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1580s, "Oriental council of state," from Turkish divan, from Arabic diwan, from Persian devan "bundle of written sheets, small book, collection of poems" (as in the "Divan i-Hafiz"), related to debir "writer."
Sense evolved through "book of accounts," to "office of accounts," "custom house," "council chamber," then to "long, cushioned seat," such as are found along the walls in Middle Eastern council chambers (see couch). The sofa/couch sense was taken into English 1702; the "book of poems" sense in 1823.
in Islamic societies, a "register," or logbook, and later a "finance department," "government bureau," or "administration." The first divan appeared under the caliph 'Umar I (634-644) as a pensions list, recording free Arab warriors entitled to a share of the spoils of war. Out of rents and property taxes exacted from conquered farmers and landowners, hereditary pensions were assigned to warriors entered in the divan. Later the term came to signify a financial institution, and, by the time of the caliphate of Mu'awiyah (661-680), it meant a government bureau, e.g., the chancellery or the postal service. Iranians used the term divan until about the 19th century to mean the central government in general, while in Mughal India, from the time of Akbar (1556-1605), the term was chiefly associated with government finance, the chief finance minister being the divan, with provincial dawawin under him. In the Ottoman Empire the divan became the imperial chancery headed by the grand vizier, though a consultative assembly of senior officials summoned by Selim I in 1515 was also called a divan. The term was early extended to mean the audience chamber of important government officers, whose offices, furnished with mattresses and cushions along the walls, account for the extension of the meaning of divan to sofa. In modern Turkey a divan is an administrative unit in rural areas