Progress blog post 1: The Concurrent Network of Venice and Ottoman Empire

In this progress report, we will present the update of our literature report effort and the technical difficulties that we encountered during the last few weeks. Upon discussion with the Teaching Assistant, and having searched for a few available literature sources at Bibliotheque Cantonale Universitaire Lausanne (BCUL), we decided to restructure our project goals. We will focus on the trade of goods between Venice and Ottoman between 1560s and 1620s. The choice of time span was made taking into account the accessible literature data and the availability of time between the students pursuing the project. It is also during that period that the important Battle of Lepanto took place. In our study, we will also examine how the Fourth Ottoman–Venetian War (1570–1573) affected the trade route between Ottoman and Venice. If it turns out that there is still more time for us to include other years in our work, we will definitely go for it.

Trade between Ottoman and Venice

In our effort to study the trade relationship between Ottoman and Venice and to further structure it, we researched a few prominent traders in the region. Among them are Celebi Mehmed Reis of Ankara, Resul Aga, Hamza Cavus, Cafer Pasa. Ottoman traders received concession to trade in Venice in 1419.

1) Celebi Mehmed Reis of Ankara

Celebi Mehmed Reis of Ankara was a merchant who maintained wide trading networks spanning Ankara, Constantinople, Candia, and Venice. His fortunes were mainly derived from commercial activities involving woollen clothes, silk clothes, leathers, foods, and money transfer.  Celebi Mehmed Reis of Ankara started shipping right after 1573. We haven’t yet found a reliable source to gauge the volume of trade he did. However, Celebi Mehmed Reis of Ankara paid around 2000 ducat in tax per year to Venice.1

2) Resul Aga

Resul Aga was a merchant with commercial network that includes Venice and Contantinople. His trading activity lasted from 1600 to 1620. His established trading route is from Constantinople to Spalato (modern day Spilit) to Venice. The commodities he traded include:

  • 550 bolts of comlets (annually)
  • 40 bales of silk (annually)
  • 200 bales of wax (annually)
  • 20 000 ducat cash (annually)

It is noteworthy that Resul Aga and some other merchants lost their ships in Adreatic which resulted in a protracted controversy.

3) Hamza Cavus

Hamza Cavus was a merchant that traded silk from Chios to Venice. Some sources also suggest that he traded ships to Venice.

4) Cafer Pasa

Cafer Pasa was a merchant that traded cotton, cloth, thread, and ships. He started trading at 1587.

How Battles Affected the Trade

The Fourth Ottoman–Venetian War (1570–1573) that includes the Battle of Lepanto was a military confrontation to contest the territories of Cyprus, Dalmatia, and some other regions located along the Mediterranean Sea and Adriatic Sea. As the Adriatic Sea and Dalmatia is the main corridor for trade route between Ottoman and Venice, we will try to further investigate how the Fourth Ottoman–Venetian War affected the trade route in the period between 1570 and 1573.

Technical Difficulties

We are currently facing some difficulties with the literature source, as the information about the trade is scattered in many books and hence we need to extract information from many books. Furthermore, some of the relevant books in BCUL are not in English.  We also need to figure out how to represent the data in layer, and decide what type of graphical representation we want to utilize.

Reference:

  1. Dursteler E., “Commerce and Co-existence: Veneto –Ottoman Trade in the Early Modern Era”, Turcica, 34, 2003, p 105-133.