Central Hungary became a province of the Ottoman Empire ruled by pashas living in Buda. The Turks' only interest was to secure their hold on the territory. The Sublime Porte (a term used to designate the Ottoman rulers) became the sole landowner and managed about 20 percent of the land for its own benefit, apportioning the rest among soldiers and civil servants. The new landlords were interested mainly in squeezing as much wealth from the land as quickly as possible. Wars, slave-taking, and the emigration of nobles who lost their land depopulated much of the countryside. However, the Turks practiced religious tolerance and allowed the Hungarians living within the empire significant autonomy in internal affairs. Towns maintained some selfgovernment , and a prosperous middle class developed through artisanry and trade.
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