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6th Seminar: Gergana Georgieva, "Avrupa Tuccars in the Nineteenth Century – Statistics, Geography, Networks"

Georgieva Gergana (St. Cyril and St. Methodius University of Veliko Turnovo)
Sophia Laiou (Ionian University) and Andreas Lyberatos (Panteion University and IMS/FORTH)


Until the late 18th century the Ottoman import and export trade was run mainly by foreign merchants. As a result, a large part of Ottoman traders accepted the status of protégés of those mustemins and became foreign citizens. In early 19th century, the Ottoman authorities attempted to restore the balance. They created two special categories of Ottoman merchants – avrupa tuccars (non-Muslims) and hayriye tuccars (Muslims), these two categories were also known as beratlis, because of the special certificate (berat) they received from the authorities. The beratlis had the right to trade on the international market and to organize the international trade of the Empire. They were distinguished by a number of privileges received from the Ottoman authorities, the considerable financial resources at their disposal, and the dense professional networks they created.

The paper presents the category of non-Muslim beratlis in the Ottoman Empire between 1815 and 1866. The study is based two Ottoman defters from the The Prime Minister’s Ottoman Archives in Istanbul. We were able to reconstruct the ethnic and religious structure of the group; geographical distribution of the beratlis and their assistants (hizmetkars); their networks and connections. Special emphasis in the presented examples is placed on nowadays-Bulgarian lands.

Date and time: Monday 10 May 2021 (16:00-18:00)

Zoom link:



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