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Communication Dans Un Congrès Année : 2023

The factories of the Levant Company, english territorial dependencies in the empire of the Great Turk


Founded by a charter of Queen Elizabeth the first in 1592, the Levant Company received at its creation a commercial monopoly on the eastern part of the mediterranean sea. This Company is a regulated corporation, that means, every merchant trades for his own account. In order to allow its merchants to trade in the Levant, the commercial company did create some trade posts in the main ottoman cities like Smyrna, Aleppo and Constantinople. These English commercial places in the ottoman world have a name, factories. Two questions may arise : What was the relationship between the factories and the cities and territories of the Ottoman Empire ? What was the relationship of the English merchants with the local ones ? To answer the first question, in terms of urban space, the factories are fully integrated inside the ottoman cities. Most of them are near the harbor, for example, the factory of Constantinople is in Pera, and the one in Smyrna is near the docks, the exception is the factory of Alep, for obvious reason, it cannot be near the sea, so the company did buy a warehouse in Scanderone in order to bring the merchandises in Aleppo. The factories, for the biggest one of them are a neighborhood which are articulated around the house of the consul (the actor who supervises the factory and the merchants in it, he is appointed by the commercial company, his house belongs to the company). The other buildings of the factory are the church, the warehouses and the houses of the different merchants and their apprentices. A factory is both a place to trade and to live. For the question of the relationship between English merchants and the local ones, the Levant Company as it was said, every merchant trades for his own account with his own capital. So most of them, or their apprentices who work in the Levant are in contact with the local merchants. They are directly doing business with them, even if, most of the time, it is limited to Greeks and Armenian merchants. These dealers are the brokers that allow the English merchants to sell their clothes (the main product sold by the English in the Levant) and to obtain in exchange silk or spices. The contacts between them are however quite limited to the business relations. Most of the time, the English merchants stayed in the factory. But there are exceptions, some Englishmen marry local women (even if he does so, is no longer protected by the English privilege.) To conclude, the factories are some English neighborhoods inside the ottoman cities. From these places, they are trading with the ottoman brokers, but they are also living next to them, but not with them.


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Dates et versions

hal-04254865 , version 1 (23-10-2023)


  • HAL Id : hal-04254865 , version 1


Gilles Hebben. The factories of the Levant Company, english territorial dependencies in the empire of the Great Turk. 11th AISU Congress, Sep 2023, Ferrara, Italy. ⟨hal-04254865⟩


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