This paper examines the relationship between such variables as wealth, power and self-image, through a single act of waqf endowment, to establish their role as initiators of provincial urbanisation. A significant wave of urbanisation prevailed in the Osmanl2-Arab provinces in the second part of the 18th century and the early part of the 19th as an inevitable concomitant to the proliferation of the A'yan. Those local potentates practiced self-promotion in the form of material power and pious acts of waqf endowments. Whereas in political terms this was translated in the demands of Pashal2ks and, sometimes, local revolts, in material culture it was translated in traditional forms of urbanisation.
As such this paper argues essentially for continuity: the continuity of the long 18th century until it was finally halted by Ibrahim Pasha's campaign in 1830. This continuity of course included continuity of administration as well as continuity of disintegration. The creation of a city centre in Jaffa in the first two decades of the 19th century demonstrates this idea. Its mutassalim Abu Nabbut undertook in the name of a pious act of Waqf a great building programme that was in fact continuing a traditional pattern of urbanisation that accompanied the self-enhancement campaign of the A'yan. The study is based on an unpublished waqf document dated 1227H/1812 A.D. with additions and alterations 1228-1232H/1813-1816 A.D. The analysis of the waqfiyya shows that Abu Nabbut, the founder of the waqf, can be considered the founder of the modern port of Jaffa. He created a new city center with all its physical requirements. He rebuilt the city-walls and the mosque, built two Sabils in Jaffa, a kitabhane or madrasa, and a souq with 36 shops. Furthermore, for the maintenance of these buildings and their operational expenses he endowed 30 shops, 8 houses, including his own, cafes, tanneries and a further number of water mills all mentioned in his waqf.
The waqf founder was determined to use his wealth for the creation of a physical infrastructure for a potential power-base. Furthermore both the buildings types and architectural styles of the endowment waqf seem to suggest that he was acting like a "ruler" and probably wanting to be seen as one.