Forgotten Ottoman Empire

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Part 1

Ottoman state, the age-old political rival of the Russian Empire for centuries should monetary traditions of the East. Only at the turn of the XIX-XX centuries, the Ottoman Empire, the monetary system has absorbed the European innovation.

Silver Freedom

State of the monetary system in the Ottoman Empire during the last centuries of its existence, it is difficult to describe other than chaos. The empire was acting bimetallic monetary standard with a free coinage. The basic monetary unit until 1881 were silver piastres delivshiysya 100 Kurush, and 1 Kurush - 40 pair.

In January 1881 the Ottoman Empire attempted to go to the gold standard, and therefore entered the Turkish gold pounds (sometimes called a lyre and livery), equivalent to 100 piasters. In the empire of silver coins minted mainly Majid (mejidie) weighing approximately 24 grams. Majid value was 20 piastres. Minted coins of 10, 5, 2, 1 and 34 piasters. Other popular coins were altilik (altilik) at 6, 3 and 134 piasters, beshilik (beshlik) 5 and 234 piasters, and metallic (metallic) of 1, 4 and 34 piasters.

Due to the endless wars waged by the Ottoman Empire, the metal content of the coins has been steadily decreasing. In addition, the depreciation of silver in Europe has hit the monetary system in the Middle East. It forced the government in 1880 to abandon the free coinage, and to reduce the nominal value of Majid to 19 piastres. Was reduced in proportion to the nominal value and the remaining coins. The plight of the public finances forced the authorities to address the issue of copper coinage and paper money.

The dominance of foreign money

Shortage of supply of precious metals made up for the economy by foreign money. In the domestic market are freely tradable foreign coins, in particular, the pound sterling, the authorities equated to 110 piastres, and the French dvadtsatifrankovaya coin, valued at 218.25 piasters. In contrast to the local money, the British and French were freely convertible currency, making them attractive for use in the Middle East trade. But especially popular silver Maria Theresa thaler, equated Ottoman government for 12 piastres.

Most thaler was walking in Arabia and Tripoli (Africa), which are de facto not aware of other currencies. According to the Turkish historians, the territory of Maria Theresa thaler treatment was a single currency zone. Actually thaler was first unified monetary unit in the south of the empire, formed under the influence of trade relationships. Depending on the region of the Ottoman Empire treated as other coins. In particular, in Mesopotamia most popular Indian Rupee and the Persian crane. Thus, in the empire acted free cash issue, and various issuers competed. The chaos that reigned in the monetary system, followed by the establishment of a disorderly currency movements. Internal monetary unit - piastre - in each of the regions of the empire was assessed in different ways. While in the capital, gold pound sterling was exchanged for 110 silver piastres, at Adrianople it changed to 135 piastres, in Jerusalem - on 140, Smyrna - and at 180. In addition, the rate varied depending on the subject transactions and parties involved. In Constantinople, on one commodity to currency pound sterling was 108 piastres, thresh another - legitimate 110 piasters. In some cities, such as Adrianople existed an acute shortage of small change, and instead of putting paid by private traders with paper receipts and metal plates.