A kaza (Ottoman Turkish: قضا, "judgment" or "jurisdiction")[note 1] was an administrative division of the Ottoman Empire. It is also discussed in English under the names district,[2] subdistrict,[3][4] and juridical district.[5] Kazas continued to be used by some of the empire's successor states. At present, they are used by Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan, and in Arabic discussion of Israel. In these contexts, they are also known by the Arabic name qada, qadā, or qadaa (Arabic: قضاء, qaḍāʾ).

Former use

Ottoman Empire

In the Ottoman Empire, a kaza was originally equivalent to the kadiluk, the district subject to the legal and administrative jurisdiction of a kadi or judge of Islamic law.[6] This usually corresponded to a major city of the empire with its surrounding villages. A small number of kazas made up each sanjak ("banner") under a sanjakbey.[6] Each kaza was in turn made up of one or more nahiyes ("districts") under müdürs[clarification needed] and mütesellims and several karyes ("villages") under muhtars.[7]

With the first round of Tanzimat reforms in 1839, the administrative duties of each district's kadi were transferred to a kaymakam ("governor") appointed by the Ministry of the Interior[7] and a treasurer, with the kadis restricted to solely religious and judicial roles.[8] Kazas were further emended and distinguished from the kadiluks under the 1864 Provincial Reform Law, implemented over the following decade as part of efforts by the Porte to establish uniform and rational administration across the empire.[5] The 1871 revisions removed the kazas' responsibility for direct supervision of their villages, placing them all under nearby nahiyes instead.[7]

Mandatory Palestine

The subdistricts of Mandatory Palestine were known as nafa (נָפָה‎) in Hebrew but as kaza, qada, etc. in Arabic. The same terms continue to be used in present-day Israel and Palestine.


Syria used kazas, qadas, etc. as its second-level administrative division after independence but later[when?] renamed them mintaqahs.


The Republic of Turkey continued to use kazas until the late 1920s,[when?] when it renamed them subprovinces (ilçe).

Current use

Kaza, qada, etc. is also used to refer to the following:

See also


  1. ^ Translations into the languages used by the other ethnicities of the Ottoman Empire,[1] other than those already listed above:
    • Modern Turkish and Ladino: kaza[1]
    • Armenian: աւան (awan, a calque meaning "borough")[1]
    • Bulgarian: околия (okoliya, a calque meaning "district")[1] and кааза̀ (kaazà)
    • French: casa
    • Greek: υποδιοίκησις (ypodioíkisis, a calque meaning "subprefecture"), δήμος (dímos, a calque meaning "people" or "district"),[1] and καζάς (kazás)


  1. ^ a b c d e Strauss, Johann (2010). "A Constitution for a Multilingual Empire: Translations of the Kanun-ı Esasi and Other Official Texts into Minority Languages". In Herzog, Christoph; Malek Sharif (eds.). The First Ottoman Experiment in Democracy. Würzburg: Orient-Institut Istanbul. p. 21-51. (info page on book at Martin Luther University) // CITED: p. 41-44 (PDF p. 43-46/338).
  2. ^ Suraiya Faroqhi. Approaching Ottoman History: An Introduction to the Sources. Cambridge University Press, 1999. p. 88. ISBN 9780521666480
  3. ^ Donald Quataert. The Ottoman Empire, 1700-1922. 2nd Ed. Volume 34 of New Approaches to European History. Cambridge University Press, 2005. p. 108. ISBN 9781139445917
  4. ^ Note, however, that this name is often applied to the nahiye level of the Ottoman administration.
  5. ^ a b Eugene L. Rogan. Frontiers of the State in the Late Ottoman Empire: Transjordan, 1850-1921. Volume 12 of Cambridge Middle East Studies. Cambridge University Press, 2002. p. 12. ISBN 9780521892230
  6. ^ a b Selçuk Akşin Somel. "Kazâ". The A to Z of the Ottoman Empire. Volume 152 of A to Z Guides. Rowman & Littlefield, 2010. p. 151. ISBN 9780810875791
  7. ^ a b c Gökhan Çetinsaya. The Ottoman Administration of Iraq, 1890-1908. SOAS/Routledge Studies on the Middle East. Routledge, 2006. p. 8-9. ISBN 9780203481325
  8. ^ Selçuk Akşin Somel. "Kadı". The A to Z of the Ottoman Empire. Volume 152 of A to Z Guides. Rowman & Littlefield, 2010. p. 144-145. ISBN 9780810875791