captains were required to “be an expert in their field and have merits.”70 It was also stipulated that, in the event of an available captainship position, the captainship would be handed over to co-captains of the kapudane (chief admiral) by means of a succession system. Furthermore, patrone (rear admiral upper half) co-captains and skilled caravelle captains would serve as co-captains to patrone and riyale (vice-admiral). However, since co-captainship required a sufficient body of knowledge, the Shipyard Code, which was issued the previous year, included the provision that better-equipped and experienced co-captains would be preferred instead of using the automatic succession system. Therefore, an examination would be conducted by the sailing captains in order to determine the most skilled, and the successful candidates would be appointed accordingly. In the same vein, a requirement for merit and skills was brought for other appointments as well. In this way, favoritism was eliminated.71

Mahmut Raif Efendi’s work introducing the reforms performed during the period of Nizam-ı Cedid,72 the chapter, entitled “The Order of the Shipyard,” includes the latest developments in maritime area since 1792 and puts them into perspective. This work also highlights that purchase of captainships by incompetent personalities and abuses arising out of this malaise came to a halt. All captains were assigned to frigates, galleons and şehtiyes (xebec) in accordance with their knowledge and skills, and appointed as süvari (captain) through identification. It was aimed to eliminate the problem of bribery by ensuring a long-lasting service on the same ship for the captains as long as they did not commit crimes which would result in their dismissal. A salary rise was also implemented, embezzlement of allocated ship equipment was prevented by means of certain control procedures. Arrangements were also made for the food and subsistence problems of the ship crew. The practice of cooking food on decks was terminated, and a ship kitchen was built for providing food with the crew. The disorder on decks was eliminated through the removal of water barrels and boxes of provisions. A salary rise was also put into effect for the shipyard laborers preventing them from acquiring extra work outside. Ship careening and maintenance were improved thanks to the construction of a dry pool. The problem of laborer deficit tried to be solved by bringing 200 Arabic caulkers from Egypt. As seen in the example of the vessel Mukaddeme-i Nusret, they desired to assure a long-lasting service period for vessels by means of improved maintenance just as in England. To this end, the bottoms of the vessels were covered with copper. The warships would perform by lining up in two rows and perform battle shows by Topkapı, Beşiktaş or the Aynalıkavak Palace, displaying their naval skills, navigating against the wind and weather-helming, and as a result would be honored with the sultan’s favor and awards. There was no difficulty in summer-winter provision of the necessary commodities thanks to a great number of merchant vessels transferring stores of provisions and other merchandise brought to Istanbul. Furthermore, some state dignitaries and rich personalities encouraged and reinforced local and naval transport by purchasing or having vessels constructed in order to put an end to dependency on foreign vessels. Due to this, the number of vessels rose to 82 in 1795.73 It is also emphasized that the shipyard school of engineering, as indicated above, was restructured to provide education in two separate branches.74 New style vessels are also referred to in the text. Owing to their large width compared to their length, the old style vessels could not navigate close-hauled and turn against the wind, and thus were exposed to enemy winds. Moreover, old style vessels were difficult to navigate and had weak maneuvering due to heavy engines and tools. Therefore, old style vessels were replaced by French-style light and fast ships. In his January 1806 report, French envoy, Pierre Ruffin, stated that the Ottoman navy was comprised of 20 galleons, 20 frigates and 14 corvettes, and that five new galleons were under construction in Istanbul, Rhodes, Bodrum, Sinop and Gemlik in the meantime. England’s Istanbul envoy, James Arbuthnot, indicated in January 1807 that the Ottoman navy included a total number of 9 galleons, 14 frigates, 10 corvettes and several small vessels. According to Cevdet Tarihi, the navy had 20 galleons, 22 frigates and 15 corvettes.75 These quantitative data are as significant as considerations regarding the quality of the navy. According to the report sent to the British government by the Istanbul envoy in June 1803, the Ottoman navy was modernized and had one of the “finest fleets” of the time.76

Because advances in maritime works resulted in excess spending, new arrangements, particularly regarding financial issues, were introduced in 1804. Tersane Eminliği (the Directorship of the Shipyard) was abolished and replaced with Umur-ı Bahriye Nezareti (the Ministry of Maritime Affairs). A separate fund (Tersane Hazinesi / the Shipyard Treasury) was formed for expenses, and various taxes were allocated for this fund. A financial office (Tersane Defterdarlığı) was established and gathered under one roof with the ministry administration, and Seyyid Ali Efendi, who served as the first permanent envoy in Paris, was appointed as its director.77 The new organization matured in conjunction with the division of labor and designation of authorities between the ministry of maritime affairs and the captain pasha. However, the ministry did not provide services for a long time and was abrogated in conjunction with Selim III’s dethronement (May 29, 1807). The Umur-ı Bahriye Nezareti was reestablished on March 17, 1867 with similar duties.78 Following the abrogation of the Janissary corps, the school of naval engineering was transferred to Heybeliada in 1830 during the reconstruction process implemented in the military institutions. In 1838 it moved to a building constructed on the hill where Pasha Konağı (the Pasha Mansion) was located. Although 40 students were enrolled in the school during this period, only half of these students attended classes. Suffering from complaints of the insufficiency of education, the school moved to Heybeliada in 1846 and has remained there up until now (2013).


Established in Hasköy as one of the most important institutions representing the reform and restructuring process of the Selim III’s reign (Nizam-ı Cedid), Mühendishane-i Berri constitutes the core educational institution for the Harbiye (Military Academy) as well as the Humbaracı and Lağımcı Corps (the School of Artillery and Fortification). It serves as the second engineering school in the empire after the Mühendishane-i Bahri, which opened in 1775. The institution was inspired by its counterparts (Akademie Militär and Akademie Enginieur) in France and particularly Austria (based on the observations of Mouradge d’Ohsson and especially Ebubekir Ratib Efendi in 1792). The establishment of the Nizam-ı Cedid army rendered the establishment of such an institution inevitable. It was referred to as Fünun-i Harbiye Talimhanesi (the Institution for Applied Military Sciences), Mekteb-i Fünun-i Harbiye (School of Military Sciences) or Mühendishane-i Sultani (Academie Royale des Sciences) and ultimately started to be referred to as Mühendishane-i Berri[-i Hümayun].

6- Mühendishane-i Berr-i Hümayun (the School for Artillery Officers) in Hasköy (Mahmud Raif)

Intentionally established in “remote and secluded” Hasköy (in Haliç facing Eyüp) in order to prevent contact between the Humbaracı, Lağımcı and the Janissary Guilds, Mühendishane-i Berri did not employ foreign educators as different from Mühendishane-i Bahri. The school concentrated on arithmetics and engineering classes, which were exclusively conducted by Turkish teachers (Hüseyin Rıfkı, İbrahim Kami, Hafız Seyyid İbrahim Efendi, el-Hac Hafız Abdullah) under the presidency of Abdurrahman Efendi who served as a geometry and mathematics teacher as well as a long-time head teacher and director of the school. Education was maintained by four engineer teachers (halife) and the number of teaching staff increased to five in 1801 in conjunction with the employment of a British convert, Selim, who was an engineer.

As the textbooks contained various charts (logarithm charts) and geometrical shapes, perfect imprinting was necessary for impeccable and standard copies, and copyright and translated works would benefit students at reasonable prices, the establishment of a printing house in the ground floor of the school (1797) served as a first and an important development in terms of Turkish printing press. The printing house was administered by Abdurrahman Efendi.

As it was planned to serve as an institution affiliated with Humbaracı and Lağımcı Corps at the outset, the Mühendishane-i Berri did not have a separate nizamname, and therefore was subject to relevant arrangements detailed in the regulations prepared for the abovementioned corps (1792). As per these regulations, the teachers were liable to “lecture the humbaracı and lağımcı on bomb-dropping and connecting tunnels, bulwark-digging according to engineering principles, bastion-building, building castle-bastions, ascertaining the enemy location, building artillery and bomb carriages, constructing floating bridges; lecture lağımcıs on engineering and prepare compiled and translated booklets on these subjects.” The freshman students were primarily lectured on calligraphy, orthography and algebra (calculation), geometry (engineering), and technical drawing. Freshmen and sophomores also had Arabic and French classes. Juniors and seniors had classes in geography, field survey (mesaha), mapping, tunnel-digging and construction of fortified buildings, contemporary military order, exact and fast artillery shooting, conic sectioning (fenn-i mahrutiyat), differential calculus (hesab-ı tefazuli), integral calculus (hesab-ı tamami), mechanics (ilm-i cerr-i eskal), and astronomy (ilm-i hey’et).79 These classes overlapped with curricula of similar European schools.

7- The inscription of Mühendishane-i Berr-i Hümayun (the School for Artillery Officers) written by Şeyh Galib (Istanbul Technical University)

8- The restoration inscription of Mühendishane-i Berr-i Hümayun (Mühendishane-i Berr-i Hümayun (the School for Artillery Officers)) made during Sultan Abdülhamid II

9- The schema of the castle with bastions found in Mahmud Raif’s book published by the publishing house of Mühendishane-i Berr-i Hümayun (the School for Artiller    Officers)

A library was also established for the disposal of teachers and students. The first books and necessary tools were provided from the Enderun-ı Hümayun Hazinesi (Treasury of the Inner Section of the Palace), while some of the materials were obtained from other libraries, purchased from the estate of the deceased people, or donated. The library was enriched, particulary by a large number of books, maps, and various technical tools obtained from Ebubekir Ratib Efendi’s estate. It is also striking that the school library allocated space for a 35-volume French encyclopedia which started to be published in Paris in 1751 and was completed in 1780 (Encyclopédie ou dictionnaire raissoné des sciences, des arts et des métiers).80

Humbaracı and Lağımcı Barracks:

The Mühendishane-i Berri was devised to be a complementary part of the Humbaracı and Lağımcı Barracks. Founded on July 14, 1793, the barracks were adjacent to the school, separated by a garden wall. Rising on a square plan, the building was neighbored by Hünkar Kasrı (the Sultan’s Summer Pavilion), the mosque constructed upon the order of Selim III’s mother, Mihrişah Sultan, who died in 1802, and situated in the middle-courtyard of the building. The mosque commenced service on September 26, 1793. Penned by Sheikh Galib of the Galata Dervish Lodge, the main inscription is located above the entrance door. The small inscription embellished with the words of Sheikh Galib referring to Valide Sultan somehow remains in its place. Without any specific architectural features today, annexed with a second minaret and thus losing its one-minaret feature as seen in the engraving, this mosque can still reflect the structural features of its time. One half of the barracks sitting on the part of the mosque reaching to the school wall was destroyed. Left under the feet of the bridge above, the backyard and other half of the barracks were exposed to destruction and virtually disappeared. Recording the unique plans of the building and determining its architectural features in conformity with its historical importance did probably not come into question. As observed in the engraving pictured in Mahmud Raif Efendi’s well-known work depicting activities and works during the Nizam-ı Cedid period,81 there remained almost nothing of the Humbaracı and Lağımcı Barracks. Although its location was described as “remote and secluded” in 1793, these buildings survived for long periods. However, they disappeared before the eyes of everyone in the heart of Istanbul. To this end, it was moved to the Hançerli Sultan mansion in Eyüp, and the old building started to be utilized as a storehouse.

10- The bombardier students of Mühendishane-i Berr-i Hümayun (the School for Artillery Officers) (Yıldız Albums)

In 1806, there were plans to transform the school into a better and well-functioning institution by means of separation from the Humbaracı and Lağımcı Corps. A separate nizamname was prepared for the school in the same period. It was planned to construct a more suitable building for the school, however Selim III’s dethronement constituted a hindrance and the school moved back to its old building at the beginning of 1808.82 On the other hand, the printing house was temporarily transferred to a location in Kapalı Fırın situated around Sultanahmet. Nevertheless, it moved to a separate building constructed near the Selimiye Barracks in Üsküdar prior to entering into service in 1802 and continued its activities until June 1824. It is also observed that works at the school and printing house were continually interrupted during the last years of Selim III’s rule.

Selim III’s dethronement and termination of Nizam-ı Cedid activities delivered a major blow on the already-weak school. A new codex was prepared in 1808 during the short reign of Mustafa IV. When the school moved to its previous premises in Hasköy, the teachers were dismissed on the grounds that “there is no need for engineers,” salaries allocated from the İrad-ı Cedid (New Treasury) could not be disbursed owing to the abrogation of this treasury. The decision made regarding the payment of salaries from the treasury failed to be precisely implemented by virtue of resource shortages, and therefore teacher salaries were not disbursed for a long time and problems regarding salary payments could not be solved for long years. As understood from complaints issued in 1828, salaries invariably remained on the same level and were not raised in accordance with existing life standards although the first salary rise was applied twenty years earlier.83

11- <em>Telhisü’l Eşkal</em> about the science of sapping and discharging of firearms written by Rıfkı Efendi, the second assistant of the school, and published by the publishing house of Mühendishane-i Berr-i Hümayun (the School for Artillery Officers)

The school was restored in 1809. However, engineering education was exposed to heavy neglect until the abrogation of the Janissary Corps in 1826. Following the abrogation of the Janissary Corps, engineering education regained prominence thanks to the necessity to meet the needs of the new military according to modern educational standards. Long years without financial resources resulted in great problems in meeting the engineering needs required by the new military in particular. In their report submitted to Sultan Mahmud II, Commander-in-chief Koca Hüsrev, Grand Vizier Selim Sırrı Pasha, and Head Physician Abdülhak Molla reiterated that “the science of engineering has been abandoned and neglected”; that “the school is surrounded by ignorance” on the grounds of non-conformity with the school’s nizamname; that “it has made no progress,” and that great sums of money “have been wasted and lost” during the period following the termination of Nizam-ı Cedid.84 For this reason, it was inevitable that the school was restructured within the framework of Mahmud II’s reforms beginning in 1826 in order to meet the needs of the new military. It was planned to employ an engineer-in-chief with the title of squadron leader, substitute engineers with the titles of lieutenant commander and lieutenant, and two engineers per battalion. The abovementioned staff was dressed with uniforms carrying star-crescent symbols. In 1841 during the major generalship of Damad Mehmed Ali Pasha, they were divided into two military legions as Humbaracı and Lağımcı, and named the Legion of Engineers.

12- A page from the book <em>Usul-i Hendese</em> published by the publishing house of Mühendishane-i Berr-i Hümayun (the School for Artillery Officers)

13- Mühendishane-i Berr-i Hümayun (the School for Artillery Officers) (Yıldız Albums)

Engineers of this period served in various jobs. For instance, since Greek translators were dismissed during the Greek Rebellion of 1821 and no Muslim translator could be found to substitute, interruptions in official translation services could only be eliminated by the services of the school’s teachers who could speak French. Various copyright and translated books prepared in the printing house made substantial contributions to the formation of literature on the modern engineering science. Considerably influenced by political instabilities, such as the struggles between the new- and old-order supporters, the institution could train engineers and, to a large extent, meet the engineering needs in the following periods without having recourse to the employment of foreign engineers. By this way, the school was able to meet the engineering need of the military; educate and train engineers who could construct and fortify border castles in line with modern warfare; map various places; prepare the cadastral survey of the ever-growing capital; construct water channels and new macadamized roads; construction and restoration of assorted types of buildings and edifices; determine boundaries; and carry out services in projects such as the Sakarya-Sapanca Lake- the Bay of İzmit channel.

The school was restored and restructured for expansion during the principalship of Bekir Pasha who was appointed in 1845. Education at the school continued in Hasköy until 1864. In the same year, high-school students of the artillery section were transferred to Galatasaray, and the school was united under the name of Mekatib-i İdadi-i Umumi, joined by the high-school students of Harbiye, Bahriye and Tıbbiye (Military, Naval and Medical Schools). As the school in Galatasaray was closed down in 1867 and the students returned to the old building, they continued education in Hasköy. In 1871 the military engineering classes were transferred to Harbiye, whereas high-school artillery classes continued in Maçka, and thus the school was transformed into a preparation school for artillery and fortification officers. The empty building in Hasköy served as a hospital during the Russo-Turkish war (the war of 93) between 1877–1878. The building was expanded at the end of the war, and Tevfik Pasha of Vidin was appointed as its director. The artillery and fortification students at the military high school were brought here for education. In 1884, the Hendese-i Mülkiye Mektebi (School of Civil Engineering) was founded under Mühendishane-i Berri. Mühendis Mektebi (School of Engineers) was opened as a civil institution in 1908. During the inception years of the republic (1928), it was decided that a College of Engineering be established under the Ministry of Public Affairs. Upon the abolishment of Darülfünun in 1933, the College of Engineering was annexed to the newly-founded Istanbul University as a faculty. The college was affiliated with the Ministry of National Education in 1941 as the College of Engineering (Yüksek Mühendis Okulu). Ultimately the Technical University was established in 1944. Mühendishane-i Berri served a historical purpose and constituted the core of Istanbul Technical University.85


1 Citation from the interview between Andreas Bode and Swedish translator Mouradgea D’Ohsson in Andreas Bode, Die Flottenpolitik Katharinas und die Konflikte mit Schweden und der Türkei (1768-1792), Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowitz, 1979, p. 162.

2 Please see Mustafa Kaçar, “Osmanlı Devleti’nde Bilim ve Eğitim Anlayışında Değişmeler,” PhD thesis, İstanbul University, 1996, pp. 43-59.

3 According to French archival documents, the school was opened on 29 April 1775 under the auspices of Baron de Tott, under the control of Kermovan and under the assistance of British Convert (Campbell) Mustafa Agha (l’ècole de Thèorie a été ouvert le 29 Avril 1775 dernier à Arsenal sous le direction du Gilles Jean-Marie Brazzer de Kermovan et d’une renégat anglais nammé Mustapha Aga avec la surveillance de M. de Tott). Kaçar, “Osmanlı Devleti’nde Bilim,” p. 61.

4 For the latest assessment on Tott, see Virginia Aksan, Ottoman Wars 1700-1870, An Empire Besieged, Harlow: Longman, 2007, pp. 199-201, 211.

5 In his translated work, Safinat al-Fikar Maşhuna bi-l-Durar, on the issues of ship engineering and building, Hasan Hoc aintroduces himself and the school as follows: “Hasan Hoca of Algeria is a sea captain appointed as a teacher to the School of Engineering for teaching miscellaneous topics.” Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu et al. (prepared by), Osmanlı Askerlik Literatürü Tarihi, Istanbul: İslam Tarih, Sanat ve Kültür Araştırma Merkezi 2004, vol. 1, p. 39.

6 Lafitte-Clavé, Journal d’un officier Français à Consantinople en 1784-1788 (Archives du Ministère de la Guerre, Paris, Dépôt du Génie, Art. 14, nr. 118. The manuscript of Journal typewritten by D. Anayatis-Pelé (numbered 179257, ISAM library), p. 30. Toderini is probably mistaken in his claim that Hasan Hoca spoke four languages (Italian, Spanish, English, French).

7 Kemal Beydilli, Türk Bilim Tarihinde Mühendishane, Mühendishane Matbaası ve Kütüphanesi, Istanbul: Eren Yayıncılık, 1995, p. 24.

8 Lafitte-Clavé, Journal, p 295.

9 Lafitte-Clavé, Journal, p. 40.

10 Lafitte-Clavé, Journal, p. 12. During the first class which was attended by 10-12 students, transferring the frontal view of a fortification on paper served as the subject, Kaçar, “Osmanlı Devleti’nde Bilim”, p. 79. According to the Journal, the number of students is 10-12 on the second day of school, p. 13

11 Lafitte-Clavé, Journal, p. 279.

12 Lafitte-Clavé, Journal, p. 25.

13 Lafitte-Clavé, Journal, pp. 33-34.

14 Lafitte-Clavé, Journal, p. 36.

15 Lafitte-Clavé, Journal, pp. 83, 182.

16 His name is recorded as Abdul Aman in Lafitte-Clavé, Journal, p. 117.

17 Lafitte-Clavé, Journal, p. 237.

18 For the head teacher of the Mühendishane-i Bahri and manager of the printing house, see Beydilli, Mühendishane, p. 34, nr. 3.

19 Lafitte-Clavé, Journal, p. 253; Kaçar, “Osmanlı Devleti’nde Bilim”, p. 110.

20 Lafitte-Clavé, Journal, p. 130.

21 Elément de Castrométation et de Fortification Passagère. This work was translated into Turkish with the name Usûlü’l-maârif fi tertîbi ordu ve tahsînihi muvakkaten and printed in the French printing press with 1201 copies in 1786-1787.

22 Lafitte-Clavé, Journal, p. 75. In addition, Salih Efendi’s portrait was also painted. Upon its completion, Salih went to see it together with his students. The portrait was colored by de Fauvel.

23 Lafitte-Clavé, Journal, p. 136.

24 January 8, 1786, Lafitte-Clavé, Journal, p. 141.

25 December 18, 1785, Lafitte-Clavé, Journal, p. 131.

26 3 February 1786, Lafitte-Clavé, Journal, p. 157.

27 Lafitte-Clavé, Journal, p. 168.

28 Lafitte-Clavé, Journal, p. 187.

29 Lafitte-Clavé, Journal, p. 227.

30 Lafitte-Clavé, Journal, p. 242.

31 The triangulation method was first employed by Snellius of Holland (1615). The aim of this method is to connect some visible points around the meridian curve in triangles (forming triangles) and calculate the length of that curve with the help of these triangles (Besim Darkot, Kartografya Dersleri, Istanbul: İstanbul Üniversitesi Yayınları, 1939, p. 13). Special thanks to Prof. Dr. Metin Tuncer for the technical information.

32 Lafitte-Clavé, Journal, p. 192.

33 Lafitte-Clavé, Journal, p. 241-242.

34 Lafitte-Clavé, Journal, p. 279.

35 Lafitte-Clavé, Journal, p. 264.

36 Lafitte-Clavé, Journal, p. 168.

37 Executed in the shipyard dungeon with a rope, Hasan Hoca of Algeria, with his scholarly personality, shared Piri Reis’s destiny in a sense. Following execution, his assets and books were confiscated. Taylesanizâde Hâfız Abdullah Efendi Tarihi: İstanbul’un Uzun Dört Yılı: 1785-1789, prepared by Feridun Emecen, Istanbul: TATAV Yayınları, 2003, vol. 1, pp. 237-239. Suffering from dire straits, his wife was granted a salary during the reign of Selim III.

38 Lafitte-Clavé, Journal, p. 182.

39 He had been the Reisülküttab for 7 months and 13 days on 18 June 1786.

40 Lafitte-Clavé, Journal, p. 25.

41 26 Septembre Publication du Réglement d’ecole de fortification et nomination de 7 élèves, enregistré le 22 de la lune de Zilcadé, ce qui revient au 15 Septembre, Lafitte-Clavé, Journal, p. 255.

42 For the names, please see Lafitte-Clavé, Journal, p. 254-255; Beydilli, Mühendishane, p. 25, nr. 1; Kaçar, “Osmanlı Devleti’nde Bilim”, p. 110.

43 Lafitte-Clavé, Journal, p. 254. Selim Aga is one of the main actors for the execution (1785) of Hasan Pasha of Algeria and Halil Ahmed Pasha who were accused of acting against Abdülhamid I.

44 Lafitte-Clavé, Journal, p. 264.

45 Lafitte-Clavé, Journal, p. 224.

46 Lafitte-Clavé, Journal, p. 279.

47 Lafitte-Clavé, Journal, p. 313.

48 Lafitte-Clavé, Journal, p. 132.

49 Stanford J. Shaw, “Selīm III and the Ottoman Navy,” Turcica, 1969, vol. 1, p. 216.

50 Kaçar, “Osmanlı Devleti’nde Bilim,” pp. 87-90.

51 Kemal Beydilli, “İlk Mühendislerimizden Seyyid Mustafa ve Nizam-ı Cedid’e Dair Risalesi,” TED, 1987, vol. 13, p. 401, no. 36.

52 Beydilli, “Seyyid Mustafa”, p. 401.

53 Enver Ziya Karal, “Selim III. Devrinde Osmanlı Bahriyesi Hakkında Vesikalar,” Tarih Vesikaları, 1941, vol. 1, no. 3, pp. 206-208; Beydilli, “Seyyid Mustafa”, p. 402.

54 Kemal Beydilli and İlhan Şahin (ed.), Mahmud Râif Efendi ve Nizâm-ı Cedîd’e Dair Eseri, Ankara: Türk Tarih Kurumu, 2001

55 Enver Ziya Karal, “Osmanlı Bahriyesi Hakkında,” pp. 203-211. See also Shaw, “Ottoman Navy,” p. 223.

56 Enver Ziya Karal, “Osmanlı Bahriyesi Hakkında,” p. 204.

57 This person should not be confused with Humbaracı Ahmed Pasha (Kont de Bonneval) who passed away on 23 March 1747.

58 Ömer Faik, Nizâmü’l-atîk, İstanbul University’s library, nr. 5836, v. 19a/s. 37, footnote. Also see Kemal Beydilli, “Küçük Kaynarca’dan Tanzimat’a İslâhât Düşünceleri,” İlmî Araştırmalar Dergisi, 1999, issue 8, p. 40.

59 Enver Z. Karal, “Osmanlı Tarihine Dair Vesikalar,” TTK Belleten, 1940, vol. 4, issue. 14-15, pp. 175-189 (see “Bonneval’in Osmanlı Bahriyesine Dair Raporu,” pp. 175-181).

60 Beydilli-Şahin, Mahmud Raif Efendi, pp. 54-58.

61 Nuri Tarihi, İstanbul University’s Library, no. 5996, fol. 96a–b; Vâsıf Tarihi, İstanbul University’s Library, no. 5981, fol. 68a-69b; Cevdet, Tarih, Istanbul: Matbaa-i Osmaniye, 1309, vol.1, pp.158–159, 161; vol. 6, pp. 57-58.

62 Enver Ziya Karal, “Osmanlı Bahriyesi Hakkında,” s. 181. For a similar observation, see Shaw, “Ottoman Navy,” p. 226, issue 1.

63 İdris Bostan, Beylikten İmparatorluğa Osmanlı Denizciliği, Istanbul: Kitap Yayınevi, 2006, pp. 221-246. Original quote: “Adalar reâyâsı derd-mendlerini soymaktan başka bir işe yaramaz.”

64 Cevdet, Tarih, vol. 1, p. 158.

65 Cevdet, Tarih, vol. 1, p. 159.

66 Cevdet, Tarih, vol. 1p. 159.

67 Cevdet, Tarih, vol. 1, p. 159.

68 Cevdet, Tarih, vol. 5, ppp. 286-288; Shaw, “Ottoman Navy”, p. 218.

69 Cevdet, Tarih, vol. 6, pp. 57-58; Shaw, “Ottoman Navy”, p. 220.

70 Cevdet, Tarih, vol. 5, pp. 286-287.

71 Cevdet, Tarih, vol. 5, p. 288; vol. 6, p. 58.

72 Beydilli and Şahin (ed.), Mahmud Râif, pp. 54-58.

73 Saadet Öner, “İsveç Devlet Arşivi’nde Mahfuz İ. M. D’Ohsson Evrakı Tasnif ve Tahlili”, yüksek lisans tezi, İstanbul Üniversitesi, 1999, p. 152; Kemal Beydilli, “Karadeniz’in Kapalılığı Karşısında Avrupa Küçük Devletleri ve Mîrî Ticaret Teşebbüsü,” TTK Belleten, 1991, vol. 55, issue 214, pp. 687-755.

74 Beydilli and Şahin (ed.), Mahmud Râif, pp. 54-58.

75 Cevdet, Tarih, vol. 7, pp. 292-294.

76 Shaw, “Ottoman Navy”, p. 226, no. 1.

77 Ali İhsan Gencer, Bahriye’de Yapılan Islahat Hareketleri ve Bahriye Nezareti’nin Kuruluşu (1789-1867), 2nd edition, Ankara: Türk Tarih Kurumu, 2001, p. 66 ed seq.; Shaw, “Ottoman Navy”, p. 229 ed seq.

78 Gencer, Bahriye’de Yapılan Islahat Hareketleri, p. 322 ed seq.

79 Beydilili, Mühendishâne, pp. 59-60.

80 Beydilli, Mühendishâne, p. 279.

81 Beydilli and Şahin (ed.), Mahmud Râif.

82 Beydilli, Mühendishâne, pp. 76-77.

83 Beydilli, Mühendishâne, pp. 56-57.

84 Beydilli, Mühendishâne, p. 74.

85 The first inscription of the mosque installed by Selim III was recovered by us. It was found in the left corner of the building facing the main road (1995). A picture of the engraving of the school located above the front-entrance door can also be found in Mahmud Raif’s work. Penned by Sheikh Galib, this inscription is, today, protected and displayed in the forecourt of İstanbul Technical University’s Maçka campus. (Please see Beydilli for a complete text of the inscription, Mühendishane, pp. 40-41.

This article was translated from Turkish version of History of Istanbul with some editions to be published in a digitalized form in 2019.