This study details the history of Ottoman Ramallah from the 16th century until the end of Ottoman rule in Southern Palestine in 1917. The information is primarily drawn from two main sources: firstly, records of the Sharia Courts in Jerusalem including legal arguments and rulings pertaining to the citizens of Ramallah village and the surrounding areas. Secondly, accounting books from Ottoman management of taxes levied on land and people. The study also references books about Ramallah and the Palestinian countryside written by Western missionaries during the second half of the 19th century, as well as the records of Ramallah’s municipal council from the period beginning in 1912.
Through a close examination of primary resources, the book provides a new look at the social fabric of Ramallah’s inhabitants during the period in question, which was influenced by various factors. These include the settling families from Al Karak region in Ramallah and, the role of these agricultural families within the two types of feudal systems: the Timari (military) system that rested on power granted to a rural leader, and the arrangement that included a ten-year commitment to work upon lands belonging to Islamic Waqf. The relationships between Ramallah and Bireh peasants to state employees responsible for collecting taxes and military conscription, as well as those between the Christians of Ramallah and Muslims in surrounding areas were also of paramount significance.