Manufacturing and the Ottoman Empire and Turkey, 1500-1850.

AuthorFarah, Caesar

In addition to an introduction, article and afterward by Donald Quataert we have in this work the contribution of three other scholars. Each deals with manufacture in a particular century: Sixteenth to mid-Twentieth. The editor asserts that "the present volume is easily the most comprehensive account of Ottoman manufacturing available and, in some respects, it is a state-of-the-art summary." The study, he claims, "will help to move Ottoman economic and industrial history to a higher methodological plane." Nevertheless, and as he is quick to admit, "quite fundamental issues remain unresolved", namely the unclear relationship of manufacturing during the Seventeenth Century to that in the Eighteenth or the Nineteenth Centuries (pp. 3-4).

In this work we have a laborious undertaking to assemble what is best known of Ottoman manufacture through available documentation and the scant secondary sources deriving from foreign reports as well as the disjointed contribution by a variety of Western and Turkish scholars who have concerned themselves with particular aspects rather than the picture as a whole. That gaps in our knowledge remain is almost unavoidable. Nevertheless, the authors are to be commended for the meticulous care exhibited in putting together what should serve as a springboard for further expansion of study and research in this long neglected aspect of Ottoman economic history.

The contributors are experts in the fields which they undertook to expound upon. In the first article, "Labor Recruitment and Control in the Ottoman Empire (Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries)," Professor Faraooqhi studies the manner in which those engaging in the crafts were "mobilized to participate in production processes too large for the ordinary market and guild to handle" (p. 13). As early as the Fifteenth Century products of such manufacture in cotton, silk and angora textiles from Anatolia were already part of the export trade. As she notes, it is easier to deal with the trade than the manufacture aspect because, here as in Medieval Europe, it is better documented. For her the problem revolves around how to put the puzzle together without coming up with too many unconvincing solutions (p. 15). She focuses on a number of aspects thereof. the mobilization of labor in the face of low density population spread without huge expenditures in capital, how to unravel the riddles confronting Ottoman economic historians as concerns silk manufacture in Bursa and...

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT