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date: 25 July 2021

Ottoman Commercial Historyfree

Ottoman Commercial Historyfree

  • Kate FleetKate FleetCambridge University


The Ottoman empire, which at its height stretched around the Mediterranean from Albania to Morocco, from Egypt in the south to Crimea in the north, and from Iran in the east to Hungary in the west, represented an enormous trading bloc. Its internal trade, which was always much greater than its external trade, consisted largely of agricultural products with some manufactures, in particular textiles, which were traded both locally and to distant parts of the empire. External trade was dominated by agricultural products, which were exported to the West, and manufactured goods such as textiles, carpets and ceramics, and the import of textiles from the West, silk from Iran, spices from the East, and coffee from Yemen. Many of these commodities transited through the empire. There was also a significant trade in slaves into the empire from the Black Sea region and from sub-Saharan Africa.

Commerce, which influenced Ottoman conquest policy, brought considerable revenues to the state, and Ottoman rulers invested heavily in infrastructure to support trade and to protect traders. They also attempted to control commodity exchange, imposing trade embargoes, fixing prices, and establishing a system of provisioning.

The expansion of the world market in the 19th century affected the nature of Ottoman commerce. The empire became an exporter of raw materials and importer of manufactured products. Controls on internal trade were removed, allowing foreign merchants to operate freely, and its markets were opened up to an influx of goods from Europe, in particular from Britain.


  • Capitalism
  • Economic/Business
  • Middle East


Founded around 1300 in the northwest of what is modern Turkey, the Ottoman state grew to become a massive empire that at its height incorporated much of eastern Europe, the Black Sea, Anatolia, the modern Arab states, and those along the Northern African coast with the exception of Morocco. Its capital after 1453, Istanbul, one of the largest cities in the early modern era, was a commercial powerhouse where “the buyers and the sellers of the market of the world all came together.”1 The empire’s vast territories represented a huge internal market. A wide array of goods was imported into, exported from, and transited through its territories.

Internal Trade

In any discussion of Ottoman commerce it is always important to remember that the vast bulk of Ottoman trade was internal, with goods circulating regionally or over greater distances to more distant parts of the empire. In an empire that was “a micro world system,” covering a huge geographical area, the internal market was enormous.2 The impact on Ottoman commerce of the activities of Western merchants, in particular the English, the French, and the Dutch, although very widely covered in the secondary literature, was thus not of great significance in the overall picture.

Internal trade is, however, often difficult to document. This is due to the nature of Ottoman sources, the absence of data, and the nature of commerce itself where agreements were made on a handshake not on paper, and where much local commerce is invisible, having left no trace in extant sources. Trust, an essential but intangible element in trade without which commercial exchange would be impossible, was the glue that held much Ottoman local, and even international, commerce together. It underlay contracts among merchants in 17th-century Cairo, among merchants and peasants in 18th-century Nablus, or merchants conducting business in Sofia and Plovdiv in the same century, and in İzmir in the 19th.3 Even where Ottoman sources, such as the kanunnames (regulations) or the narh (fixed price) registers, provide details of market dues or transit taxes paid on goods traded, they do not give any indication of volume of trade, something also true for tax farming contracts.

Despite such lacunae in the data, it is still possible to give an overall picture of the nature of internal commerce. The bulk of domestic trade consisted of agricultural produce, in particular cereals and legumes, fruits and vegetables, dairy products, meat and animal products. Cereals, in particular wheat, barley, and millet, were grown in many areas of the empire and sold locally or traded interregionally, wheat from Egypt, for example, going to Jeddah, İzmir, Crete, and the Maghreb, and cereals from Algiers being shipped to İzmir. Rice from Egypt went to markets in the Balkans and Palestine. Legumes, another important staple, were also traded both locally and interregionally. Beans from Anatolia, for example, were shipped to North Africa in the 16th century when ships from the Biga peninsula loaded beans, took them to the North African coast, sold them in Tripoli, loaded olive oil, and returned with this cargo to Istanbul.4 Olive oil, a product of the Mediterranean regions of the empire, also supplied areas where olives were not grown, such as Crimea, which received olive oil from the Aegean region.

Agricultural products provided the raw materials for manufactured goods, in particular textiles, soap, sugar, and leather. Cotton production in Egypt fed the cloth industry there, and cotton grown in western Anatolia and the eastern Balkans provided the raw material for cloth production in these regions. Raw cotton as well as raw silk and goats’ hair from northern Syria was used in Aleppo, one of the most important centers of production and exportation of fabric and finished products.5 Flax was used in the production of linen in Egypt. Balkan wool supplied the cloth production of important centers such as Thessaloniki, Plovdiv, and Edirne. In Anatolia, the foremost center for textile production was Bursa, which produced silk and manufactured fabrics, and which drew on its Anatolian hinterland for its raw materials, including mohair from Ankara, as well as imported silk.

Textiles were produced and traded throughout the empire. Textiles from Egypt were traded into Palestine, and woolen fabrics from the Balkans were sent to Anatolia and Syria. Textiles from Anatolia were traded in Syria, the Balkans, and Crimea. In the 18th century almost all the textile products needed in the north Black Sea region came from Istanbul, Bursa, Amasya, Sinop, Kastamonu, Tokat, Kayseri, and other Anatolian towns.6

Cloth from Egypt, Aleppo, and Damascus, another major textile production center, was taxed in markets in south-eastern Anatolia, including Diyarbakır, Ergani, and Mardin, where Balkan cloth of silk brocade, satin woven with silk thread, and satin brocade were charged in transit.7 Aba (woolen fabrics) and sof (camlets) from Hasankeyf, sof from Mardin, and aba from Egypt were both sold in and transited through Mosul.8 Bursa, an “economic metropolis” even in the late 18th century despite competition from İzmir, was a major domestic, as well as international, textile market.9 The range of internally produced cloth sold there in the early 17th century included Egyptian and local linen; silks of Baghdad, Damascus, and Aleppo; kaftans of red, yellow, and blue brocade from Chios; crepe from raw silk from Albania; taffeta of Aleppo and Damascus; alaca (a cotton and silk cloth) from Egypt; twilled cotton from Hamid, Manisa, and Diyarbakır; broadcloth from Edirne; and brocade from Chios, as well as fabrics worked in Bursa itself.10

Sugar cane was grown in Egypt, where sugar production was a major economic activity in Cairo throughout the 17th century; in Palestine, Syria, and south-eastern Anatolia, where sugar was both sold on and transited through the markets of Diyarbakır, Ergani, and Mardin; and in Cyprus, which was also a center of sugar production.11 Sugar from Cyprus was shipped in the 15th century to northern Anatolia and later supplied Istanbul. Egypt was a major supplier of sugar, which was sent from there to Syria, Palestine, and Anatolia, as well as to Istanbul.

Olive oil from the Mediterranean regions of the empire was used in the soap industry with important centers of soap production in Crete and Palestine. There was also soap production in western Anatolia and in Thessaly. Nablus soap was highly regarded in Egypt where there was a constant demand for it, and soap produced in Jerusalem was traded throughout the region and in Yemen.12 Soap from Aleppo was traded in Urfa, and the soap sold in or taxed in transit in Mardin and Ergani as well as that traded in Malatya and Diyarbakır was probably also from the same region.13

The internal market also encompassed other manufactured items, including ceramics produced in western Anatolia. Kütahya provided Syria with ceramic tiles, and İznik plates were fashionable in Egypt the late 16th and early 17th centuries.14 Carpets were produced in Anatolia, with major production centers in Uşak, Gördes, Selendi, and Kula.

Apart from agricultural production, the empire also produced and traded in other natural resources, such as copper, mined in north-eastern Anatolia, iron from mines in Bulgaria, and lead from the mines in northern Serbia and Bosnia as well as those in Anatolia at Gümüşhane, Ergani, and Keban. Other items included alum, used as a fixer in the dyeing industry; and salt, produced in the Black Sea region, Albania, the eastern Balkans, western Anatolia, and in Cyprus where salt was an important element in revenues in the late 16th century.15

External Trade

Spices came into the empire from India via the Indian Ocean and the Red Sea to Egypt and the Hijaz. These were very important in the 16th century when the Ottomans sought to adopt measures both to increase volume and to maximize state share in the spice trade, but less so in the 17th, when silk overtook spices in importance.16 Ottoman merchants were active in India in the early 16th century, for Ludovico di Varthema referred to merchants from “Turkey” in Calicut (modern Kozhikode in southern India) and four hundred “Turkish merchants” residing in Diu (in the Gulf of Cambay, south of Gujarat).17 Ottoman merchants were also active in Hormuz in 1584 and in Surat.18 Spices and textiles from India also came in through the Persian Gulf to Basra, a major commercial hub, with “divers ships . . . laden with all sorts of Indian merchandise, as spices, drugs, Indico and Calecut cloth” arriving there from Hormuz.19 From Basra the goods were transported to Baghdad and Aleppo, a major center for the spice trade. In the 17th century there was also another route into the empire for Indian goods via Bandar Abbas and from there to Istanbul via Erzurum, and to Trabzon and the Black Sea.

Once imported, spices were then distributed around the empire. Ginger, pepper, cloves, and cinnamon sold on and transited through Mosul.20 Caravans transported spices into Anatolia where they appeared on the local markets, pepper, ginger, and cloves, for example, being sold in Urfa, ginger being sold or charged in transit in Diyarbakır, and indigo in transit in Ergani.21 In 1442 the Burgundian Betrandon de la Broquière, who traveled with a caravan of six hundred to seven hundred camels and mules that went from Damascus to Bursa, a journey that lasted nearly fifty days, carried “great quantities of spicery.”22

The major import from Iran was silk, which formed the bulk of the silk on the world market until the end of the 17th century when it was surpassed by Bengali silk. By the mid-1630s almost all Iranian silk went through Aleppo, which was a major entrepôt for Indian fabrics and Iranian silk in the 16th and 17th centuries. Iranian silk appeared in markets throughout the empire. In Bursa, a major market for Persian merchants from the early days of the state’s existence, quantities of Persian silks were sold in the 15th century, and Persian silks are listed in the price list for Bursa in the early 17th century.23

Coffee was imported from Yemen via the Red Sea into Egypt, which dominated the commerce in this commodity. From there it was traded throughout the empire, to Hijaz, Syria, and the Balkans; to Anatolia, where it quickly became widespread; and to Istanbul where coffee, “the wickedness of Yemen,” was highly popular.24

Slaves were imported from sub-Saharan Africa and from the northern Black Sea region. They were the most important item in the trade from the south into Egypt from where they were distributed round the empire, to Jerusalem, Damascus, and to Istanbul among other places. Slaves were also a major item imported from the north into Kefe (Feodosia in Crimea) and from there to Anatolia and, particularly, to Istanbul, where many of them were used as labor in the Ottoman navy. The importance of Kefe as a slave market is indicated by Alan W. Fisher’s calculation that three to four shiploads of slaves docked at Kefe per week in the period 1610 to 1620.25

The major commodity imported from the West was cloth, predominantly Italian in the 16th century; English in the 17th, Benjamin Braude calculating that 90 to 100 percent of the Levant Company’s export to the Ottoman empire in any one year was made up of cloth; and French in the 18th, when French londrins were a major import into İzmir.26 European cloth entered the Balkans via Dubrovnik, İşkodra (Shkodër), Leipzig, and Lwów (Lviv), and ships from the West transported it to the major Ottoman ports of Istanbul, İzmir, Thessaloniki, and Alexandria.27 In the 16th and 17th centuries before its decline as an international entrepôt, European cloth went to Aleppo overland from the port at İskenderun (Alexandretta), developed as a more suitable alternative to Tripoli as the outlet for Aleppan trade with Europe. European cloth sold throughout the empire.

The major exports of the empire were agricultural products, in particular grain, rice, cotton, wool, tobacco, currants, olive oil, hides, and leather; manufactured items, the most important of which were textiles but which also included carpets and ceramics; and commodities, which were imported and then reexported: spices, Iranian silk, and coffee to the West and European cloth to the East. Cotton, grain, and olive oil, used in the French soap-making industry, as well as coffee, spices, and Iranian silk, were exported from the Arab provinces.

In the Balkans, Dubrovnik was a major port for the export of goods to the West. In the 16th and 17th centuries hides were sent there from central Serbia and Bulgaria, with Bulgarian towns specializing in tanning and producing cordovan, and from there exported to Italy, as was wax. From the mid-17th century, however, Sarajevo, which became a major commercial center for the western Balkan region in the 16th century and the main outlet for the important caravan route that ran from Bursa via Istanbul and Edirne to the Adriatic ports, took over from Dubrovnik in the export of wax and hides.28 Wool from Bulgaria was sent to Dubrovnik from where it was exported to Italy, and wool constituted the main trade item sent from Serbia to Dubrovnik throughout the 16th and 17th centuries.29 Thessaloniki was also a major exporter of Balkan agricultural products, an activity that was particularly important in the 18th century when it exported cotton, wheat, and tobacco to the West.

In the 17th century İzmir emerged as the market for the raw materials of Anatolia: mohair, silk, and cotton. By the 18th century most of İzmir’s exports were the produce of its Anatolian hinterland: wool, cotton, tobacco, and fruit, much of it destined for the wool, silk, and leather industries of Western Europe. Anatolia also exported carpets and ceramics from İznik, the most important center for high-quality ceramic production in the 16th and 17th centuries, a position it lost to Kütahya in the 18th.30

The Importance of Commerce

Not surprisingly commerce was of considerable importance to Ottoman rulers. A source of income, from customs revenues and transit tolls to market dues and sales taxes, it was a factor in the Ottoman policy of conquest. As İnalcık noted, “the mines of gold and silver, as well as the transit centers of international trade producing cash through customs, were the first targets of imperial policy.”31 A major factor in Bayezid I’s strategy for his advance in northern and central Anatolia after 1390 was his determination to take control of the commercial centers along the Tabriz-Bursa silk road.32 Commercial considerations lay in part behind Mehmed II’s conquest of Constantinople in 1453 and his advance in the eastern Mediterranean.33 Commercially motivated, early 16th-century advances made the Ottoman state an “inheritor of Euro-Asian trading networks and participant in the contest for commercial hegemony in the economic space stretching from Venice to the Indian Ocean.”34

Keen to conquer for commercial motivation, the Ottomans also invested heavily in encouraging, stimulating, and intensifying commercial activity. Mehmed II’s policy of transferring population into Istanbul after the conquest was designed to revitalize the city as a mercantile center. Similarly, what preoccupied the Ottomans after their conquest of Jerusalem was to foster commerce in order to develop the prosperity of the city.35 While Ottoman sultans established vakıfs (pious foundations) to support and stimulate trade, high-echelon Ottomans engaged in commerce, Halil İnalcık and Victor Ostapchuk noting that “it was Ottoman practice at all times to permit, sometimes even encourage, members of the Ottoman military class to engage in long-distance caravan and overseas trade and transport.”36 Ottoman ruling elite in Egypt and Yemen were active in trade, owning Red Sea trading ships and investing in commercial infrastructure at major ports, including Bulaq, Rashid, Alexandria, and Suez, and officials in Damascus took an active part in the trade in essential commodities.37

Promotion of commerce clearly required infrastructure and security, both of which the Ottomans sought to provide. From the very early days of the state, the rulers established markets in the towns they conquered, early examples being those in Eskişehir and in Karaca Hisar, where the first Ottoman ruler Osman I (d. c. 1324) was also credited with having established a market tax on sales.38 That such markets were safe and efficient was important. The 15th-century Ottoman chronicler Aşıkpaşazade related an incident in the market at Eskişehir when a man from Germiyan, another small Turkish state, took but did not pay for a jug from traders from the Byzantine town of Bilecik. In response to the complaints of the Bilecik traders, Osman punished the man and “severely forbade” any action against Byzantine traders, an action that resulted in commerce being “conducted justly” and the market being so safe that even the women from Bilecik came to it.39 Although dating from a later period and not necessarily an entirely accurate account, it nevertheless gives us some idea of both the early Ottoman approach to trade and the “international” nature of the market, both parties in the dispute being from outside the borders of the Ottoman state.

Lucrative long-distance trade required investment in urban infrastructure. In Aleppo, the major construction undertaken by the Ottomans in the 16th century, for example, focused on commercial buildings and was aimed both to “encourage the long distance trade, and to harness its profits.” As a result Aleppo had “one of the largest covered markets in the world.”40

Much merchandise was transported overland by caravans, which could be of considerable size. Sahillioğlu calculated that the caravan from Damascus that reached Aleppo in May 1610 consisted of over one thousand animals and stretched more than two miles in length if traveling in single file.41 The security of the caravan routes, which ran throughout the empire, was of vital importance to the Ottoman authorities who invested heavily in constructing caravanserais along the routes, as they did, for example, in Egypt and Syria in the mid-16th century.42 Such caravans included the pilgrimage caravan. The pilgrimage was a major motor of trade, and during the pilgrimage Mecca became a significant market, as did Medina, for Evliya Çelebi (d. after 1685) referred to precious goods of the “seven climes,” from India and China, Central Asia, Iran, and Ethiopia, which arrived in the city, and to the seventy thousand pilgrims and merchants who brought the “goods of the lands and the seas.”43

Caravanserais, halting places along the routes, were one of the most important elements of the trade-route infrastructure. Security in such places was a high priority. Under the law code of Selim I (1512–1520), for example, the doors of caravanserais were not to be opened in the mornings until the person in charge of the caravanserai had inspected all merchandise in order to guarantee that nothing was missing. If he failed to do so and a merchant claimed that his goods had been taken, then the value of his goods would be paid to him by the person in charge of the caravanserai. The law code also included how those accused of theft were to be dealt with and punished.44

The Control of Commerce

Encouraging and protecting commerce, the Ottomans also sought to control it. They did this via a series of mechanisms including trade bans, price controls, and a system of provisioning. Ottoman policy focused on controlling the market, ensuring provision of the market, and preventing dearth. This could be dearth of food supplies, in particular to the capital, or dearth of raw materials such as wool and cotton needed for domestic cloth production.

The Ottomans imposed trade embargoes on goods that they regarded as having strategic importance, such as war materials, vital food supplies, or raw materials. Such trade bans could be regional, applying only to certain areas of the empire, the export of raisins from the Aegean coast of Anatolia, for example, being banned because this area was to supply Istanbul, while raisins grown in Thessaly or Morea were not subject to this prohibition, or of short duration when there was a specific reason such as a drought and subsequent crop failure or local scarcity, as occurred, for example, when in 1670–1671 selling produce outside Crete was banned because of scarcity, a prohibition soon lifted.45 Trade embargoes were often applied to wheat, a fundamental staple for feeding the population, the export of which was banned when the empire was in need, instructions being sent, for example, from Istanbul in August 1560 to officials in Foça and Novesin in Bosnia and Herzegovina informing them not to sell grain to Dubrovnik or to non-Muslims “while it was needed by the province.”46

Trade bans could also be imposed for political reasons. This use of a trade embargo as a “weapon of economic warfare” has been described by Andreäs Riedlmayer as “the most drastic form of Ottoman state intervention in commerce.”47 Such intervention began early in the history of the empire. In 1390, Bayezid I imposed a ban on the export of grain from Ottoman territories, a move aimed both at securing a price hike and jeopardizing the grain supply of Constantinople, which Bayezid put under siege in 1394.48 A trade embargo was used by Selim I (1512–1520) who imposed a ban on trade with Iran, a blockade that “asphyxiated” the Iranian economy.49 Later in the century, the Ottomans once again imposed trade embargoes against Iran during the Ottoman-Iranian hostilities, described by İnalcık as “a true economic war.”50

Mübahat Kütükoğlu has described the fact that exports of Ottoman production only rose after the requirements of the population had been assured as the “the most striking aspect of the economic policy of the Ottoman state.”51 But, as with all things Ottoman, there is a very large gap between system and practice. While trade bans were undoubtedly imposed, they were also often ignored, cancelled by concessions, or breached by smuggling. That even when in place they were often not effective is made clear by the frequently repeated government orders about not selling grain to foreigners, a command “repeated many times,” as noted in instructions sent to Ali Reis, one of the hassa reisleri (Ottoman naval commanders), in 1559.52 Even top officials could navigate around them. Sultan Süleyman I’s grand vezir and son-in-law, Rüstem Paşa, was heavily involved in the grain trade with Dubrovnik in the mid-16th century.53 Grain was a commodity in much demand, and the temptation to ignore a trade ban was clearly always there, for instructions sent from Istanbul to the bey of Rhodes in 1559 about ships taking grain to the island stated that care was to be paid to ensuring that crews be “reliable” men so that there should be no possibility of grain being taken and sold to European merchants.54 Such bans were in any case not easy to police, and even when in place the Ottoman state granted exemption to them to important Western trading partners such as the French.55

The Ottomans also regulated the market, fixing prices, controlling the quality of commodities, and ensuring that correct market practices were followed. Markets were policed by the market inspector (muhtesib). The system of fixed prices (narh) was applied in particular to foodstuffs but also to other items such as soap and cloth, as well as to fees for services.56 The narh for wholesale goods differed from that for retail goods, and the narh for bread differed depending on the quality of flour.57

Narh was regarded by the Ottomans as a mechanism of major importance. For Lütfi Paşa (d. 1563) it was “one of the essential matters” of state; for both Hezarfen Hüseyin Efendi (c. 1611–1691) and Sarı Mehmed Paşa (d. 1717), failure to impose it would lead to a disastrous commercial free-for-all.58 Some modern historians have taken narh as being a quintessential mechanism of state intervention in the market.59 Others, however, maintain that it was not in fact often imposed, while some have argued that the system undermined competition, reduced quality, undercut motivation among producers, chocked the mercantile class, inhibited profits, and prevented capital accumulation and investment in commercial and craft sectors.60 There are, however, various problems when coming to any conclusions about narh. As always there is the problem of the difference between a system and its on-the-ground implementation. Added to this is the problem of knowing whether the narh prices were in fact the same as those that were charged in the markets.61 Given the size of the empire, the importance of regional variation, and the way in which the overall government of the empire often ran on the exception rather than the rule, or on a flexible interpretation, it would seem more likely that narh was imposed when needed, but that it did not necessarily undermine competition, inhibit profit, or lead to the prevention of capital accumulation.

Here, as in all aspects of the Ottoman economy, it is necessary to be wary about just what level of state control was possible in what was a huge empire, or even if, from a merchant point of view, state control was necessary or helpful. In Egypt, for example, Nelly Hanna has argued that “the removal of state controls on international trade . . . resulted in the emergence of an active merchant group who revitalized commercial life. . . . The entire economy did not, in other words, suffer because of the absence of political controls.”62 Similarly one can argue that the Ottoman conquest of Crete from the Venetians in 1669 led to a freeing up of the market with a shift from the micromanagement of Venice to the much more minimal Ottoman state control that allowed the island economy to respond more independently to the demands of the Mediterranean market.63

Apart from controlling the prices and market mechanisms, the Ottomans also needed to ensure the supply of goods on the market. Provisionalism, that is, avoiding scarcity and ensuring a well-stocked market with affordable, good quality commodities that meet the needs of the population, was, according to Mehmet Genç, “the most important principle of Ottoman economic policy.”64 A major problem facing all states, the Ottomans being no exception, was feeding the population. A hungry population was prone to protest, and hunger provoked political volatility. Provisioning Istanbul, a megalopolis far exceeding most European cities in size in the early modern era with a population of around four hundred thousand in the early 16th century, represented a major challenge for the Ottoman rulers. To provide for the capital required a complex system of enforced purchasing, quotas, export bans, fixed prices, transportation, and distribution networks.65

In order to ensure grain supplies, the state attempted to control its purchase and transportation to the capital.66 Who traded in grain was strictly controlled, grain being bought either by the state’s own purchasing agents or merchants authorized by the state. In the 18th century a system of quotas and enforced state prices was used that, although abolished under Selim III at the end of the century, was reintroduced in 1807.67

The meat supply for Istanbul, too, was tightly controlled. In order to ensure a regular supply of sheep and goats to the Istanbul butchers at a fixed price, the celep or celepkeşan system was used whereby the state appointed individuals in the provinces, mostly in the Danube region, who were to buy and then deliver sheep to Istanbul. Given that the sale price was fixed, any profit relied on cheaper sales prices in the provinces and on limited costs involved in moving the often-vast flocks, something not always the case. Celepkeşans, who were exempted from extraordinary taxes, were prohibited from selling to anyone else. As was the case with grain, however, this was not always observed, and celepkeşans did sell at least on occasion to foreigners at Balkan ports such as Thessaloniki.68 The system began to change from the end of the 16th century and was replaced by a tax. Celepkeşans (or matrabaz) became state contractors for the provision of meat to the capital.69

Trade from the Late 18th Century to 1914

By the second half of the 18th century the empire, in terms of export-import trade, was moving toward the position of a provider of raw materials and importer of manufactured goods. The major export items consisted of cotton, cereals, tobacco, wool, hides, opium, and raisins, and, from around the middle of the 19th century, raw silk and carpets. Imports consisted of textiles, from India and Europe, but also sugar, coffee, and dyestuffs.

Three factors mark the Ottoman trade landscape from the late 18th century to the end of the empire in the early 20th: territorial loss, the expansion of the world market, and the development of transportation.

While for much of the early modern era the vast Ottoman empire represented a micro world system of its own in which commerce was largely about internal circulation, this was beginning to change by the late 18th century. Under the treaty of Küçük Kaynarca signed with Russia in 1774, the Ottomans lost their control over the Black Sea, a region so important as a supplier of goods, in particular grain, to Istanbul. Russia extended its access to the Black Sea with its annexation of Crimea in 1783 and under the 1791 Treaty of Jassy took the Ochakiv region. In 1798 Napoleon invaded Egypt. The French departed shortly afterward, in 1801, to be replaced in power by Mehmed Ali (1805–1848) who, although technically under the Ottomans, was to exhibit considerable independence. Egypt continued within the empire in a rather detached way until it was taken over by the British in 1882, although it remained legally part of the empire until 1914. In North Africa, the French took Algiers in 1830 and Tunisia in 1881. Territorially reduced to the north and the south, the empire also suffered major losses to the west. Serbia gained de facto independence in 1817, in 1829 the Ottomans withdrew from Moldavia and Wallachia, and Greece became independent in 1830. The Congress of Berlin in 1878 resulted in the empire being shorn of vast swathes of the Balkans: Montenegro, Serbia, and Rumania became independent states. Bulgaria became autonomous, and then independent in 1908. Bosnia and Herzegovina remained technically Ottoman but were administered by the Habsburgs, and Cyprus went to the British. In 1908 Bosnia and Herzegovina broke away from the empire. By the end of the Balkan wars in 1913 the empire had lost most of its remaining Balkan territory including Thessaloniki. The empire was thus a much-reduced entity from what it had been in the early 18th century. This made its internal market much smaller. At the same time, this smaller market became vulnerable to the impact of an expanding world market. This was the case, for example, with the booms and busts of Ottoman cotton exports, which declined in the first half of the 19th century due to American competition and that from a quasi-independent Egypt, then rose during the American Civil War but subsequently slumped as American cotton flooded back onto the world market, only to rise again in the early 20th century in some areas of the empire in response to the demands of the global textile industry.

In 1838 the Baltalimanı treaty was signed between the Ottomans and the British. This, and similar free trade agreements with other countries that quickly followed, removed internal restrictions on trade in the empire, allowing British merchants to buy commodities unimpeded in Ottoman territory. Although important in the process of opening up the Ottoman market to foreign trade, the treaty represented a continuation of developments already underway, and its significance has tended to be overstated.70 There was, however, significant penetration of the Ottoman market by European goods, in particular British textiles, and by the end of the century three-quarters of total Ottoman international commerce was in the hands of five European countries (Britain, France, Germany, Austria, and Italy).71 Consumers, at least in certain sectors, favored foreign imports over local production, something evident in the advertisements in the Ottoman press in the latter half of the century and noted and complained about by artisans and traders in Istanbul in the 1840s.72 Britain held a major share of Ottoman foreign trade. Between 1827 and 1850, the value of British imports increased by more than 400 percent, and by the early 1870s about one-third of Ottoman imports were British, while around a quarter of Ottoman exports went to Britain.73 Between 1841 and 1851 Ottoman exports to France doubled.74 By 1900, however, Germany had risen to a position of importance, overtaking France in volume of trade, and between 1900 and 1911 imports into the empire from Germany tripled while exports to Germany more than doubled.75

Participation in the expanding world market required an expansion in systems of transportation. In order to access goods more distant from the market or export port than those of the immediate hinterland, efficient and cheap transport was needed. Before the 19th century, overland transportation was largely by camel in Anatolia and the Arab provinces or horse and mule in the Balkans. Transportation was slow and costly, which was why bulky goods such as grain were shipped where possible by sea. At the same time, sailing, although much more economical than transportation overland, was highly dependent on the weather and thus both dangerous and unreliable. Shipping times could vary wildly. River transport was limited, only a small number of rivers being navigable in the empire, and was largely restricted to the Danube, the Tigris, and the Nile. The 19th century saw two major developments that opened up hinterlands and drew the empire more closely into the world market: the railway and the steamship.

When Sir Henry Layard, later British ambassador to the Ottoman empire from 1877 to 1880, approached the Ottoman government in 1856 to propose the building of a railway line to run from Rusçuk (Ruse) via Edirne and Dedeağaç to Istanbul, one of the purposes he noted was to bring the empire’s “capital and its most productive provinces into the shortest communication with the centre and West of Europe.”76 For the Europeans, railways represented the route to exploitation and exportation of Ottoman raw materials. For the Ottomans, the railways offered the prospect of increasing agricultural production and trade and thus boosting revenues. As Abdülhamid II (1876–1909) noted, “the development of railways in my empire is advantageous and profitable.”77

In Anatolia, the two British-built lines, the İzmir-Aydın and the İzmir-Kasaba lines, both completed in 1866, opened up the western Anatolian hinterland of İzmir. According to the French consul general in İzmir writing in 1891, the İzmir-Aydın railway, which was extended to Dinar by 1889, had a major impact: “the penetration of the railway into the high valleys of the Caïstre [Küçük Menderes] and the Méander [Büyük Menderes], in particular, has resulted in a real revolution in the economic conditions of the country. The lands left unproductive because of the lack of transportation have been sown and centres of agriculture have developed.”78 The Anatolian Railway from İzmit to Ankara, with a trunk line to Konya, built between 1890 and 1895, led to a great expansion in the export of grain. Grain from central Anatolia now also became the main source of supply for Istanbul. Further to the south, in Syria, a French-built railway, constructed in 1894, connected the Hawran valley, a fertile area of wheat-growing, with Damascus, and later with Beirut.

This expansion in turn fed into the booming commercial activity of ports such as İzmir, where Dussaud Frères of Marseilles began in 1869 building more than a mile of wharf at the harbor.79 The development of the quay, together with the two railway lines that brought goods from the interior, “accelerated İzmir’s integration into an emerging global economy.”80

Apart from the train there was also the steamship, which revolutionized trade at sea and on rivers. By the 1880s steamships had become so dominant that Ali Bey, an official with the Public Debt Administration, was able to say that traveling by sailing ship “did not even pass through our memories” anymore.81 The arrival of the steamship benefited the exportation from Lebanon to France of silk, for example, supporting the considerable French investment in silk mills there.82

Combined with the expansion of the world market, the development of transportation networks had a knock-on effect on the kind of crops grown, some of which now became more oriented to export onto the world market. What restricted trade in agricultural products was the lack of transportation. When the method of transportation was either slow or expensive or both, it was nonviable economically to cultivate and harvest crops for sale, leaving much agriculture in remoter regions a matter of subsistence farming only. It was with the introduction of the railways in the 19th century that it became possible to harvest crops for sale in distant markets.

The demands of the world market had a direct impact on crop selection in some areas of the empire. In Palestine there was a move to cash crops for the world market—grain, olive oil, sesame seeds, and Jaffa oranges—and a consequent decline in cotton production.83 Jaffa oranges became popular worldwide. According to a British Foreign Office report from 1893, “Jaffa oranges, thanks to their excellent flavor, have of late years acquired a world-wide reputation, and while some 18 years ago this fruit was known only to Beyrout, Alexandria, and Constantinople, enormous quantities of it are now exported to Europe, America, and even to India.”84

The railway also boosted agricultural revenues. According to Tevfik Biren, then governor of Konya, the introduction of the railway there had a direct impact on the income from various agricultural taxes in the areas where it operated. Comparing the figures for 1894, before the arrival of the railway, with those from 1902, he calculated that there was an overall increase of 47.8 percent in income in the kazas (districts) of Akşehir, Ilgın, and Konya.85

All this said, however, it is important not to overstate the significance of international trade, which remained “a minor factor in Ottoman economic life.”86 Trade within the empire was far more important than external trade, and the vast bulk of agricultural production was sold on the domestic rather than the international market. While the influx of European manufactured goods did have a negative impact on much Ottoman manufacturing, the traditional view of inexorable Ottoman industrial decline has been effectively called into question by scholars such as Quataert, who have argued for a picture of change and adaption rather than collapse in the face of such challenges.87

Ottoman commercial life was thus not overturned by the expanding world market, or the introduction of the train. While Ali Bey was able to remark that the sailing ship was so much a thing of the past, he was himself involved in a long and difficult journey by raft down the Tigris to Baghdad. Even in western Anatolia in the early 20th century, the railway had not taken over completely, for in 1909 it was reported that “as many as a hundred [dromedaries] are sometimes seen, led by a little donkey, each laden with the products of the interior of Asia Minor, and all bound for Smyrna.”88


In considering Ottoman commerce over more than six centuries of its existence, various general remarks can be made. Trade mattered: it played a part in Ottoman expansion in the early days of the state, it influenced government policy and underlay sociopolitical decisions. The vast volume of trade was always internal to the empire and not accounted for by foreign trade. And finally, given the agricultural nature of the empire throughout its existence, the vast bulk of its trade was dominated by agricultural products.

Discussion of the Literature

Various issues have dominated debates about the nature of Ottoman commerce. Several of these debates center around the assessment of the empire in comparison with Europe, the invisibility of domestic trade, and the interpretation of the nature of state control.

A major problem when discussing the Ottoman empire in general, and its economy in particular, is the tendency to regard it not as an entity in its own right but as something to be understood by comparing it with Europe. As Rhoads Murphey has put it, “it is the case, unfortunately, that our appraisal of the Ottoman entity itself is based less on the nature of the empire in various periods, and a weighing of its manifest characteristics, than on a negative assessment of what the empire, at a certain point in time, was not, particularly with reference to Western Europe.”89 This Eurocentric bias, which Suraiya Faroqhi noted some years ago “renders economic activities not responding to European needs or demands all but invisible,” has resulted in the investigation of questions not necessarily relevant to the nature of the empire and to the unhelpful answer that the Ottomans did not do things as they did in Europe.90

This can be seen, for example, in the discussion of a lack of an Ottoman industrial revolution, which runs the risk of merely arriving at the conclusion that “the Middle East, during the nineteenth century, did not follow the Western path of development.” Given that no country outside the West, apart from Japan, did, as Donald Quataert noted, “this approach does not seem fruitful.”91 The same can be said for the debate about the lack of an Ottoman mercantile corporate identity. Various historians, including Murat Çizakça, have argued that the Ottoman political system prevented capital formation among a mercantile class.92 Nelly Hanna, however, has drawn attention to the inherent difficulty with this debate: “part of the problem in questions of this kind is that they look for models and forms that are replicas of institutions that evolved only in Europe” and in consequence do not result in a better understanding of the conditions of the empire.93

The quest for a European paradigm with which to frame the Ottoman empire has also contributed to the overdominance of the European merchant in accounts of Ottoman commerce and to the idea that the use of Western sources on 18th-century French and English trade in İzmir, for example, can be used to explain Ottoman economic policy as a whole.94 A further factor explaining the centrality of Western trade in accounts of Ottoman commerce is the abundance of Western primary data, from Italian archive sources for the early period, to voluminous Western travel accounts, commercial documents, and consular reports.

The importance of international trade is, as Donald Quataert has remarked, “easy to overstate because it is so well documented, easily measured and endlessly discussed in readily accessible western-language sources.”95 While internal trade was of far greater significance in any period in the empire’s existence, it is less discussed overall in secondary literature. The complexity of Ottoman documents for economic matters, the flexibility of a system that, although ultimately centered on Istanbul, involved substantial autonomy for regional treasuries, and simply the vast extent of the empire itself that inevitably resulted in considerable regional diversity, all combine to make the presentation of a clear picture of the patterns of internal trade very challenging. At the regional level much commerce was simply not documented.

One aspect of Ottoman commerce was the level of state intervention in the market. Mehmet Genç has argued that three fundamental elements underlay the Ottoman economy: provisionalism, fiscalism, and traditionalism. Of these, provisionalism was the most important.96 This involved tight state control of trade and production. The state thus fixed prices on the market, controlled the flow of goods, and ensured the provisioning of Istanbul. One of the problems with this argument is that it relies on the assumption that the state was able to and did control the market, an assumption about which Şevket Pamuk, for example, has “serious reservations.”97 Various factors—the vast size of the empire, wide regional diversity, the fluid nature of economic control from the center, and the level of autonomy afforded to local treasuries—militate against this conception of an interventionist state. Here the theory of a command economy needs to be tempered by the realities of application.

A further debate about the role of the state within the market questions whether in fact such a role was necessarily beneficial to successful commerce. For Nelly Hanna, referring to Ottoman Egypt, “the study of merchants and commercial activity challenges the view that the economy went to pieces and crumbled when the central authorities, for various reasons, were unable to maintain their control over it, or that a well-run economy had to be politically controlled.”98 The same could be said of Crete where the move away from Venetian micromanagement to a looser Ottoman control gave greater independence to the island to follow market trends rather than respond to the demands of a central state.99

Primary Sources

The major collections of Ottoman primary material are in Istanbul, in particular in the Turkish state archives—the Ottoman Archives (the Başbakanlık Osmanlı Arşivi, renamed the T. C. Cumhurbaşkanlığı Devlet Arşivleri, Osmanlı Arşivi)—with important archival collections in other places that were former parts of the empire, in particular in the National Library and Archives (Dar al-Kutub wa-l-Wathat’iq al-Tar’rikhiyya al-Qawmiyya) in Cairo, and in the Oriental Collections Department of the National Library of St. Cyril and St. Methodius in Sofia. Such material includes the narh (fixed price) registers, customs registers, kanunnames (regulations), mühimme defters (collections of central government orders), kadı court records, and ahidnames (treaties). The largest collections of kadı court records are held in the Turkish state archives and the archives of the İstanbul Müftülüğü. Microfilm collections of some of these records are held in Türkiye Diyanet Vakfı İslam Araştırmaları Merkezi in Istanbul, which has material from the state archives, the archives of the İstanbul Müftülüğü, as well as archives in ex-Ottoman territories, and in the Milli Kütüphane (National Library) in Ankara.

Some material in the Turkish state archives in Istanbul has been digitized, and the catalogue is searchable online.100 However, to date digital copies of documents can only be purchased from within Turkey.

Some of the court records from Istanbul have been published in transcription by Türkiye Diyanet Vakfı İslam Araştırmaları Merkezi and are accessible online.101 Various mühimme defters have also been published, both in facsimile and in transcription, by the Turkish state archives, including numbers 3, 5, 6, 7, 12, 82, and 83. An annotated edition of ahidnames in transcription has been published by Hans Theunissen.102 Collections of kanunnames have been published by Ömer Lütfi Barkan and Ahmed Akgündüz.103

There is also a wealth of European archival material in many European archives, in particular Venice (Archivio di Stato di Venezia) and in Genoa (Archivio di Stato di Genova), the Archivo General de Simancas, the National Archives (Algemeen Rijksarchief) in The Hague, the Austrian State Archives (Österreichisches Staatsarchiv) in Vienna, the archives of the Marseilles Chambre de Commerce, the State Archives in Dubrovnik (Državni arhiv u Dubrovniku), and The National Archives in London.

Other primary sources specifically for the 19th and early 20th centuries include the records of the Ottoman Bank with archives in Paris, London at the London Metropolitan Archives, and Istanbul. Ottoman Bank material is searchable via the Osmanlı Bankası Arşiv ve Araştırma Merkezi (The Ottoman Bank Archive and Research Centre) at SALT Araştırma, Istanbul, where some material has been digitized and is viewable online, including material from the London archives.104 Edhem Eldem has published a detailed inventory of the Bank material.105 Newspapers, including the foreign language press, much of which was concerned with commercial issues, are a further useful primary source. Many are available online, including the periodicals of the Hakkı Tarık Us Collection, and those in French, which can be accessed via the Bibliothèque national de France and SALT Araştırma.106

Further Reading

  • Ágoston, Gàbor. “Merces prohibitae: The Anglo-Ottoman Trade in War Materials and the Dependency Theory.” In “The Ottomans and the Sea.” Edited by Kate Fleet, 177–192. Rome: Istituto per l’Oriente C.A. Nallino, 2001.
  • Akdağ, Mustafa. Türkiye’nin İktisadi ve İçtimai Tarihi. Ankara: Türk Tarih Kurumu Basımevi, 1959.
  • Aynural, Salih. İstanbul Değirmenleri ve Fırınları: Zahire Ticareti, 1740–1840. Istanbul: Türkiye Ekonomik ve Toplumsal Tarih Vakfı, 2002.
  • Crecelius, Daniel, and Hamza ‘Abd Al-’Aziz Badr. “French Ships and Their Cargos Sailing between Damiette and Ottoman Ports 1777–1781.” Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient 37, no. 3 (1994): 251–286.
  • Cvetkova, Bistra A. Vie économique de villes et ports balkaniques aux XVe et XVIe siècles. Paris: Libr. Orientaliste P. Geuthner, 1971.
  • Eldem, Edhem. French Trade in Istanbul in the Eighteenth Century. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 1999.
  • Faroqhi, Suraiya. Towns and Townsmen of Ottoman Anatolia: Trade, Crafts and Food Production in an Urban Setting, 1520–1650. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1984.
  • Fleet, Kate. European and Islamic Trade in the Early Ottoman State. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1999.
  • Gerber, Haim. Economy and Society in an Ottoman City: Bursa, 1600–1700. Jerusalem: The Hebrew University, 1988.
  • İnalcık, Halil. “Bursa and the Commerce of the Levant.” Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient 3 (1960): 131–147.
  • Panzac, Daniel. Commerce et navigation dans l’Empire ottoman au XVIIIe siècle. Istanbul: Isis, 1996.
  • Raymond, André. Artisans et commerçants au Caire au XVIIIe siècle. 2 vols. Damascus: Presses de l’Ifpo, 1973.
  • Stoianovich, Traian. “Cities, Capital Accumulation and the Ottoman Balkan Command Economy, 1500–1800.” In Cities and the Rise of States in Europe. Edited by Charles Tilly and Wim Blockmans, 60–99. Boulder, CO: Westview, 1994.


  • 1. Latifi, Evsâf-ı İstanbul, ed. Nermin Suner (Pekin) (Istanbul: İstanbul Fetih Cemiyeti Yayınları, 1977), 42.

  • 2. Bruce Masters, “Trade in the Ottoman Lands to 1215/1800,” in The New Cambridge History of Islam, vol. 2: The Western Islamic World Eleventh to Eighteenth Centuries, ed. Maribel Fierro (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2010), 674.

  • 3. Nelly Hanna, Making Big Money in 1600: The Life and Times of Ismail Abu Taqiyya, Egyptian Merchant (Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 1998), 60; Beshara Doumani, Rediscovering Palestine: Merchants and Peasants in Jabal Nablusi 1700–1900 (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1995), 90; Katerina Papakonstantinou, “The Pondikas Merchant Family from Thessaloniki, ca. 1750–1800,” in Merchants in the Ottoman Empire, ed. Suraiya Faroqhi and Gilles Veinstein (Louvain, Belgium: Peeters, 2008), 136; and Leon Sciaky, Farewell to Salonica, City at the Crossroads (London: Haus Books, 1946), 50–51, 54–55.

  • 4. Zeki Arıkan, “Midilli-İstanbul Arasında Zeytinyağı Ticareti,” Ankara Üniversitesi Dil ve Tarih-Coğrafya Tarih Bölümü Tarih Araştırmaları Dergisi 40, no. 25 (2006): 5.

  • 5. Rabih Banat and Améziane Ferguene, “La production e le commerce du textile à Alep sous l’empire ottoman: Une forte contribution à l’essor économique de la ville,” Histoire, Économie et Société 29, no. 2 (June 2010): 10.

  • 6. Ensar Köse, “Kefe Limanı ve Karadeniz Ticareti (18. Yüzyılın İlk Yarısı),” Ordu Üniversitesi Sosyal Bilimler Araştırmaları Dergisi 12 (July 2015): 51.

  • 7. Ömer Lütfi Barkan, XV ve XVI inci Asırlarda Osmanlı İmparatorluğunda Ziraî Ekonominin Hukukî ve Malî Esasları, vol. 1: Kanunlar (Istanbul: Burhaneddin Matbaası, 1943), 137, 146, 151, 159, 161.

  • 8. Barkan, Kanunlar, 177.

  • 9. Suraiya Faroqhi, “Surviving in Difficult Times: The Cotton and Silk Trades in Bursa around 1800,” in Bread from the Lion’s Mouth: Artisans Striving for a Living in Ottoman Cities, ed. Suraiya Faroqhi (New York and Oxford: Berghahn, 2015), 136.

  • 10. Mübahat S. Kütükoğlu, “1624 Sikke Tashihinin Ardından Hazırlanan Narh Defterleri,” Tarih Dergisi 34 (1983–1984): 137–167.

  • 11. Hanna, Making Big Money, 82; and Barkan, Kanunlar, 137, 138, 152, 159.

  • 12. Doumani, Rediscovering Palestine, 71; and Amnon Cohen, Economic Life in Ottoman Jerusalem (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1989), 86–87. Yemen was under Ottoman rule from 1538 to 1636, although Ottoman control was largely restricted to the southern coastal region. It was then not reconquered by the Ottomans until 1871.

  • 13. Barkan, Kanunlar, 114, 137, 152, 154, 156, 159, 160.

  • 14. Hanna, Making Big Money, 106.

  • 15. Mehmet Demiryürek, “The Tax Farm for the Salt-Works and Port Customs of Ottoman Cyprus (1570–1595),” Turkish Historical Review 10, no. 1 (2019): 26.

  • 16. Giancarlo Casale, “The Ottoman Administration of the Spice Trade in the Sixteenth-Century Red Sea and Persian Gulf,” Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient 49, no. 2 (2006): 170–198.

  • 17. Ludovico di Varthema, The Travels of Ludovico di Varthema in Egypt, Syria, Arabia Deserta ad Arabia Felix, in Persia, India, and Ethiopia, ad 1503 to 1508 (London: Hakluyt Society, 1863), 92, 151, 269.

  • 18. John Newberie to Leonard Poore, 20 January 1584, in Richard Hakluyt, The Principal Navigations, vol. 3 (London: J. M. Dent, 1927), 276; and Gilles Veinstein, “Commercial Relations between India and the Ottoman Empire (Late Fifteenth to Early Eighteenth Centuries): A Few Notes and Hypotheses,” in Merchants, Companies and Trade: Europe and Asia in the Early Modern Era, ed. Sushil Chaudhury and Michel Morineau (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2009), 101.

  • 19. John Eldred, “The Voyage of M. John Eldred,” in The Principal Navigations, vol. 3, ed. Richard Hakluyt (London: J. M. Dent, 1927), 326.

  • 20. Barkan, Kanunlar, 177.

  • 21. Barkan, Kanunlar, 138, 146, 152, 156.

  • 22. Bertrandon de la Broquière, The Travels of Bertrandon de la Broquiere, trans. Thomas Johnes (London: The Hafod Press, 1807), 151–152.

  • 23. Halil İnalcık, “Bursa: XV; Asır Sanayi ve Ticaret Tarihine Dair Vesikalar,” Belleten 24, no. 93 (1960): 208–211; and Kütükoğlu, “1624 Sikke Tashihinin Ardından,” 145.

  • 24. Suraiya Faroqhi, “Coffee and Spices: Official Ottoman Reactions to Egyptian Trade in the Later Sixteenth Century,” Wiener Zeitschrift für die Kunde des Morgenlandes 76 (1986): 89–90; and Gelibolulu Mustafa Ali, Câmi‛u’l-Buhûr Der Mecâlis-i Sûr, ed. Ali Öztekin (Ankara: Türk Tarih Kurumu Basımevi, 1996), 188.

  • 25. Alan W. Fisher, “Muscovy and the Black Sea Slave Trade,” Canadian-American Slavonic Studies 6, no. 4 (1972): 584.

  • 26. Benjamin Braude, “International Competition and Domestic Cloth in the Ottoman Empire, 1500–1650: A Study in Underdevelopment,” Review (Fernand Braudel Center) 2, no. 3 (Winter 1979): 444; and Elena Frangakis-Syrett, The Commerce of Smyrna in the Eighteenth Century (1700–1820) (Athens, Greece: Centre for Asia Minor Studies, 1992), 191–193.

  • 27. Virginia Paskaleva, “Osmanlı Balkan Eyâletleri’nin Avrupalı Devletlerle Ticaretleri Tarihine Katkı (1700–1850),” İstanbul Üniversitesi İktisat Fakültesi Mecmuası 27, no. 1–2 (1967): 40, 56–57; and Elenora Nadel-Golobič, “Armenians and Jews in Medieval Lvov: Their Role in Oriental Trade 1400–1600,” Cahiers du Monde Russe et Soviétique 20, no. 3–4 (1979): 345, 355.

  • 28. Halil İnalcık, “The Ottoman State: Economy and Society, 1300–1600,” in An Economic and Social History of the Ottoman Empire 1300–1914, ed. Halil İnalcık and Donald Quataert (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1994), 265.

  • 29. Francic W. Carter, Dubrovnik (Ragusa): A Classic City-State (London and New York: Seminar Press, 1972), 369.

  • 30. Lynda Carroll, “Could’ve been a Contender: The Making and Breaking of ‘China’ in the Ottoman Empire,” International Journal of Historical Archaeology 3, no. 3 (September 1999): 131, 187.

  • 31. İnalcık, “The Ottoman State,” 58.

  • 32. M. Yaşar Yücel, “Candar-oğlu Çelebi İsfendiyar Bey 1392–1439,” Tarih Araştırmaları Dergisi 2, no. 2–3 (1964): 157.

  • 33. Ebru Boyar and Kate Fleet, A Social History of Ottoman Istanbul (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2010), 11–14; and Kate Fleet, “The Ottomans in the Mediterranean in the Later Fifteenth Century: The Strategy of Mehmed II,” Storja (2015): 25–27.

  • 34. Palmira Brummett, Ottoman Seapower and Levantine Diplomacy in the Age of Discovery (Albany: State University of New York, 1994), 175.

  • 35. Cohen, Economic Life in Ottoman Jerusalem, 6.

  • 36. Halil İnalcık and Victor Ostapchuk, Sources and Studies on the Ottoman Black Sea, vol. 1: The Customs Register of Caffa, 1487–1490 (Cambridge, MA: Ukrainian Research Institute, Harvard University, 1996), 113.

  • 37. Hanna, Making Big Money, 107; and Karl Barbir, Ottoman Rule in Damascus: 1708–1758 (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1980), 124.

  • 38. Aşıkpaşazade , Die Altosmanische Chronik des Ašıkpašazade, ed. Fredrich Giese (Leipzig: O. Harrassowitz, 1929, reprinted Osnabrük, 1972), 14, 20, 21.

  • 39. Aşıkpaşazade, Chronik, 14–15.

  • 40. Heghnar Zeitlian Watenpaugh, The Image of an Ottoman City: Imperial Architecture and Urban Experience in Aleppo in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries (Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 2004), 55, 56.

  • 41. Halil Sahillioğlu, “Bir Tüccar Kervanı,” Belgelerle Türk Tarihi Dergisi 2, no. 9 (1968): 64.

  • 42. Hanna, Making Big Money, 23.

  • 43. Evliya Çelebi, Evliya Çelebi Seyahatnamesi, vol. 9, ed. Yücel Dağlı, Seyit Ali Kahraman, and Robert Dankoff (Istanbul: Yapı Kredi Yayınları, 2005), 304.

  • 44. Yaşar Yücel and Selami Pulaha, I. Selim Kanunnameleri (1512–1520) (Ankara: Türk Tarih Kurumu Basımevi, 1995), 35, 90–91, 154–155.

  • 45. Suraiya Faroqhi, “The Venetian Presence in the Ottoman Empire, 1600–30,” in The Ottoman Empire and the World Economy, ed. Huri İslamoğlu-İnan (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1987), 314; and Kate Fleet and Svetla Ianeva, Ottoman Economic Practices in Periods of Transformation: The Cases of Crete and Bulgaria (Ankara: Türk Tarih Kurumu Basımevi, 2014), 82–83.

  • 46. 3 Numaralı Mühimme Defteri (966–968/1558–1560) (Ankara: T. C. Başbakanlık Devlet Arşivleri Genel Müdürlüğü, 1993), 641.

  • 47. Andreäs Riedlmayer, “Ottoman-Safavid Relations and the Anatolian Trade Routes: 1603–1618,” Turkish Studies Association Bulletin 5, no. 1 (March 1981): 7.

  • 48. Julian Chrysostomides, Monumenta Peloponnesiaca: Documents for the History of the Peloponnese in the 14th and 15th Centuries (Camberley, UK: Porphyrogenitus, 1995), 138n2; Doukas, Decline and Fall of Byzantium to the Ottoman Turks, ed. and trans. Harry J. Magoulias (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1975), 81; and Anthony Luttrell and Elizabeth A. Zachariadou, Sources for Turkish History in the Hospitallers’ Rhodian Archive 1389–1422 (Athens, Greece: National Hellenic Research Foundation Institute for Byzantine Research, 2008), 95, 97.

  • 49. Jean-Louis Bacqué-Grammont, “Notes et documents sur les Ottomans, les Safavides et la Géorgie 1516–1521 Études turco-safavides, VI,” Cahiers du Monde Russe et Soviétique 20, no. 2 (April-June 1979): 244.

  • 50. Halil İnalcık, “Osmanlı İmparatorluğunun Kuruluş ve İnkişafi Devrinde Türkiye İktisadî Vaziyeti Üzerinde Bir Tetkik Münasebetiyle,” Belleten 15, no. 60 (1951): 665. Riedlmayer, “Ottoman-Safavid Relations,” argues that there was no blockade on trade for the years 1603–1618.

  • 51. Mübahat S. Kütükoğlu, Balta Limanı’na Giden Yol: Osmanlı-İngiliz İktisâdî Münâsebetleri (1580–1850) (Ankara: Türk Tarih Kurumu Basımevi, 2013), 79.

  • 52. 3 Numaralı Mühimme Defteri, 161.

  • 53. James D. Tracy, “The Grand Vezir and the Small Republic: Dubrovnik and Rüstem Paşa, 1544–1561,” Turkish Historical Review 1, no. 2 (2010): 206–208.

  • 54. 3 Numaralı Mühimme Defteri, 7.

  • 55. Zeki Arıkan, “Osmanlı İmparatorluğu’nda İhracı Yasak Mallar, Memnu Meta,” in Prof. Dr. Bekir Kütükoğlu’na Armağan (Istanbul: İstanbul Üniversitesi Edebiyat Fakültesi Basımevi, 1991), 300–301.

  • 56. Mübahat S. Kütükoğlu, Osmanlılarda Narh Müessesesi ve 1640 Tarihli Narh Defteri (Istanbul: Enderun Kitabevi, 1983), 4–38; and Mübahat S. Kütükoğlu, “1009 (1600) Tarihli Narh Defterine Göre İstanbul’da Çeşitli Eşya ve Hizmet Fiyatları,” Tarih Enstitüsü Dergisi 9 (1978): 46–57.

  • 57. Halil Sahillioğlu, “Osmanlılarda Narh Müessesesi ve 1525 Yılı Sonunda İstanbul’da Fiyatlar,” Belgelerle Türk Tarihi Dergisi 1–2 (1967): 1:40, 2:56.

  • 58. Mübahat S. Kütükoğlu, “Lütfi Paşa Âsafnâmesi (Yeni Bir Metin Tesisi Denemesi),” in Prof. Dr. Bekir Kütükoğlu’na Armağan (Istanbul: İstanbul Üniversitesi Edebiyat Fakültesi Basımevi, 1991), 79–80; Hezarfen Hüseyin Efendi, Telhîsü’l-Beyân Fî Kavânîn-i Âl-i Osmân, ed. Sevim İlgürel (Ankara: Türk Tarih Kurumu Basımevi, 1998), 248; and Walter Livingston Wright Jr., ed., Ottoman Statecraft: The Book of Counsel for Vezirs and Governors (Nasā’ih ül-vüzera ve’l-ümera) of Sarı Mehmed Pasha, the Defterdār (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1971), 77–78.

  • 59. Sahillioğlu, “Narh Müessesesi,” 37; and Ömer Lütfi Barkan, “XV: Asrın Sonunda Bazı Büyük Şehirlerde Eşya ve Yiyecek Fiyatlarının Tesbit ve Teftişi Hususlarını Tanzim Eden Kanunlar,” Tarih Vesikaları 1, no. 5 (1942): 326.

  • 60. Şevket Pamuk, A Monetary History of the Ottoman Empire (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2000), 14–15 and note 46; Mücteba İlgürel, “1116–1119/1704–1707 Tarihleri Arasında Balıkesir’e Ait Narh Düzenlemeleri,” Osmanlı Araştırmaları 23 (2003): 11; Mehmet Genç, “Osmanlı İktisadi Dünya Görüşünün İlkeleri,” in Osmanlı İmparatorluğunda Devlet ve Ekonomi (Istanbul: Ötüken, 2012), 53, 68, 78, 341; and Murat Çizakça, “The Ottoman Government and Economic Life: Taxation, Public Finance and Trade Controls,” in The Cambridge History of Turkey, vol. 2: The Ottoman Empire as a World Power, 1453–1603, ed. Suraiya Faroqhi and Kate Fleet (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2013), 268.

  • 61. Ömer Lütfi Barkan, “XVI: Asrın İkinci Yarısında Türkiye’de Fiyat Hareketleri,” Belleten 34, no. 136 (1970): 557.

  • 62. Hanna, Making Big Money, 60.

  • 63. Fleet and Ianeva, Ottoman Economic Practices, 57–102.

  • 64. Genç, “Osmanlı İktisadi Dünya Görüşünün İlkeleri,” 48.

  • 65. İnalcık, “Bursa: XV; Asır Sanayi ve Ticaret Tarihine Dair Vesikalar,” 56.

  • 66. Rhoads Murphey, “Provisioning Istanbul: The State and Subsistence in the Early Modern Middle East,” Food and Foodways 2 (1988): 217–263.

  • 67. Seven Ağır, “The Evolution of Grain Policy: The Ottoman Experience,” The Journal of Interdisciplinary History 43, no. 4 (2013): 571–598.

  • 68. Halime Doğru, “Rumeli’de Çelep-Keşanlar,” in XIII: Türk Tarih Kongresi; 4–8 Ekim 1999; Kongreye Sunulan Bildiriler, vol. 3 (Ankara: Türk Tarih Kurumu Basımevi, 2002), 1675–1690.

  • 69. Andreas Lyberatos, “Men of the Sultan: The Beğlik Sheep Tax Collection System and the Rise of a Bulgarian National Bourgeoisie in Nineteenth-Century Plovdiv,” Turkish Historical Review 1, no. 1 (2010): 58–59.

  • 70. Şevket Pamuk, The Ottoman Empire and European Capitalism, 1820–1913 (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1987), 19; Donald Quataert, “The Age of Reforms, 1812–1914,” in An Economic and Social History of the Ottoman Empire 1300–1914, ed. Halil İnalcık and Donald Quataert (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1994), 825; and Orhan Kurmuş, “The 1838 Treaty of Commerce Re-Examined,” in Économie et sociétés dans l’empire Ottoman, ed. Jean-Louis Bacqué-Grammont and Paul Dumont (Paris: Èditions du Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, 1983), 411–417.

  • 71. Quataert, “Age of Reforms,” 828.

  • 72. Fleet and Ianeva, Ottoman Economic Practices, 108–110.

  • 73. Orhan Kurmuş, Emperyalizmin Türkiye’ye Girişi (Istanbul: Yordam Kitap, 2007), 86; and Pamuk, The Ottoman Empire and European Capitalism, 30.

  • 74. Michelle Raccagni, “The French Economic Interests in the Ottoman Empire,” International Journal of Middle East Studies 11, no. 3 (May 1980): 363.

  • 75. William I. Shorrock, “The Origin of the French Mandate in Syria and Lebanon: The Railroad Question, 1901–1914,” International Journal of Middle East Studies 1, no. 2 (April 1970): 134.

  • 76. Orhan Kurmuş, “Britain’s Dependence on Foreign Food and Some Railway Projects in the Balkans,” ODTÜ Gelişme Dergisi 2 (1971): 276.

  • 77. Devlet Arşivleri, Osmanlı Arşivi, Istanbul, İ. MMS. 121 5029, 13 Rebiülevvel 1308/15 Teşrin-i evvel 1306 (27 October 1890).

  • 78. Firmin Rougon, Smyrne: Situation commerciale et économique des pays compris dan la circonscription du consulat général de France (Vilayeti d’Aidin, de Konieh et des Iles) (Paris-Nancy: Berger-Levrault et Cie, 1892), 148.

  • 79. Raccagni, “French Economic Interests,” 361.

  • 80. Sibel Zandi-Sayek, Ottoman Izmir: The Rise of a Cosmopolitan Port, 1840–1880 (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2012), 117.

  • 81. Ali Bey, Âli Bey Seyahat Jurnali, ed. Mefharet Kandemir (Istanbul: Türkiye İş Bankası Kültür Yayınları, 2019), 50.

  • 82. Raccagni, “French Economic Interests,” 365.

  • 83. Doumani, Rediscovering Palestine, 105.

  • 84. “Jaffa Orange,” Bulletin of Miscellaneous Information (Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew) 88 (1894): 118.

  • 85. Tevfik Biren, Bürokrat Tevfik Biren’in II: Abdülhamid, Meşrutiyet, ve Mütareke Hatıraları, ed. Fatma Reza Hürmen (Istanbul: Pınar Yayınları, 2006), 259–260.

  • 86. Quataert, “Age of Reforms,” 830.

  • 87. See, for example Donald Quaetert, Ottoman Manufacturing in the Age of the Industrial Revolution (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1993).

  • 88. “The Use of Camels for Transport in Turkey,” Journal of the Royal Society of Arts 57, no. 2970 (1909): 992.

  • 89. Rhoads Murphey, “Continuity and Discontinuity in Ottoman Administrative Theory and Practice during the Late Seventeenth Century,” Poetics Today 14, no. 2 (1993): 422.

  • 90. Faroqhi, Suraiya, “Crisis and Change,” in An Economic and Social History of the Ottoman Empire 1300–1914, ed. Halil İnalcık and Donald Quataert (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1994), 507.

  • 91. Donald Quataert, “Ottoman Manufacturing in the Nineteenth Century,” in Manufacturing in the Ottoman Empire and Turkey, 1500–1950, ed. Donald Quataert (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1994), 90.

  • 92. Çizakça, “The Ottoman Government and Economic Life,” 262, 269–272.

  • 93. Hanna, Making Big Money, 104.

  • 94. Elena Frangakis-Syrett, “Trade between the Ottoman Empire and Western Europe: The Case of İzmir in the Eighteenth Century,” New Perspectives on Turkey 2, no. 1 (1988): 1.

  • 95. Donald Quataert, The Ottoman Empire, 1700–1922 (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2000), 125.

  • 96. Genç, “Osmanlı İktisadi Dünya Görüşünün İlkeleri,” 47, 48; and Mehmet Genç, “Osmanlı İktisadi Dünya Görüşünün Klâsik İlkeleri ve Temel Değerleri,” in Osmanlı İmparatorluğunda Devlet ve Ekonomi(Istanbul: Ötüken, 2012), 85. For a discussion of this theory, see Kate Fleet, “The Ottoman Economy c. 1300–c. 1585,” History Compass 12, no. 5 (2014): 457–459.

  • 97. Pamuk, Monetary History, xix.

  • 98. Hanna, Making Big Money, 7.

  • 99. Fleet and Ianeva, Ottoman Economic Practices, 57–102.

  • 100. Devlet Arşivleri Başkanlığı.

  • 101. İstanbul Kadı Sicilleri.

  • 102. Hans Theunissen, “Ottoman-Venetian Diplomatics: The ‘Ahd-Names; The Historical Background and the Development of a Category of Political-Commercial Instruments Together with an Annotated Edition of a Corpus of Relevant Documents,” Electronic Journal of Ottoman Studies 1, no. 2 (1998): 1–698.

  • 103. Barkan, Kanunlar; and Ahmed Akgündüz, Osmanlı Kanûnnâmeleri ve Hukûkî Tahilleri, 9 vols. (Istanbul: Fey Vakfı Yayınları, 1990–1996).

  • 104. Salt Research.

  • 105. Edhem Eldem, Banque Impériale Ottomane: Inventaire commenté des archives (Istanbul: Institut Français d’Études Anatoliennes, Banque Ottomane, 1994).

  • 106. Periodicals of Hakkı Tarık Us Collection; Presse ottomane francophone.