Ottoman Customs Registers (Gümrük Defterleri) as Sources for Global Exchange and Interaction

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3 Scopus citations


The Ottoman Empire, contrary to the stereotype, was a key player in global commerce until well into the nineteenth century. Customs registers (gümrük defterleri) compiled by the Ottoman administration provide abundant information on ships, seamen, merchants, goods, and prices. This article summarizes the history of Ottoman customs taxation, enumerates the various types of records that contain information on trade and customs dues, and surveys current scholarship on the customs registers. It also includes lists of customs registers found in the Maliyeden Müdevver collection of the Prime Minister's Ottoman Archive (Başbakanllk Osmanll Arşivi) and other collections also containing customs registers and related documents. The purpose is to stimulate further research into the Ottoman Empire's role in global interaction and exchange, a core topic in the growing field of world history.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3-22
Number of pages20
JournalReview of Middle East Studies
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2015


  • Basbakanlik
  • Customs dues
  • Ottoman archives
  • Ottoman taxation
  • early modern trade
  • global commerce
  • gümrük defterleri
  • mukataa
  • tax registers
  • world history

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • History
  • Sociology and Political Science


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