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Sinop


History of industries    EN

Assist. Assoc. Professor Didem Deniz, University of Usak, Turkey  

Sinop had been a significant port city of the Black Sea for many centuries until the industrial revolution.[1]. The port of Sinop played a crucial role for promoting imports brought by ships via the Black Sea to the interior regions of Anatolia, but it lost its significance when Samsun and Trabzon ports saw a great development. Sinop harbor is situated at a privileged natural geographical site right at the northern end of Anatolian Peninsula but it lost its economic significance entirely with the beginnings of the industrial revolution and the political developments in the area. The aggressive policy of the Russian Empire towards the Ottoman Empire during the 18th and 19th centuries manifested the strategic significance of the port of Sinop and downplayed its economic significance[2].

The economic structure of the Ottoman Empire, based on agriculture, stockbreeding and trade generally, manifested itself in Sinop Province with similar features. Fisheries and agricultural products have been the main means of living for the inhabitants. However, apart from agriculture and fishing, shipbuilding grew to be an important feature of industry in the area for centuries long. The Sinop shipyards were one of the most significant shipyards of the Ottoman Empire during the 17th century. During the 18th and 19th centuries, Sinop was the third largest shipyard following Galata and Gelibolu shipyards for wooden vessels[3]. With the industrial revolution, production of steamships and metal body ships in western European shipyards, particularly after the last third of the 19th century led the Sinop shipyards remain behind during the 20th century. The dockyard, which was situated at the southern side of the city continued to function as shipbuilding and shiprepair yard for fishing boats to the end of the 20th century. There were no other industrial businesses established in Sinop Province until the Republican Era.

Agricultural production and trade constituted a great part of the city’s whole income. Especially most of the non-Muslims have been engaged in crafts and trade business[4]. This structure shows a great similarity with the other cities of Anatolia. Having a suitable hinterland for agriculture and maritime trade, the city has also been convenient for agricultural production since its climate mild. In the crafts professions and in shipbuilding, the master-apprentice relationship constituted the main structure. Trade and crafts businesses were found mostly in the city centre, whereas agricultural enterprises in the outskirts of the city. However, in spite of the fact that agricultural production has been larger in quantity, its profit rate has been at a lower level compared to trade income[5].

The area produced agricultural products that were used in agricultural industries. Olive production, that can rarely be seen in the Black Sea Region, has been among the main products of the city. The very few olive trees that can be seen today in the city centre have been among the most ancient production species of the area. Besides olives and olive oil, there has been raw material production in the region for other industrial products. Hemp, flaxseed and tobacco have been among the important production items. Hemp has been a significant product especially for the maritime sector, as it was very important in manufacturing ropes. Being rich in oil, flaxseed has been a preferable product for industry.[6] Sinop had also an important tobacco production. Equally, the city had a rich structure in terms of animal production as many Anatolian cities. Concerning honey, cheese and oil production, the tastes peculiar to the region have been the product of a tradition that has survived until today. Until the 20th century, vegetable and fruit production has been adequate for the region. Moreover, due to the Sinop port, transportation of exports and imports from and to the area was quite easy.

Lumber has been another important product that furnished industry in Sinop. The region was rich in forests and the large variety of tree types has paved the way for the development of lumber industry. Having the third biggest shipyard of the Ottoman Empire has also contributed to the development of the production and trade of lumber in the city. The forests around Sinop have been a significant raw material source not only for Sinop shipyard, but also for İstanbul shipyard which has been the biggest shipyard in the country.

 


[1] Hakan Geyikoğlu, “Maritime Policy and Naval Activities of the Seljuks”, Ankara Üniversitesi Türkiyat Araştırmaları Enstitüsü Dergisi, Sayı.22, Erzurum, 2003, s.253.

[2] Enver Ziya Karal, The Ottoman History: Volume 5, The Periods of the New Order and Reforms (1789-1856), Ankara: TTK Press, s. 235.

[3] İdris Bostan, “Organization of Imperial Navy: War and Organization in Ottoman Maritime”, Türk Denizcilik Tarihi Ankara, 2002, s.215.

[4] Selim Özcan, ”The Socio-Economic State of Sinop during the Reform Era”, Unpublished Doctorate Dissertation, Ondokuz Mayıs University, Institute of Social Studies, Samsun, 2007, p.104.

[5] Ibid, p.106.

[6] Ibid, p.107.


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