An English Capital Initiative in the Ottoman Empire: The Ottoman Financial Association (Sirket-i Maliye-i Mahdude-i Osmani)

Creative Commons License

Cetin M.

BELLETEN, vol.86, no.305, pp.219-249, 2022 (AHCI) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 86 Issue: 305
  • Publication Date: 2022
  • Doi Number: 10.37879/belleten.2022.219
  • Journal Name: BELLETEN
  • Journal Indexes: Arts and Humanities Citation Index (AHCI), Scopus, Periodicals Index Online, L'Année philologique, American History and Life, Historical Abstracts, Index Islamicus, Linguistic Bibliography, MLA - Modern Language Association Database
  • Page Numbers: pp.219-249
  • Keywords: The Ottoman Empire, Ottoman Financial Association, Charles Lafitte and Co., Foreign capital investment, cotton
  • Dokuz Eylül University Affiliated: Yes


International trade and foreign capital investments are the main spreading channels of capitalist system to the periphery. Having completed the Industrial Revolution, the encounter of England with the protectionist foreign trade policies in Continental Europe has directed it to the other parts of the world in order to meet its raw material and market needs. The Ottoman Empire with its rich natural resources and transportation facilities open to development, has become an attractive investment area for developed countries in need of raw materials and markets. Foreign capital investments made by English capitalists in the Ottoman Empire are an important component of the post-1838 period. Especially in the period following the Crimean War, England made investment initiatives in many different areas in the Ottoman Empire. One of these initiatives is the Ottoman Financial Association which was established in London and opened branches in different cities of the Ottoman Empire. Although the company was established to encourage cotton production in Ottoman lands due to the cotton shortage, price increases and high profitability that emerged in the international markets during the American Civil War, it did not turn into a long-term venture. In this study it is aimed to detail the economic and historical background of a different foreign capital initiative carried out in the Ottoman Empire. In this context, its establishment process, activities and the reasons of termination of its activities are investigated using the archival sources and newspapers of the period. The findings of the study reveal some relations extending to the Panic of 1866.