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Samsun


History of industries    EN

Industries | Author: Mehmet Yavuz ERLER

Author: Mehmet Yavuz ERLER [1]

The protection of grain trade during the 19th century in the city centre permitted only a confined industrial activity. The grain products (wheat, barley and Indian corns), brought from the Kayseri, Sivas, Tokat, Amasya and Corum regions, were turned to flour at the watermills, windmills and yoke mills and were loaded on the ships by the boats and barges waiting at the piers. One such mill was estimated to cost an amount of 32,000 silver coins in 1872, but smaller ones were sold at lower amounts [2]. The aforementioned solution was necessary because of the fact that there were no suitable grain warehouses in the city centre and the piers were not suitable for big ships. The grain products, which were brought by camel caravans and other beasts of burden to Samsun, were sent to the mills close to the city centre. Therefore, in the rural areas of Samsun, people realized they could earn a living by transporting merchant goods and established farms to raise beasts of burdens along with the horses [3]. In 1875, there were 4-5,000 camels carrying the loads on the pathways between the Samsun port and Ankara and even as far as Baghdad or Tabriz at earlier times [4]. To provide service for the caravan owners on their stops with facilities such as small inns, mills, warehouses and even bakeries was another income for those who lived within the vicinity of Samsun. According to the judicial registers, one such inn, with three bedrooms and facilities like warehouses, barns etc. sold for a price of 21,000 silver coins [5].

There was a courtyard, a warehouse and a mill at these stations (small konaks or inns with bakery, storehouse and mill facilities), which were located along the roads of the Samsun hinterland. The grain product was ground into flour at these yoke mills driven by mules and water buffalos and by reducing their size volume they were ready to be transferred to the ships by barges from the piers. Two salt production centers in Samsun produced the salt that was necessary for the processing of animal furs in the tannery [6]. Although it was not a fully developed leather industry, it is worth mentioning an operation which met the needs of region. The production of rope for ships and canvas linen continued to function until 1870 due to the swamplands of Bafra, Charshamba and Terme and the hemp produced there. The product was consumed in the region, but also largely transferred to Istanbul [7]. The Caucasianmigration after 1864 and their traditional production activity of swords, wedges, guns and rifles enabled the formation of a weapon industry in Samsun (producing pistols, rifles and daggers), even for a short term [8]. In 1867, the region of Canik possessed three corn mills and two silk factories powered by steam, whose owners were French and German. The native manufacture, coarse in nature, made some progress [9]. Tobacco growing, an industrial product after 1805, caused the development of the tobacco trade, which depended on the cigarette factory built under the tobacco monopoly law of 1884 [10].

In 1817-1819, the silver mine and the gold deposits in the Samsun area were smelted on the spot [11]. There was also a copper mine on the river bank of Kızılırmak towards Kapu kaya, which offered some amounts of copper to the industries of Samsun [12]. However these mining sources could not be properly operated and were abandoned due to bandits’ forays, increasingly during the Crimean war [13]. In Unye, iron ore was discovered in abundance, and was smelted on the spot. The smelted iron was made into nails in the town and was used for both ship and house-building. Some of the inhabitants of the town employed themselves in collecting and smelting the ore, and were obliged to afford the government 80 tons each year. The Turks acted as merchants, the Armenians as artisans, and the Greeks employed themselves as sailors and ship-carpenters. The abundance of timber in the vicinity and the extensive beaches offered great facilities for ship-building in Unye. In Chashamba, situated on both banks of Yesilirmak, each house had a courtyard or a garden planted with the mulberry trees necessary for the cultivation of the silkworms, which produced silk in larger quantities. Bafra, situated near the right bank of Kizilirmak, produced principally tobacco [14]. The product was initially shipped via the Kumcaghız quay in 1839, but was later carried to the Samsun port in the mid-19th century for loading.

Rice, walnuts, linseed, wax, beans, horns and tobacco were all produced in large quantities and the surplus found a market at Istanbul. The flax was made into linen and was sent to all parts of the country. The total hemp production in the region was estimated at 1,110 tons in 1839 [15]. During the Crimean war, in 1855, Samsun was introduced to new kinds of products, such as potatoes [16]. Indian corn, was cultivated from the 1850s onwards [17]. Between 1860-1866, the Samsun export products were recorded to be wheat, barley, oat, maize, flour, hemp, flax, linseed, beans, wool, hides, cotton, raw silk, pig copper, sundries and tobacco in large quantities [18]. As a result of having an appropriate port, which allowed the embarkation of new products from the hinterland flowing into Samsun, opened a new trade business in the region in the aftermath of 1876. Tiftik (mohair) from Ankara, in particular, was exported via the Samsun port from 1876 onwards [19]. The silk cocoons, grown in Amasya, were exported via the port of Samsun to France, to Istanbul and to Austria in 1881 [20]. The agricultural production of the region was affected by the arid weather conditions. There were two serious cases of drought and aridity in the region in 1845 and 1875, which affected the whole of Anatolia [21]. In addition, there were some other local drought cases that hit the towns of Charshamba and Fatsa as was the case in 1887 and in 1891. All kinds of grain, especially corn, were affected by the drought [22].



[1] Professor, 19 Mayis University, Samsun, Turkey.

[2] Abdurrahman Okuyan, 1772 no’lu Samsun Sheriyya Sicils, M.A. Thesis in the University of 19 Mayıs, Samsun 1998, p.115.

[3] Abdurrahman Okuyan, 1772 no’lu Samsun Sheriyya Sicils, M.A. Thesis in the University of 19 Mayıs, Samsun 1998, p.151.

[4] Mehmet Yavuz Erler, Osmanlı Devletinde Kuraklık ve Kıtlık Olayları (1800-1880), Libra Yayınevi, İstanbul 2010, p.282, 286.

[5] Abdurrahman Okuyan, 1772 no’lu Samsun Sheriyya Sicils, M.A. Thesis in the University of 19 Mayıs, Samsun 1998, p.67.

[6]Mehmet Yavuz Erler, “Karadenizde Avrupai Bir Kent: Samsun (1865-1875)”, Karadeniz Tarihi Sempozyumu, Karadeniz Teknik Üniversitesi Yayınları, Vol.I, Trabzon 2007, p. 552.

[7] Mehmet Yavuz Erler, “The Economy of the Ottoman Black-Sea in the XIX th Century”, The Journal of International Social Research, Volume 2/7, Spring 2009, p. 122.

[8] Musa Şaşmaz, Trade Reports of the Trebizond Province on British Documents (1830-1914), Vol. II, Türk Tarih Kurumu, Ankara 2014, p.780.

[9] Musa Şaşmaz, Trade Reports of the Trebizond Province on British Documents (1830-1914), Vol. I, Türk Tarih Kurumu, Ankara 2014, p.381.

[10] Mehmet Yavuz Erler & Kerim Edinsel, “Samsun’da Tütün Üretimi (1788-1919)” (Tabacco Production in Samsun (1788-1919) , The Journal of International Social Research, Volume.4, Issue. 18, Summer 2011, p. 237.

[11] P. Minas Bıjıkyan, Karadeniz Kıyıları Tarih ve Coğrafyası (1817-1819) , İstanbul Üniversitesi Edebiyat Fakültesi Yayınları, İstanbul 1969, p. 33.

[12] BOA (Pryministrial Archive in Istanbul), HRT., Number: 0144.

[13] Mehmet Yavuz Erler, “Trabzon Vilayeti’nde Kanun Kaçakları (1856-1869)”, Tarih Arashtirmalari Dergisi, Issue. 30, Published by Ankara University, Ankara 1998, p.69-98.

[14] Musa Şaşmaz, Trade Reports of the Trebizond Province on British Documents (1830-1914), Vol. I, Türk Tarih Kurumu, Ankara 2014, p.78-82.

[15] Musa Şaşmaz, Trade Reports of the Trebizond Province on British Documents (1830-1914), Vol. I, Türk Tarih Kurumu, Ankara 2014, p.82.

[16] Musa Şaşmaz, Trade Reports of the Trebizond Province on British Documents (1830-1914), Vol. I, Türk Tarih Kurumu, Ankara 2014, p. 245.

[17] Arzu Tiryaki, H.1267-1270 (1850-1854) Tarihli (Nr. 1759) Samsun Sheriyya Sicili’nin Transkript ve Tahlili, M.A. Thesis in 19 May University, Samsun 2004, p.88.

[18] Musa Şaşmaz, Trade Reports of the Trebizond Province on British Documents (1830-1914), Vol. I, Türk Tarih Kurumu, Ankara 2014, p.381.

[19] Musa Şaşmaz, Trade Reports of the Trebizond Province on British Documents (1830-1914), Vol. II, Türk Tarih Kurumu, Ankara 2014, p.561.

[20] Musa Şaşmaz, Trade Reports of the Trebizond Province on British Documents (1830-1914), Vol. II, Türk Tarih Kurumu, Ankara 2014, p.761.

[21] Mehmet Yavuz Erler, Osmanlı Devleti’nde Kuraklık ve Kıtlık Olayları (1800-1880), Libra Yayınları, İstanbul 2010, p.70, 71, 101, 110, 111, 113, 148, 289, 290, 301.

[22] Mucize Ünlü, “XIX. Yüzyıl Sonlarında Çarşamba’da Kuraklık”, (Drought in Charshamba in the late 19 th century), Karadeniz İncelemeleri Dergisi, Year. 6, Issue.12, Spring 2012, Trabzon, p.126,129.


Mineral Oil | Author: Nefer TURGUT

Author: Nefer TURGUT [1]

Petroleum is a type of a natural hydrocarbon mixture, which can be found in the pores of rocks underground and can either be in solid, liquid or gas form, depending on different pressures and temperatures in its existing place. Although the word petroleum is derived from the word petra, which means stone, and the word oleum, which means oil in Latin, it is also used to define all petroleum derivatives, such as gasoline, diesoline and kerosene, and actually refers to the hydrocarbons which are raw situated on the pores of small stones [2].

Petroleum is among the primary energy sources. Although the use of petroleum dates to older times, its modern use started in 1859 [3]. Petroleum, that was ultimately used as an alternative energy source to coal, it was firstly used in various devices for domestic lighting. [4] Tar, petroleum and similar substances were evaluated as the fundamental sources situated underground and Mining Regulations were introduced by the Ottomans in 1860 [5]. Experts from the West started to analyze petroleum in the Ottoman lands at the beginning of 1870s [6]. Petroleum mining in Turkey commenced with mining privileges granted to private individuals and foreign companies in 1897 [7]. Generally, petroleum privileges to private individuals were granted to senior statesmen. However most of the right of use of the Ottoman mines passed into the hands of the Europeans in the following years [8].

Petroleum was among the primary imported products in Samsun [9]. There were petroleum importers among the professional groups of Samsun in the 19th century [10]. Imports of petroleum in Samsun were came from Russia and Romania [11]; for example, among the products brought to Samsun in 1890, petroleum was the only one brought from Russia [12]. There were 104 barrels of petroleum imported by steamships for the whole of 1841 [13] by which 2,126,800 kg of petroleum was to be distributed from the Samsun port [14].

This quantity was significantly increased fifty years later. As Consualar official H. De Cortanze reported petroleum came to Samsun by ships coming from Batumi between 1895-1907. [15] During this period there were 6,147,916 kg of petroleum brought to Samsun annualy at a total cost of 2,999,946 Ottoman silver coins. Out of the petroleum imported to Samsun, 4,753,085 kg with a total cost of 2,135,156 Ottoman silver coins was brought from Russia and 1,394,831 kg at a cost of 862,760 silver coins was bought from Romania. During this period, petroleum was also used for heating and petroleum stoves were among the imported products at the beginning of the 20th century [16]. In 1901, there were 3,624,000 kıyye [okka] of petroleum at a cost of 2,331,125 silver coins among the imported products carried by steamships and sailing ships to the seaport of Samsun [17]. In 1903, 2,607,000 kıyye of petroleum at a cost of 1,434,400 silver coins were imported to the port of Samsun [18]. In 1904, 96,000 kıyye of petroleum at a cost of 63,900 silver coins were among the imports made from the Fatsa seaport [19]. Turks also started working for petroleum merchants, such as Aldıkaçtızade Rüştü Efendi, Gazaryan Kardeşler, Hacı Hüseyin Efendi, Anar Merkoliyef, Ofluzade Hacı Ömer and his partner, the Yelkencizade brothers [20].



[1] M.A. student/ 19 Mayis University, Samsun, Turkey.

[2] Çağdaş Acar, Sertaç Bülbül vd. Petrol ve Doğalgaz, Ankara, Odtü Yayıncılık, 2007, p.3-4.

[3] Özdemir, Türkiye’de Elektriğin Tarihsel Gelişimi(1900-1938), p.10.

[4] Özdemir, Türkiye’de Elektriğin Tarihsel Gelişimi(1900-1938),p.12.

[5] Çağdaş Acar, Sertaç Bülbül vd. Petrol ve Doğalgaz, p.51.

[6] Çağdaş Acar, Sertaç Bülbül vd. Petrol ve Doğalgaz, p.32.

[7] Özdemir, Türkiye’de Elektriğin Tarihsel Gelişimi(1900-1938), p.3.

[8] Çağdaş Acar, Sertaç Bülbül vd. Petrol ve Doğalgaz, p.52.

[9] Trabzon Vilayet Salnamesi, c.19, Ankara, 2008, p.199

[10] Filiz Diğiroğlu, ’19.yy Samsununda İktisadi Teşekküller, Esnaflar ve Meslekler’, Tarih Boyunca Karadeniz Ticareti ve Canik 1, Samsun, 2013, p.295.

[11] Ahmet Efioğlu, “Balkan Savaşları Sırasında Samsun Limanında Ticaret”, Tarih Boyunca Karadeniz Ticareti ve Canik 1, Samsun, 2013, p.241.

[12] M. Emin Yolalıcı, 19.yyda Canik Sancağı, Ankara, Türk Tarih Kurumu, 1998, p.93.

[13] K. Tuncer Çağlayan, ‘İngiliz Konsolosluk Raporlarına Göre 1841 Yılında Samsun ve Çevresinde Ticaret’, Geçmişten Geleceğe Samsun, Samsun, 2006, p.285.

[14] ꞌSamsunꞌ, Yurt Ansiklopedisi, Anadolu Yayıncılık, V. 9, p. 6570.

[15] Özgür Yılmaz, “20.yy Başlarında Samsun Limanı: Fransız Konsolos H. De Cortanze’nin Raporlarına Göre”, Tarih Boyunca Karadeniz Ticareti ve Canik 1, Samsun, 2013, p.183-185.

[16] Ahmet Efioğlu, “Balkan Savaşları Sırasında Samsun Limanında Ticaret”, Tarih Boyunca Karadeniz Ticareti ve Canik 1, Samsun, 2013, pp.206, 228, 235, 240.

[17] Trabzon Vilayet Salnamesi, V.19, Ankara, 2008, p.220-225.

[18] Trabzon Vilayet Salnamesi, V.21, p.458-459.

[19] Trabzon Vilayet Salnamesi, V.22, p.427.

[20] Baki Sarısakal, Samsun Belediye Tarihi, Samsun, Samsun Büyükşehir Belediyesi Yayınları-2-, 2007, s.217.


Organic Oil | Author: Nefer TURGUT

Author: Nefer TURGUT [1]

Oil from plants, animals and fish was widely used as food, fuel, paint or in the industry. Oil is a substance that consists of hydrogen and carbon, does not mix with water, but can be mixed with other oils. Oils are classified as organic oils and mineral oils according to their type. While mineral oils consist of gasoline, diesoline or kerosene. In the Ottoman Empire the organic oils used consisted of butter, tallow, olive oil, linseed oil and fish oil; they were used for food and lighting. The use of oil for candle making enhanced its importance.

In their houses, wealthy people used wax, whereas poor people used wax oil or olive oil, as well as butter, depending on their financial situation and status [2]. The raw material of candle was tallow, which was obtained by the infiltration of of the frozen grease and the mincemeat of animals. So, candle making was an occupation, which required the cooperation of butchers and slaughterhouses for getting oil. Candle making from odorless oil was specified by law [3]. It was provided by the administration that butchers and people who cut animals individually were to give the oils of the animals to candle makers [4].

Animal oils were among the exported products, while butter and tallow among the imported products at the Samsun Customhouse at the end of the 18th century [5]. Olive oil makers were among the professional groups in Samsun during the 19th and early 20th centuries. For example the shop owned by A. And P. Constantinides put an advertisement in the 1919 yearbook, announcing that they dealt with all kinds of commission fees, exports and imports, in addition to wholesaling olive oil [6].

Linseed oil was also among the products being sold in the markets of the Canik district during the 19th century. There were 3 linseed oil shops in Çarşamba and 2 linseed oil shops in the Ünye subdistrict of Canik. Also, there was a rendering plant in Fatsa. The oil makers in Çarşamba paid 1 para (copper coin) in tax. The total tax was 3 para (copper coins). The oil makers in Ünye gave 2 para (copper coins). The total tax was 4 para (copper coins). The rendering plant in Fatsa paid 1 para (copper coin) in tax [7].

The Canik had a great importance for both its exports – imports, as well as for its production. Butter and olive oil were among the food of the public in Samsun [8]. The amount of butter distributed by year was 720,5 kıyye [okkas] in 1828, 274 kıyye in 1829, 72 kıyye in 1838 and 560,17 kıyye in 1841 [9].

A kilo of olive oil cost 5 Ottoman silver coins (kurush) in 1850 [10]. The kıyye of butter cost 1 Ottoman silver and 10 para (copper coins) and the kıyye of olive oil cost 13 Ottoman silver coins between 1858 and 1859 [11]. The distribution of olive oil in the Canik district was 108 kıyye in 1828 and 490 kıyye in 1838 [12].

There were thirty four barrels of olive oil among the imported products in Samsun in 1841 [13]. Also, 110,500 kg of olive oil which cost 107,700 francs were among the imported goods in the port of Samsun [14]. Oil extracted from animal fats was produced in the area of Samsun. Butter was produced in Bafra. There was oil, extracted from animal fat, produced in the Alacam region. The oil production of Fatsa reached 100,000 okkas each year and some of it was sent abroad [15].There were 2,276,000 kıyye of olive oil, oil and salt, with a total cost of 2,069,880 Ottoman silver coins, among the imported products carried by ferry boats and steamboats to the port of Samsun in 1901. In the same year there were 100,000 kıyye of fish oil, with a cost of 110,000 Ottoman silver coins, among the exported products [16]. In 1902, 2,300,000 kıyye of oil and olive oil with a cost of 1,238,160 Ottoman silver coins were imported from the Samsun port [17]. There were 227,000 kıyye olive oil with a cost of 988,240 Ottoman silver coins among the imported products from Samsun port in 1903 [18]. In 1904 236,000 kıyye of olive oil with a cost of 955,800 Ottoman silver coins were imported from the port of Samsun [19]. In the port of Unye, 120,000 kıyye of olive oil with a cost of 440,000 Ottoman silver coins were imported in 1904 [20].The Greeks bought 445 kg of olive oil with a cost of 2,910 Ottoman silver coins between 1912-1913 [21]. Although animal oils were produced in Samsun in the 1910s, there was butter and tallow among the imported products. In 1912, there were 222,176 kg of olive oil with a cost of 1,038,201 Ottoman silver coins, 28.740 kg of butter with a cost of 298,708 Ottoman silver coins and 18.360 kg of vegetable oil with a cost of 118,580 Ottoman silver coins among the imported products from the Samsun port. Besides, there were 206 kg of walnut oil imported from port of Samsun in the same year [22]. Another field from which oil was obtained was fishing. The dolphin was especially hunted for obtaining oil. A significant amount of fish oil was produced by the dolphins [23]. So, it can be argued that the district of Canik, with its domestic production and imports, had an important place in the oil market. Oil transport was active in the district, becoming one of the most important incomes due to the fact that it was used both as food at first and then for lighting.



[1] M.A. student, 19 Mayis University, Samsun, Turkey.

[2] Naziye Özdemir, Türkiye’de Elektriğin Tarihsel Gelişimi(1900-1938), Yüksek Lisans Tezi, Ankara Üniversitesi, Türk İnkılap Tarihi Enstitüsü, 2011, s. 12.

[3] Ahmed Akgündüz, Osmanlı Kanunnameleri ve Hukuki Tahlilleri, c.1, s.451, c.3, s. 115, c.4, s. 328, c.9, s.531.

[4] Doğan Kuban, ‘Aydınlatma’, Dünden Bugüne İstanbul Ansiklopedisi, Tarih Vakfı Yurt Yayınları, c.8, 1993, s.475.

[5] Prof. Dr. Bayram Kodaman, ‘18.yy da Samsun Gümrüğü’, Tarih Boyunca Karadeniz Kongresi 2, Samsun, 1990, s.96

[6] Filiz Diğiroğlu, ’19.yy Samsununda İktisadi Teşekküller, Esnaflar ve Meslekler’, Tarih Boyunca Karadeniz Ticareti ve Canik 1, Samsun, 2013, s.294 ve s.297.]

[7] Dr. Serdar Genç, ‘ 2. Mahmut Döneminde Canik Sancağında Esnaflar ve Dükkanlar, Tarih Boyunca Karadeniz Ticareti ve Canik 1, Samsun, 2013, s.90-99.

[8] Osman Doğan, 1760 numaralı Samsun Şeriyye Sicili, Yüksek Lisan Tezi, Marmara Üniversitesi, Türkiyat Araştırmaları Enstitüsü, İstanbul, 2006, s. XCIV.

[9] M. Emin Yolalıcı, 19.yyda Canik Sancağı, Ankara, Türk Tarih Kurumu, 1998, s. 129.

[10] Arzu Tiryaki, 1759 numaralı Samsun Şeriyye Sicili, Yüksek Lisan Tezi, Ondokuz Mayıs Üniversitesi, Sosyal Bilimler Enstitüsü, Samsun, 2004, s. 50.

[11] Yolalıcı, 19.yyda Canik Sancağı, s. 97.

[12] Yolalıcı, 19.yyda Canik Sancağı, s.130.

[13] K. Tuncer Çağlayan, ‘İngiliz Konsolosluk Raporlarına Göre 1841 Yılında Samsun ve Çevresinde Ticaret’, Geçmişten Geleceğe Samsun, Samsun, 2006, s.285.

[14] ‘ Samsun’, Yurt Ansiklopedisi, Anadolu Yayıncılık, c. 9, s. 6570.

[15] Trabzon Vilayet Salnamesi, c.20, Kudret Emiroğlu(ed.), Ankara, 2008, s.237-265.

[16] Trabzon Vilayet Salnamesi, c.19, Ankara, 2008, s.220-225.

[17] Trabzon Vilayet Salnamesi, c.20, s.326-327.

[18] Trabzon Vilayet Salnamesi, c.21, s.458-459.

[19] Trabzon Vilayet Salnamesi, c.22, s. 416.

[20] Trabzon Vilayet Salnamesi, c.22, s.426.

[21] Ahmet Efioğlu, “Balkan Savaşları Sırasında Samsun Limanında Ticaret”, Tarih Boyunca Karadeniz Ticareti ve Canik 1, Samsun, 2013, s.227.

[22] Ahmet Efioğlu, “Balkan Savaşları Sırasında Samsun Limanında Ticaret”, Tarih Boyunca Karadeniz Ticareti ve Canik 1, Samsun, 2013, s.199, s.209 ve s.210.

[23] Alev Gözcü, “Cumhuriyet Döneminde Karadeniz Bölgesinde Limanları Besleyen Ürünler ve Ticari Etkinlikler”, Tarih Boyunca Karadeniz Ticareti ve Canik 2, Samsun, 2013, s.429.



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