Progress blog post 2: The Concurrent Network of Venice and Ottoman Empire

The Ottoman Empire Trade and Other Economic Activity in 16th Century

In the previous blog post we have discussed our limited results and difficulties in collecting literature data about Venice-Ottoman trade relationship.  At this point, we have found a nice compilation of articles about the Ottoman Empire titled An Economic and Social History of The Ottoman Empire (1300 – 1914). Given the comprehensive nature of the book, we have decided to use it as our primary source of data.  And in this blog post, we will focus on the trade and other economic activities of the Ottoman Empire in 16th century.

The Sea Route of The Ottoman Empire in the 16th Century

The main trading activity between Venice and the Ottoman in the 1500s is in textile, where Persian silk was sent from Bursa to Venice and Lucca, which were then the center of European silk industry.  As the silk industry expanded in 16th century, the Ottoman city of Bursa was transformed into one of the important market place in Europe.  Other than silk, other commodities traded in Bursa include Musk, rhubarb, and Chinese porcelain which came from central Asia.  The custom receipt of silk trade in Bursa is given in Figure 1, to give some ideas about the volume of trade in 6 different years 1. The decline in the custom receipt between 1487 and 1508 is partially due to the 1st Ottoman-Venice War (1499-1503), since Venice and Lucca were main destinations for silk transit in Bursa.  And the second decline between 1512 and 1521 is due to the Persians War.

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Figure 1 The custom receipt in Bursa from silk trade

The evolution on the price of raw silk in the Bursa is depicted in Figure 2 2. The price of raw silk is influenced by the supplies from Iran, and hence the fluctuation in year 1588 and 1597 is due to Persian-Ottoman War.

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   Figure 2 The price of raw silk in Bursa

The main sea route of Ottoman Empire in 16th century is given in Figure 3 3. The goods from Bursa intended for shipping to Venice was transported through main highways to Cesme via Manisa and Izmir. The goods were then shipped to Dubrovnik, before finally shipped to Venice and Ancona.

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Figure 3 The general sea route of Ottoman Empire in 16th century

The Ottoman- Venetian Relationship in 16th Century

The Ottoman relationship with Venice in 16th century is very complex as the Venetian dominated trade of the Levant and possessed a colonial empire there. The expansion of the Ottoman Empire against Byzantium meant that Venice lost a trading area which previously can be exploited without having to pay duties. To counter this Venice tried to contest several coastal regions in Albania, the Morea and the Ionian Sea. In the 2nd Ottoman-Venetian War (1499-1503), Venetian cities of Modon and Coron (part of modern Greece) were lost to the Ottoman, and the region of Cephalonia and Ithaca in Ionian Sea were won by Venice.  In the 3rd Ottoman-Venetian War (1537-1540), the Ottoman successfully made significant advance in Dalmatian region (modern day Croatia). In the 4th Ottoman-Venetian War (1570-1573), the Ottoman continued on advancing its control in Dalmatian region, and most importantly they assumed control over Cyprus.  Figure 4 depicts the annual custom revenue in the port of Dubrovnik 4. Surprisingly, during the Ottoman-Venetian War the annual revenue increased as shown in the year 1540 and 1571.

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Figure 4 Annual custom revenue of Dubrovnik in Gold Ducat

 

Other Economic Activities of the Ottoman Empire

Beside its role as the main transit point for flow of good from East to West, the Ottoman also exported its indigenous goods. Figure 5 depicts the indigenous export of different part of Ottoman Empire.

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Figure 5 Indigenous exports of different Ottoman regions

The evolutions of fiscal condition of Ottoman Empire are given in Figure 6 and Figure 7 6,7 .

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Figure 6 The Ottoman Empire revenue in Gold Ducats

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Figure 7 The Budget of the Ottoman Empire in thousands of Akce

 

Reference:

  1. Inalcik H., “The Ottoman Empire : The Classical Age (1300-1600)”, p121-139.
  2. Inalcik H. and Quataert D., “An Economic and Social History of The Ottoman Empire ( 1300 – 1914 “), p251.
  3. Inalcik H., “The Ottoman Empire : The Classical Age (1300-1600)”, p121-139.
  4. Inalcik H. and Quataert D., “An Economic and Social History of The Ottoman Empire ( 1300 – 1914 “, p263.
  5. Inalcik H. and Quataert D., “An Economic and Social History of The Ottoman Empire ( 1300 – 1914 “, p457.
  6. Inalcik H. and Quataert D., “An Economic and Social History of The Ottoman Empire ( 1300 – 1914 “, p78.
  7. Inalcik H. and Quataert D., “An Economic and Social History of The Ottoman Empire ( 1300 – 1914 “, p99.