Levantine Heritage
The story of a community
Economic analysis
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The purpose of this page is to try to analyse the remarkable set of circumstances that led to a significant proportion of Levantines achieving economic success to a level where the community became far more important than their numbers would normally warrant.

Rival nations
| Laws and possible reasons for success | Firms Listing

Nation Trade started Reason for peak Reason for decline Notes
 Venice  16th century, 1669 Smyrna Consulate opened  A trading city with a wide ranging fleet  The British were able to imitate Venetian woollen cloth and sell it cheaper to Smyrna  1715 Venetian Consul and traders evicted as reprisal for the imprisonment of Turkish traders
 Genoa  Byzantine times  Similar but, later cloth brought was too expensive  Like Venice adversely affected by the Anglo-French rivalry  
 France  First agreement 1535
by 1752-83, 29 trade houses [factories] in Smyrna
 Dominance over Britain until the revolution & Napoleonic wars  A lengthy British naval blockade prevented French ships entering Smyrna harbour until 1814  By 1826 12 trade houses remaining
 England  1575, right of British merchants to work in Turkey. Initially Britain sold woollen cloth and bought raw silk, later diversification  Efficient organisation and wide connections of the Levant Company.
Defeat of France and later industrial revolution
 The Great fire of 1922 and resulting emigration. Effective ending of major trade, that has not recovered till today.  
 Holland  First agreement 1612  Good barter trade between their Londrini cloth and silk, mohair, cotton etc  The 1672-78 Dutch-French war seriously damaged their trade  Later British dominance allowed for ‘Anglicisation’
 Austria  ?  An established Anglo dominated colony at Trieste acting as the conduit for Anatolian produce to central Europe?  Defeat of empire at the end of WWI? A strong hint to this is detailed in the story of the Austrian Lloyd Trieste shipping line.  A 1873 trade almanac of Smyrna prepared by the Smyrna Consul of the Austro-Hungarian empire to increase trade
 Germany  Until the 1870 unification of that country, insignificant  The 1870 economic crisis allowed German traders to gain much previously British trade in Smyrna, later dominance of the cotton trade through ‘sweeteners’ to producers  Undoubtedly the crushing defeat at the end of WWI had a knock-on effect  The account on the web of the demise with the outbreak of WWI, of a powerful German merchant fleet company operating in the region, Deutsche Levante, was probably typical of the fate of this country’s economic activity of the time.

The above table was compiled using a variety of sources, chief of which was book reference.

In addition there is a book dealing specifically with the Anglo-French rivalry in the Levant, and the title of the book is a word to describe what the French believed to be, the machinations and underhand tactics of the British in pursuit of their overseas policies during the 18th and 19th centuries.
‘Perfidious Albion, The origins of Anglo-French rivalry in the Levant - John Marlowe - Weatherby Woolnough Ltd., London 1971 - 323 p. ISBN 0236154257’ - segment.