Is Iran semi-periphery why

Ottoman merchants from the late 15th century. Century up to the Napoleonic Wars.

Ottoman economic historians dealing with trade have for a long time mostly preferred the macro level. This was already suggested by the conceptual framework in which such studies were mostly carried out and z. Some of them are still being pursued: the inspiration comes from works such as the classic Mediterranean study by Fernand Braudel, in which always? The general? and? the big picture? stand in the foreground. It is noteworthy that Braudel's later work on capitalism and everyday life, although very relevant in our context, had a much less impact on historians of the Ottoman Empire.

Trading at the Macro Level: Some Key Findings

The great work by Immanuel Wallerstein, which addresses the unequal relationships between the center, semi-periphery and periphery of a European-dominated world economy in the early modern period, and for historians of the Ottoman Empire above all with its concept of incorporation, is perhaps even more at the macro level in this world economy? has become relevant. Since in the model developed by Wallerstein such incorporation is closely linked to import and especially export trade, historians of Ottoman trade in particular have felt drawn to Wallerstein's approach. The main problem of the research was to determine how the relative independence of the Ottoman economy from Europe was still in the late sixteenth century. Century to the well-known dependence of the XIX. has become. In this context, it seemed uninteresting to even take a closer look at economic units that were smaller than a region. The interest focused on Istanbul and its numerous food and raw material suppliers in various parts of the empire, or on the small businesses in the region around Aleppo.

Undoubtedly, this direction of research has produced important results. Halil Inalcik has worked out in a number of studies that, contrary to what the older literature often asserts, the Ottoman upper class was thoroughly interested in the welfare of trade. The exchange of goods was promoted by the establishment of large centers (Han, Bedesten) with sometimes over a hundred shops and workshops that could be rented by merchants and craftsmen; The rental income went to mosques, schools, and other pious foundations that members of the Ottoman upper class set up mainly in the big cities of the empire. Inalcik has also shown that the Ottoman government showed the wholesalers its special benevolence. Precisely because they supplied the court and the upper class with valuable goods, they were exempt from the numerous regulations that restricted the activities of small traders and traders.

Halil Inalcik, Halil Sahillio? Lu, André Raymond and, more recently, Nelly Hanna have also worked out that Ottoman long-distance traders developed relationships not only with their European trading partners and competitors, but also with Iranians and Indians. Although it was from the early XVII. Century the Dutch succeeded in bringing a large part of the spice deliveries to Europe under their control. But Ottoman merchants still procured their customers' very large needs for pepper and other spices independently of the East India Company, mostly from the west coast of India through the mediation of Indian merchants. In addition, as in Europe at that time, significant quantities of Indian cotton fabrics were imported; and the import of coffee from Yemen tied the Ottoman traders to their partners from the east and south.

However, this medal also had its downside. As Lütfi Güçer's and Mehmet Genç's research has highlighted, the Ottoman government primarily endeavored to ensure the supply of the court, armed power and the capital. Mehmet Genç has the catchy expression? Provisionism? embossed. This is why the Ottoman administration was rather suspicious of exports: it was assumed that production was static and that the export of necessary goods would damage not only the state apparatus in its supply, but also the local craftsmen through the loss of their raw material base. As also the Ottoman sultans? how, by the way, also early modern European states? saw their main activity in warfare, exports were also badly regarded because they were? war-important? Substances such as leather, cotton or grain could get into the hands of the opponent.

In contrast, imports, precisely because they supplied the market and thus counteracted the rise in prices, were ascribed a rather positive role. The fact that the Ottoman trade balance with Europe was mostly positive in the early modern period, i.e. that this branch of industry brought silver into the country, should have continued to favor this trade by the Ottoman upper class. Compared to imports from India, which consistently led to an outflow of silver imported from the West, Istanbul was at least in the 18th century. Century far less positive attitude.

Muslims and non-Muslims in Ottoman trade

Contrary to a widespread prejudice, until well into the XVIII. Century into the Muslims a considerable proportion of the Ottoman merchants. This has for the late XV. and the XVI. Century already worked out Halil Inalcik, for the XVIII. The research by André Raymond and Daniel Panzac is available from the 19th century. In older research it was often assumed that Ottoman Muslims avoided trade, or at least foreign trade, because contact with non-Muslims could hardly be avoided here. At most in the supply of Istanbul, which was so tightly controlled by the authorities that it was hardly possible to speak of trade in the full sense of the word, Muslim merchants, according to this view of things, became active. However, that this interpretation of the circumstances is a back projection of the circumstances of the XIX. Jhs. depicts older epochs, the works of Cemal Kafadar or Nelly Hanna have sufficiently emphasized. However, this gives rise to the research problem of how, when and under what circumstances this change in the assessment of trade among Ottoman Muslims took place.

The rethinking on this question has also been promoted by the fact that there is now a large number of monographs on individual regions of the Ottoman Empire. This has shown that the control of trade by the political rulers in Cairo was by no means as intense as in the center of the empire. Muslim merchants in the Egyptian metropolis were also able to maintain wide-ranging international relations without even getting involved in connections to the state apparatus, which in Istanbul were always important for the establishment of large fortunes. Here the Ottoman conquest apparently meant an opportunity for long-distance trade, which was also used by Muslim merchants. On the other hand, it turned out that in some areas, such as Syria, regional and interregional trade was much more important than previously thought, and in these areas Muslim merchants played a much more important role than in the import-export business with Europe. The dominant role of the non-Muslims in Ottoman trade is seen in today's research more as a development of the later XVIII. and even of the XIX. Jhs.

From trade to dealers

The discussion about the roles of Muslims and non-Muslims has certainly contributed to the fact that the interest of many historians has shifted from the macro level to the micro level. But besides that, factors that come from the political topicality certainly also played a role. Since the beginning of the 1980s, especially under pressure from the International Monetary Fund, Turkey turned away from an economy in which the state apparatus had a strongly regulating function and turned to free trade. In the long run, this turnaround also had an impact on the orientation of Ottoman historiography. For example, the methods of financing trade through credit instruments, previously neglected by research, have now become the subject of detailed studies. Perhaps more importantly, the fact that the merchants as a social group now adhere to? Respectability? won: For the old master of Ottoman economic history Ömer Lütfi Barkan (1902-1979) with his statistic image of society, they were rather problematic marginal figures, troublemakers in an Ottoman society consisting essentially of peasants and bureaucrats.

With this? Rehabilitation? Of the merchants, the observation that until around 1760 they were much better able to cope with the trading companies of the English or Dutch or the state-regulated commerce of the French monopolized by the Chamber of Commerce in Marseilles than they did in the succession of Niels Steensgaard's famous beech, originally adopted. Steensgaard had been of the opinion that the? Little itinerant traders? (pedlars) of the Ottoman and Iranian sectors in terms of credit, market information and storage could never have rivaled the companies. However, one sees this question differently today, since we know more about the family and country team organization (trade diasporas), which formed the basis for long-distance trade in these areas. For example, André Raymond and, more recently, Bruce Masters have shown that religious minorities such as the Syrian Catholics in the Ottoman Empire in the 18th century Jhs. have built a very successful trade diaspora. Today it is generally recognized that these local merchants were able to make life difficult for their European competitors right into the Napoleonic era. This realization has certainly contributed to the fact that Ottoman traders, whether Muslim or not, are no longer seen as mere tools of the Europeans.

The discovery of new sources

Until the 1980s, however, economic historians who worked on the Ottoman world were consistently convinced that monographs on individual traders or trade diaspores, as we know them for late medieval and early modern Italy, for example, would not be feasible. After all, it was believed that the Ottoman archives lacked any accounts or correspondence from individual companies, at least as far as the period before about 1850 was concerned. Here, however, one has had an experience that other? New? historical disciplines: as soon as interest in a topic has been awakened, it often turns out that the required source base, narrow as it may be, does exist. Ne? E Erim has shown that the customs registers of the border town of Erzurum in the late 17th and in the early XVIII. Century can learn a lot about the business of the Iranian Armenians, who at that time imported raw silk and textiles into the Ottoman Empire. Even if on a much smaller scale, the author of these lines once succeeded in finding out something about the traders who worked at the beginning of the 19th century from a customs book. Jhs. in the southern Anatolian city of Antalya benefited from the grain boom triggered by the Napoleonic wars. Bruce Masters has shown that Ottoman merchants, endowed with the privileges of the Sultan, tried to establish themselves in European trade around 1800, an issue that was addressed for the Magrib by Daniel Panzac. Murat Çizakça carried out an important study of commercial partnerships on the accounts of some companies of the XVIII. and early XIX. Century, which got lost in the State Archives in Istanbul, perhaps because the owners had become debtors of the Treasury for one reason or another. In Cairo estate inventories of large merchants of the XVIII. Century present, the i.a. have been evaluated by André Raymond.

However, the greatest achievement of this kind was certainly Nelly Hanna: this Egyptian historian has for the turn of the 16th century. for the XVII. A very successful wholesaler called Isma? Il Abu Taqiyya? Dingfest? made who used the registers of the local kadis as well as Italian merchants of the XIV. or XV. Jhs. the notary you trust: In the course of several decades of activity, Abu Taqiyya has immortalized himself in around a thousand documents, which have enabled the author to draw a fairly detailed picture not only of his commercial activities, but also of his family relationships. Your monograph has shown that a merchant in Cairo at this time did not have to hide his wealth in order to protect it from confiscation, as has so often been claimed. On the contrary, the magnificent house that Abu Taqiyya had built still stands today, and nothing is known of attempts by the Cairo governors or military commanders to confiscate his property under one pretext or another. Once again it has been shown that it is easy to go astray when one considers the dangers that a wealthy man faces at the end of the 18th century. Jhs. threatened, carried over unseen to older periods.

The goals of this symposium

Against the background of this research, the aim of the colloquium is to advance the search for new sources for the management of commercial companies in the Ottoman area. Colleagues involved in this arduous business should have the opportunity to present their material. Accounts, letters and? Merchant books ?, the latter mostly from the 18th century. Century, will undoubtedly be in the foreground. But I also hope that some participants will be able to come up with previously completely unknown material.

Overall, the analysis of commercial activity in the Ottoman area in the period between the late XV. Century and the time around 1800. The concentration on individual merchants, family businesses or trade diaspores should make it possible to also address the? Mentalities? the respective dealer in view. This is to take into account the cultural-historical focus of today's historiography without neglecting the economic conditions, as unfortunately sometimes happens. Our discussion should focus on the options open to merchants of different denominations; the different conditions in the different provinces at different times are of course particularly emphasized. The fact should also be taken into account that, especially among non-Muslims, the boundary between Ottoman subjects and those of foreign rulers was sometimes fluid: Greeks from Izmir or Chios sometimes became French; But the reverse process also occurred, as demonstrated by the research of Rüdiger Klein.

In all of this, the focus is on the realization that the? Incorporation? of the Ottoman area in the capitalist world economy dominated by Europe at that time did not take place in a vacuum, on the contrary. Both Muslim and non-Muslim merchants were firmly established when their English, Dutch and French competitors towards the end of the 16th century. Jhs. appeared in the eastern Mediterranean world. The behavior of the local traders, who cooperated or not depending on their interests, largely determined what happened in Izmir, Cairo, Aleppo and Istanbul, but also had an impact on the economic opportunities of traders in the less exposed inner cities. The entire variety of these? used or not used? Possibilities should be brought up in our colloquium.