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History of industries    EN


The European and Anatolian territories of the Ottoman Empire had abundant reserves of minerals and mining activities. There were many mines and related foundries and facilities in Balkan cities such as Skopje, Komotini, Kratovo, and Sofia, and in Anatolian cities such as Gümüşhane, Denek Maden, Akdağmadeni, and Keban.[1] Although such foundries and facilities continued until the 19th century, they could not comply to the requirements of the industrial era. They were also far from meeting needs of demand. Especially after the 18th century, fuel shortage, increased wages, and gaps in the mining legislation led to the regression and disintegration of this industry. In the Ottoman Empire, until the Tanzimat Reform Era, the ownership of the land belonged exclusively to the government, while the right of disposition belonged to whoever cultivated it. The same rule applied also to the mines.[2] If a land where a mine was discovered was suitable for mining, and if the person who held the right of disposition on that land was capable of such mining, then they had to allocate 1/5 of their mining product to the government. If the holder of the right was not capable of mining, the government either did not give them any entitlement to that land, or mined it itself, or handed over the mining right to another person capable to do so.[3] Certain changes occurred in the mining industry along with the Tanzimat. As a result of advancing technology and changing conjuncture, mines and their operations began to be assigned to foreign managers while a new Mining Law was enacted in 1861, based on the French Mining Law of 1810,[4] and amended in 1869. Although the central government continued to receive its share of 1/5 of the mining produce, the mining industry experienced a dynamic development.[5] This development led to the establishment of the Ministry of Forestry, Mining and Agriculture during the reign of Abdul Hamid II.[6] Some initiatives were taken by the Ministry for the education of mining engineers: two laws were issued that included the formation of a School of Mining in 1872, and a School of Forestry and Mining in 1879, due to the efforts of. However, these initiatives to educate mining engineers led to no avail.[7]

It is inferred from the existence of mines that were once operated, that Giresun was one of the rich Ottoman cities in terms of mining.[8] It is known that iron, silver, and alum were mined in and around the city since antiquity.[9] Şemseddin Sami provides supporting information on this subject. There were also mines that were explored in the second half of the 19th century in Giresun. During this period, a mine of lead was explored in Bedincik Village, Keşap. The existence of lead-zinc, copper, antimony, iron, manganese, etc. was also known in other parts of the district.[10]  

In addition to these, the Trabzon Provincial Yearbooks also contain some information about mines. Accordingly, the provincial chief engineer had explored a marble deposit, iron mine in Akköy[11], and lead-zinc and copper mines in Bozat Village, Piraziz. By an authorisation dated hijri 1301 (1883), the operation of these mines had been licensed to a Greek named Monsieur Leonidas. However, he did not carry out any activity within the time period allowed. Upon this, the license was assigned to Sulhanyan Agop, an Armenian from Istanbul.[12]  The mineral deposits in and around Giresun can be listed as follow:








































Central Giresun


Source: Kemal Saylan, “Ordu ve Giresun Yöresinde Madenler ve Maden İşletmeciliği (1860–1914)”, OTAM,  25/Bahar 2009, pp. 171-173.



[1] Rifat Önsoy, Tanzimat Dönemi Osmanlı Sanayii ve Sanayii Politikası, Türkiye İş Bankası Kültür Yayınları, Ankara, 1988, p. 79.

[2] Enver Ziya Karal, Osmanlı Tarihi, vol. VI, TTK yayınları, Ankara, 1976, pp. 244-245

[3] Neşet Çağatay, “Osmanlı İmparatorluğunda Maden İşletme Hukuku”, Dil ve Tarih-Coğrafya Fakültesi Dergisi, Ankara University, Issue: 1, vol. 2, 1943, p. 120.

[4] Abdullah Saydam, “Osmanlı Madenciliği Ve XIX. Yüzyılın Ortalarında Trabzon’daki Maden Ocakları”, Eğitim Fakültesi Dergisi, Ondokuz Mayıs University, issue: 6, 1991, p. 258.

[5] Stanford J. Shaw-Ezel K.Shaw, Osmanlı İmparatorluğu ve Modern Türkiye, vol. II (Transl.: Mehmet Harmancı), E Yayınları, Istanbul, 1983, p. 287.

[6] Saydam, p. 258.

[7] Volkan Ş. Ediger, Osmanlı’da Neft ve Petrol, ODTÜ Yayıncılık, Ankara, 2007, p. 108.

[8] Besim Darkot, “Giresun”, MEB İslam Ansiklopedisi, vol. IV, Maarif Yayınları, Istanbul, 1948, p. 790.

[9] Kemal Saylan, “Ordu ve Giresun Yöresinde Madenler ve Maden İşletmeciliği (1860–1914)”, OTAM,  25/Spring 2009, p. 169.

[10] Şemseddin Sami, Kamus’ul-Âlâm c.V, Mihran Matbaası, Istanbul, 1314 (1896), p. 3935-3936.

[11] 1287 Trabzon Vilayet Salnamesi, p. 115; 1288 Trabzon Vilayet Salnamesi, p. 127; 1289 Trabzon Vilayet Salnamesi, p. 120; 1291 Trabzon Vilayet Salnamesi, p. 102.

[12] 1305 Trabzon Vilayet Salnamesi, p. 154; 1309 Trabzon Vilayet Salnamesi, p. 159; 1311 Trabzon Vilayet Salnamesi, p. 166.