The Collaborative International Dictionary
Eyalet \E`ya*let"\, n. [Turk., fr. Ar. iy[=a]lah.] Formerly, one of the administrative divisions or provinces of the Ottoman Empire; -- now called a vilayet.
n. (context historical English) A former administrative division or province of the Ottoman Empire.
Eyalets , (English: State) also known as beylerbeyliks or pashaliks, were a primary administrative division of the Ottoman Empire.
From 1453 to the beginning of the nineteenth century the Ottoman local government was loosely structured. The Empire was at first divided into provinces called eyalets, presided over by a Pasha of three tails (feathers borne on a state officer's ceremonial staff). The Grand Vizier was responsible for nominating all the high officers of State, both in the capital and the provinces. Between 1861 and 1866, these Eyalets were abolished, and the territory was divided for administrative purposes into Vilayets.
The eyalets were subdivided into districts called livas or sanjaks, each of which was under the charge of a Pasha of one tail, with the title of Mira-lira, or Sanjak-bey. These provinces were usually called pashalics by Europeans. The pasha was invested with powers of absolute government within his province, being the chief of both the military and financial departments, as well as police and criminal justice.
At official functions, the order of precedence was Egypt, Baghdad, Abyssinia, Buda, Anatolia, "Mera'ish", and the Capitan Pasha in Asia and Buda, Egypt, Abyssinia, Baghdad, and Rumelia in Europe, with the remainder arranged according to the chronological order of their conquest.