History of Macedonia 1354-1833

A. Vacalopoulos


VIII. Macedonia from the beginning of the 18th century to the Russo-Turkish war of 1768-1774


2. The economic advance of Macedonia after the Treaty of Passarowitz (1718) up to the middle of the 18th century


 __1_   —   (__2_)   —   __3_   —   __4_   —   __5_   —   __6_   —   __7_


1. The treaty of Passarowitz (21 July 1718), which was clearly a victory for Austrian diplomacy, marks a stage of considerable significance in the history of the Balkan peninsula, and not least of Macedonia. Its subsequent repercussions upon the political, and, more so, the economic development of Central Europe cannot be over estimated [1]. Having incorporated into her territory Belgrade, the greater part of Serbia, lesser Wallachia, and the Banat of Temesvar, the Austro-Hungarian empire had begun its transformation into the mighty state which the world new from the 19th century until end of the First World War (1914-1918). She was now, in 1718, not so far away from the northern-most Greek lands, from Macedonia and her great commercial port, Thessalonica, through which the merchandise of Central Europe might be exported and the produce of the Levant correspondingly imported.


Certain articles of the Treaty of Passarowitz had a direct bearing upon the development of trade between the Habsburg empire and that of Turkey. According to these, navigation of the Danube was permitted to the subjects of the respective states, together with the freedom to carry on trade both on land and by sea. There is one particular trade-agreement, signed on 27 July 1718, which defined in detail the regulations for commercial transactions. These mutually-enjoyed privileges were confirmed for a second time in the Treaty of Belgrade, on 18 Septem-



1. For details see Turczynski, Die deutch-griechischen Kulturbeziehungen, p. 13.





ber 1739 [1]. Hence, for the first time, the Balkan peoples—especially the Serbs and Greeks—were given an opportunity to enjoy the fruits of this new commercial activity, and through their participation to acquire both wealth and social power.


Of the Greek lands it was Macedonia which was to derive the greatest benefit from these developments, particularly in its western and central provinces, with Thessalonica as the principal trading centre. German merchants bought appreciable amounts of cotton both raw and processed, the latter being dyed red in the workshops of Véroia, and in the villages and townships of Thessaly, such as Ampelákia, Tírnavos and others. Using the route Semlin via the Danube to Vienna, they transported the goods to the other European cities [2]. Α proportion of the products which these merchants bought had to be paid in thalers and sequins [3].


The Germans also bought wool, tobacco and cotton thread. In return they brought their own manufactures such as serge (cloth), various textiles, Bohemian glass-ware, ironmongery and gilt articles [4].


This commerce, which was almost exclusively in the hands of Greeks, reached a peak during the last quarter of the 18th century. During this period, the competition between German and French manufacturers of heavy woollen goods was very keen, with the Germans tending to get the better of it [5].


The 10.000 to 12.000 Jews resident in Thessalonica were also showing a certain amount of activity in commerce. They had been for some centuries past concerned with the weaving of serges [6], but this trade had begun to decline at the beginning of the 18th century (although it would be true to say that this decline had begun to show ever since the year 1580 [7]). There were two main causes for this. First was the debasing of



1. See these successive agreements in Noradounghian, Recueil d'actes, vol. 1, pp. 208-227, 243-254. There are interesting details, too, in Anton Spiesz, Dıe Orthodoxen Handelsleute aus dem Balkan in der Slovakei, «Balkan Studies» 9 (1968) 382. See details in Turczynski, ibid., pp. 13 ff. See also Sp. D. Loukatos, Ὁ πολιτικὸς βίος τῶν Ἑλλήνων τῆς Βιέννης κατὰ τὴν τουρκοκρατίαν καὶ τὰ αὐτοκρατορικὰ πρὸς αὐτούς προνόμια, ΔΙΕΕ 15 (1961) 287-350.


2. Beaujour, Tableau, vol. 2, pp. 53-54. Svoronos, Le commerce, pp. 181-182.


3. Beaujour, ibid., vol. 2, p. 55.


4. Svoronos, ibid., p. l81.


5. Svoronos, ibid., p. l82. See the communications of Greeks and Turks with Germany in 1755 in Mertzios, Μνημεῖα, p. 373.


6. Aimé-Martin, Lettres, vol. 1, p. 34.


7. Emmanuel, Histoire des tissus des Israélites de Salonique, p. 63.





the Turkish currency, even at the instance of the Sultans themselves, with the result that the Jewish weavers were compelled to purchase from the peasants wools of inferior quality, which in turn resulted in a further lowering of quality. The second was the acute competition they faced from European merchants, both English and French, who were continually improving their manufacturing processes and therefore the quality of their products generally. It was therefore no longer possible for the Jews to compete successfully with foreigners so long as there were no protective tariffs and no limitations on the imports of foreign goods [1]. But indolence and indifference was shown by the Turkish government towards questions affecting the currents of trade, and its doctrine of laisser faire laisser passer was at times detrimental to its own commercial interests.


The arrival in Thessalonica of fresh contingents of Jewish settlers at the beginning of the 18th century was a factor which undoubtedly contributed to the development of the city's commerce. These immigrants came from Spain, Italy and Portugal, the majority of them big merchants drawn by their thirst for gain. But there were amongst them a number of fairly competent doctors, who enjoyed the protection of France. These Jews dressed like Europeans, wore no beard but only a moustache, and in their general behaviour were Europeanized to a degree that shocked their local compatriots [2].


Trade in cereals, grown on the wide and fertile plains of Thessalonica and Sérres, offered decided opportunities for rapid and easy enrichment. The peasants in these regions of Macedonia, on the other hand, whether small proprietors or working as cultivators on the extensive properties belonging to Turkish ağas, were forbidden to export their corn directly. They were obliged to sell their produce to the Turkish ağas, who naturally endeavoured to exploit them in every way, buying their corn at lowest prices and re-selling it at far higher rates. This, then, was the main reason for the lack of agricultural development in those regions [3].


As one might expect, the illicit export of cereals offered great margins of profit and seems to have been reaching great proportions [4] since quite some time past [5]. The Turks, of course, took their measures. As



1. See Emmanuel, Histoire des tissus, pp. 55-57.


2. Aimé-Martin, Lettres, vol. 1, p. 79.


3. Ibid., pp. 79-80.


4. Svoronos, Le commerce, p. 13.


5. See the relevant illicit export in 1633 in Mertzios, Μνημεῖα, p. 182.





early as 1737 two ağas were given the task of pursuing with vigour the illicit traders within the Gulf of Thessalonica [1].


But even when the export of cereals to France was permitted and the peasants could come into direct contact with the merchants, these ağas put every possible obstacle in their way [2], and trod under foot both Christian and Moslem alike. Then, whilst the population of Thessalonica was suffering from hunger during certain seasons of scarcity, the ağas disposed of their own stocks on the market at very high prices or sold it illicitly abroad, after coming to an agreement with foreign buyers. But around 1720 their conduct provoked a rising on the part of the populace, who poured out into the streets demanding that bread should be distributed by the Molla himself. The latter, afraid that he should meet with the same fate as his colleague at Lárisa, whom the mob had put in chains and taken to Constantinople, ordered an unrestricted sale of corn and instructed that it should be made into bread at the bake-houses. Similar outbreaks of popular discontent occurred in 1753 [3], 1758 [4], and 1789 [5].


Concerning the export of metals from Macedonia there is little to tell. There existed certain districts where precious metal was to be found (gold, for instance, at Siderokávsia), but in insufficient quantities, the veins being of poor quality and the methods of extraction too primitive. Following a very ancient tradition, sieves were employed for the collection of auriferous sand from several Macedonian rivers [6]. Some effort towards the resumption of work in the ancient metalliferous mines of Thasos was made between 1720 and 1721: indeed, the Porte took a lively interest in the project. The inhabitants, however, fearful of oppression and the grinding conditions of labour for the miners of that day, attempted to oppose it. Although the Porte insisted on its plan, this never came to anything [7].



1. Svoronos, Le commerce, p. 18.


2. Svoronos, ibid., p. l3.


3. Svoronos, ibid., p. 31. See also a popular uprising in 1740, in Mertzios, Μνημεῖα, p. 295. See, too, pp. 375-377, where there is mention of other evidence about oppression of the Christians, Jews and Moslems.


4. Mertzios, Συμπλήρωμα, p. 57.


5. Mertzios, Μνημεῖα, p. 448.


6. Anhegger, Beiträge, 1, pp. 177-178. See also many details on pp. 180-204.


7. For full details see Anhegger, ibid., 1, pp. 179-180: vol. 2, pp. 334-338. See also Vacalopoulos, Thasos, p. 27, n. 9.






3. From the beginning of the 18th century, there was a decided improvement in Thessalonica's trading position. The prime movers in this development being, as we observed, the Greeks and the Jews. Moreover, apart from commerce these two races, to whom the Albanians may be added, made great progress in various other sectors of economic activity. They undertook, for example, the control of the city's customs and the collection of dues (except for the Sultan's tithe— iştira—, the collection of which was traditionally the perquisite of the Evrenos family [1]). The names of some of these tax-collectors are known to us, such as the Greek merchants, Dimos Kastrisios and his friend Constantis, who in 1697 were collecting the tax on wax; and Constantine Páïkos, honorary interpreter of the French Consulate, who assumed in 1710 the position of collector of the tobacco-tax. Among the tax-collectors the chief official was the 'Grand Tax-gatherer' (μεγάλος τελώνης), with whom everyone wished to keep on good terms. The Turkish ağas were just as anxious as the foreign merchants that this position should be in the hands of someone who could be trusted [2].


The first European merchants to come to Thessalonica (after the Jewish immigrants, of course) were French. Our earliest information about the interest shown by the French, even before they had actually established themselves in the city, goes back to 1685 [3]. The actual trading was carried on for them by Greek and Jewish merchants [4]. The first French merchants began to arrive at Thessalonica around 1697 [5], as can be gleaned from a report (1699) written by the French consul Arnaud [6]. However, French commercial activity was as yet insignificant [7]. Arnaud was of the opinion that representatives of other European states were not likely to take up residence in the city [8].


Neverthless, in 1714, as noted by the Jesuit, Father Tarillon, there were already in residence in Thessalonica quite a number of French merchants, though not as many as were in Constantinople and Smyrna. At their head was the French consul, de Boesmont, a man of recognised



1. Beaujour, Tableau, Vol. 1, pp. 111-116.


2. Svoronos, Le commerce, p. 17.


3. S. Maximos - Voreios, Ἡ αὐγὴ τοῦ ἑλληνικοῦ καπιταλισμοῦ (τουρκοκρατία 1685-1789), Athens, 1945, p. 70.


4. Maximos - Voreios, ibid., pp. 73-74.


5. Svoronos, ibid., p. l42.


6. Maximos - Voreios, ibid., p. 83.


7. Maximos - Voreios, ibid., p. 82.


8. Maximos - Voreios, ibid., p. 82.





integrity and popular with all. The Sultan had given him permission to use a small chapel, which was in the care of two Jesuit monks and served the spiritual needs of his compatriots, as also of the Armenians. One of the two monks used to travel at Eastertide to Skópelos and Kavála to offer his services to the vice-consuls and other Frenchmen in residence there [1].


In 1725-1726, the French consul, Le Blanc, established a vice-consulate at Cassándra. But in 1756, contrary to the opinions expressed by the successive consuls at Thessalonica, a decree of the King of France brought the closure of the vice-consulates in the Aegean archipelago, including the one at Kavála [2]. However, in 1791 Cousinéry, French consul at that time, founded agencies of the Thessalonica consulate in various other cities, including Orphanó (Orfan or Orkan) and Kavála. The employment of Greeks in these offices elicited protests from the French merchants, because they considered it a pointless if not a dangerous policy [3]. Nor were they far wrong: from the beginning of the 17th century, Greek merchants were beginning to compete for trade, and often successfully so.


Besides the French, English merchants began to be aware of trade possibilities in the area and in 1718 sent out as consul a certain Richard Kemble (1718-1739) [4], who was granted a number of concessions (i.e. the well-known concessions accorded to other European consuls) [5]. The competition between French and English over the Thessalonica markets had actually begun much earlier. One might cite a letter, dated January 20 1703, of the French consul Armand, who in reference to this subject writes: "I make so bold as to inform you that the fine-quality French cloths are gaining an increasingly high reputation for excellence, especially the first kind, about 20 bales of which have been sold within 4 or 5 months. It is true, however, that a fair quantity of English cloth is appearing on the market, imported through a Greek agent, established here and working for the English. This English cloth is making headway at the expense of our own, particularly their woollen materials, which



1. Aimé-Martin, Lettres, vol. 1, p. 34.


2. Svoronos, Le commerce, p. 148.


3. Svoronos, ibid., pp. 149-150.


4. Ibid., p. 166, n. 1.


5. B. Charalambopoulos, Τὰ προνόμια τοῦ Ἄγγλου προξένου Θεσσαλονίκης κατὰ τοῦ 18ο αἰῶνα, «Ἑλληνικὰ», 19 (1966) 50-53, where relevant information and quotations may be found.





has been manufactured to suit local taste. If our French manufacturers were to succeed in doing as well, as regards appearance and quality, then no doubt we could sell more of our own goods. Our people simply must take note of this. With regard to the aforementioned fine-quality French cloths, they must get busy over perfecting them and even go one better still. Our merchants who are established here, Your Excellency, — and I no less than they — are omitting no means possible to us of extending our capacity to sell increased quantities of every kind. I beg your Excellency to stand assured of our own zeal and care in this connection" [1].



Fig. 99. Α narrow street in old Thessalonici

Fig. 99. Α narrow street in old Thessalonici.

(Photo Ch. Bakirdzís)



But now it was the turn of the Dutch to scent the increasing activity in Thessalonica (see fig. 99) harbour and to found a vice-consulate, the running of which they put into the hands of the French consul, Le Blanc (1724-1727) [2]. In 1727 they had their own consul, the Venetian merchant Caldana, who had been established for some years in the East and had connections with commercial circles in Amsterdam [3]. In 1745, the Dutch consul appointed as vice-consul in Cassandra the city's leading citizen, Demetrius Bakaloglou. But this man had later to resign owing to the opposition of his compatriots [4].



1. Maximos - Voreios, Ἡ αὐγὴ τοῦ Ἑλληνικοῦ Καπιταλισμοῦ, pp. 86-87.


2. Svoronos, Le commerce, p. 179.


3. R. Cessi, Il consolato veneto ed il porto di Salonicco alla metà del sec. XVIII, «Giornale degli Economisti e Rivista di Statistica», Jan. 1915, Rome 1915, p. 1 (re-print).


4. Mertzios, Μνημεῖα, pp. 329-330.






4. In addition to the French, English and Dutch, Venice too was showing a keen interest in the produce of Macedonia. In 1729, a Venetian consulate was established in Thessalonica and placed under the general direction of the aforementioned Galdana (1729-1739). One Venetian consul of note was a Greek by the name of Demetrius Choïdas, who directed and organized the work of the consulate from 31 March 1742. Both Choïdas and his successor, Coch, drew attention to the ever-diminishing imports of Venetian products, a trend that was to become even more perceptible after 1753. We may recognise in this an index of the economic decline of the ancient Venetian Republic.


Other commercial powers were steadily supplanting Venice in Thessalonica. First came the French, followed by the Ragusans; then came the Venetians, the English, the Swedes, and the Dutch. The following shipping list, covering one year, indicates the trend: 100 French vessels (of which 20 traded directly with France), 15 from Ragusa, 5 or 6 from Venice, 4 from England, 4 from Sweden, 4 from Holland [1].


These Western European powers, which were now showing such a keen interest in the Levant, were beginning to exert their influence in the political sphere also. Conversely, the influence of Venice as a military and political power had greatly waned among the Christian inhabitants of the Ottoman empire. In fact, by this time, Venice could be ignored. The surviving records of the Venetian consulate at Thessalonica provide some interesting information about the period 1729-1797 [2].


From 1746 onwards there is mention of the Venetian vice-consulate at Kavála, which was subordinate to the consulate at Thessalonica [3]. Besides those from the consulate at Thessalonica, we have records preserved from the Greek colony in Venice. These provide many interesting particulars concerning commercial relations (chiefly the appointment of representatives-plenipotentiary) between Venice and a number of Macedonian towns during the years 1699-1717. The chief towns mentioned are Thessalonica, Siátista, Kozáni and Kastoriá [4]. The business letters between Andronicus Páïkos, a merchant of Thessalonica,



1. Cessi, Il consolato, pp. 3 ff (reprint). As regards the activity of the French, see also pp. 7 ff, where there are some interesting details.


2. Mertzios, Μνημεῖα, p. 281. See an analytical account of the activities of the consulate and the competition between Venetian and French trade, in the study of Cessi, ibid., pp. 3-14.


3. Mertzios, ibid., pp. 330-331. See also Svoronos, Le commerce, p. 173.


4. Mertzios, ibid., pp. 261-265.





and Demetrius Peroulis, an Athenian established in Venice, furnish us with further details about commercial activities between the two cities during the years 1742 to 1759 [1].


On the subject of commercial transactions between Venice and the Macedonian cities of Siátista, Kastoriá, Thessalonica and Ohrid, further light is thrown by the Venetian State Archives (Documenti Greci No. 314). There are, in all, 93 letters written by merchants of the above cities, as well as from Berat, Kavaya, Durazzo and Elbasan. These letters, dated between 1695 and 1699, were addressed to George Koumanos, a Cretan, who was a commission-agent in Venice and was later appointed as the Venetian consul in Durazzo in 1700. If one takes into account the fact that there existed other commission-agents in Venice with whom the Western Macedonians were in communication, one is led to suppose that the movement of goods both at home and abroad was quite considerable. People were indeed beginning to accumulate fortunes and climb the social ladder. But at the same time, they were in constant dread of losing their all, living as they were under the yoke of the Turks. Commercial correspondence, incidentally, was carried out in Greek.


The merchants, the so-called πραματευτάδες (retail-merchants), operated throughout Western Macedonia, Albania and Serbia, going as far as Bulgaria and Wallachia in the pursuit of goods to be bought or exchanged with others of foreign provenance. They used to carry the local products — i.e. wool, coarse blankets and rugs, serges, silk, cochineal, wax, leather, etc.—to the port of Durazzo, and import thence clothes, worsteds, satins, ecclesiastical books and other items, which they disposed of themselves or through their agents in the commercial centres of the northern provinces of European Turkey, or else at the numerous trade-fairs which constituted such interesting foci of economic life. The πραματευτάδες kept a close watch on all commercial movement, local deficiencies, surpluses and price-trends, and would act accordingly.


Trade via Durazzo appears to have declined after 1720, while exchanges between Lower Macedonia and Central Europe registered a sharp upwards trend. "In former times", writes Rosa, the Venetian consul at Durazzo, "the total quantity of goods sent off to Venice amounted to 16-18 thousand bales per annum in wool, wax, cotton, hides, tobacco,



1. K. D. Mertzios, Ἐμπορικὴ ἀλληλογραϕία ἐκ Θεσσαλονίκης, «Μακεδονικὰ» 7 (1966-1967) 94-142.





etc. A few other ships took on smaller quantities for Ragusa and Ancona. There was such a demand for shipping that bribes were necessary to ensure priority in the loading of one's goods. But now, during the four months from July to October, only four or five thousand bales have been loaded onto no more than four or five vessels altogether, the reason being that the merchants are now taking trade to Hungary...". Obviously, trade with Central Europe was by this time beginning to expand to the detriment of that with Venice via Durazzo. Moreover, the amount of trade handled by the port of Trieste was steadily increasing. The chief reasons for this change in the pattern of trade are, of course, to be traced back to the Treaty of Passarowitz, which held so many advantages for commercial interests.


Nevertheless, trade with Venice did not come to a complete halt. In the 'manifests' of cargoes shipped to Venice by way of Durazzo during 1741 and 1742, we find recorded the names of G. Lazaris and Co., Panayiotis Ioannou, Ioannis Segouris, Dukas Nikolaou, Nerantzis, Pantazis, Hadji-Michail, Georgios Nikolaou and Co., all from Siátista; Georgios Tzatiris from Kastoriá; Kotsos Yannis and Elias Kotsos from Malovlsta; Yorgos Zach. Dedos, Georgios Papapanos, Naoum Michail, Konst. Branavits, Chr. Papazoglou and Georgios Alexiou from Ohrid; Dem. Theodorou and Lazaros Georgiou of Moschopolis; and Pavlos Kiaros, a Greek from Kaváya. All these merchants were exporting wool and wax, the major part via the commission-agents of Yánnina, Michail Karayannis, Dem. Kerasaris and Anast. Vasilis. Of the merchants re-corded above, Lazaros Georgiou and Dem. Theodorou of Moschopolis, and Lazaros Nikolaou and Co., and Michail Segouris from Siátista are mentioned as being importers of goods from Venice. The important point here is that these were the first Greeks of Western Macedonia to extend their field of operations beyond the frontiers of the Ottoman empire and come into direct communication with big European commercial interests so as to ship abroad the products of their home regions. Α little later we shall be examining the consequences of this commercial expansion upon the economy of Macedonia as a whole.


While Western Macedonia's commercial exchanges with Venice were suffering a marked decline, those with Austro-Hungary were showing a steady expansion. Indicative of this new pattern of trade are the following excerpts from reports by the Venetian consul in Durazzo.


1 September 1744: "...the amount of wool has begun to decline this year, since its destination has been changed. About 500 okas (about





640 kgs.) of washed wool has been shipped to the dominion of the King of Hungary to be made into clothing for the army; and a portion was sent to the trade-fair at Leipzig. Two Greek merchants from Siátista and two others from Yannina have received an authorization from Hungary to buy wool with an unspecified limit on the price; and thereafter various merchants who had previously earmarked their wool for Venice have been selling it to them instead at a high price".


8 July 1745: "...many merchants are now working in the Hungarian sector, sending thither wool and other merchandise and thereby obtaining a better price than they could get in Venice. Some cargoes of wool, wax and hides, instead of being unloaded at Durazzo, have been re-directed to the port of Thessalonica...".


2 February 1761: "...the greater part of this [merchandise] is sent overland to Thessalonica and to Germany... Moreover, as a result of the shipwrecks which have occurred recently, many Greek merchants of Moschópolis, Siátista, Ohrid and Malovista have been ruined. Now most of them take their wares overland to Belgrade and Germany, to carry on their business there, having abandoned Durazzo once and for all".


From this point onwards, the movement of trade through Thessalonica was to register a sharp increase [1].


During the 18th century, the towns and cities throughout the length and breadth of Western Macedonia were enjoying a period of rapid economic expansion, and a number of them developed into centres of considerable importance, i.e. Moschópolis, Korytsá, Siátista, Kozáni, Kastoriá, Ohrid, etc. The last named city had, in particular, a flourishing industry of furs and hat-manufacture; and such was her prosperity that even the finances of the archbishopric improved [2].


In 1760 a Swiss trading-company was founded in Thessalonica, and towards the end of the century we find consuls from Spain and Prussia established in the city, although there is no indication of the existence of merchants from these countries [3]. The first Russian consul was established in Thessalonica in 1785, but two years later he was obliged to leave owing to the new Russo-Turkish war of 1787-1792 [4]; and at this



1. Vacalopoulos, Δυτικομακεδόνες ἀπόδημοι, pp. 10-12, where the relevant bibliography may be found.


2. Snegarov, History of the archbishopric of Ohrid, pp. 113-114.


3. Svoronos, Le commerce, p. 185.


4. Svoronos, ibid., p. 186. Mertzios, Μνημεῖα, p. 439. For a record of consulates and vice-consulates in 1784, see Mertzios, ibid., p. 443.





point all merchants who were Russian subjects were ordered to quit the city within six months [1].


The consular reports — particularly the French ones — are full of complaints about the demands made upon the consuls by the Turkish officials, who placed endless difficulties in the way of trade. Additionally they were obliged to give large sums as presents to the more important Turkish officials of the commercial harbour, when taking up their new appointments; and this was all too common, since officials were changed with great frequency in Turkey. The Venetian consuls complained that it was the French who had initiated this evil, for in order to gain their ends, they had begun offering out of their rich treasury substantial sums to the Turkish officials [2].



5. It has been remarked that within the interior of Macedonia trade was conducted through the medium of the trade-fairs. From the 17th century onwards we find mention of these fairs at Sérvia and Avret Hisar (Gynaikókastro). About 1690, the trade-fair of Avret-Hisar was transferred to Kilkís; but after a petition from the inhabitants of Avret-Hisar in 1706, it was restored to its original location [3]. The ancient Byzantine centre of Gynaikókastro was evidently battling for commercial supremacy with its new rival, Kilkís. Thanks, maybe, to the energy of her staunch citizens (and possibly to the influence of her champions amongst the Turks) she had won the first round; though in the more distant future it was Kilkís that was destined to enjoy the more prominent place in matters commercial.


The trade-fair of Dólia, or Dóliani, near Petrítsi, used to take place in the middle of September; but after 1750 it was held in October. There appears to have been another fair with the same name, though of less importance, which took place near Véroia. At Sérres the trade-fair was staged in January. At these trade-fairs all the business was in the hands of Turks, Jews and Greeks. At first, French commercial agents were sent but because of the great risks involved (mainly from robbers) they stopped attending [4]. At the trade-fairs held in the Thessalonica dis-



1. Mertzios, Μνημεῖα, p. 439.


2. Svoronos, Le commerce, p. 58, where there is reference to the consular reports.


3. Svoronos, ibid., p. 210.


4. Svoronos, ibid., pp. 210-211. See also information of Braconnier about what is doubtless a small annual trade-fair in 1706, in Omont, Missions, vol. 2, p. 1030. Recollections of a later date about the fair at Dólia may be found in Paeon of Tiberiopolis, Ἡ Στρώμνιτσα, «Μακεδονικὸν Ἡμερολόγιον» 1908, p. 253. Regarding the existence of two separate trade-fairs with the name of Dóliani, see Mertzios, Ἐμπορικὴ ἀλληλογραϕία ἐκ Θεσσαλονίκης, «Μακεδονικὰ» 7 (1966-1967)143-147.





trict there were even merchants coming from the East [1].


One trade-fair particularly well-known throughout Western Macedonia was that held at Mavronóros, though this is but an insignificant village today, with no more than forty or fifty families. But in former times it was a flourishing town, whose trade-fair attracted a large at-tendance from all over Macedonia, Epirus and Thessaly. Its stock-markets for animals large and small were a special feature. Even today the local people can point out the place where the market stood and where the fair was held; and they often use the expression 'σὰν οἱ γκαβοὶ στὸ Μαυρονόρος' (like squint-eyed men at Mavronóros) to mean a great throng of people [2].


The economic importance of these trade-fairs is demostrated by the remarks made by the French consul in Thessalonica in 1744: "On the occasion of the trade-fairs the majority of the textiles are consumed by the neighbouring towns and villages, whither they are taken by Turkish and Greek merchants, who buy them from the French (here). Thus, only a small proportion remains here in Thessalonica, where all the inhabitants live in a very shabby state. And this shabbiness is even to be observed in the more prominent Turks, who endeavour to hide their wealth and buy no cloth to make clothing for themselves. This policy they resort to on account of the tyranny of their government. The Greeks do, in fact, love display; but there are not enough rich people amongst them to create a market in textiles. As for the Jews, they all live in the most wretched conditions. They are oppressed here more then anywhere else; they are exposed to continual humiliation, are forced to make compulsory contributions, and are ruined in paying them" [3].


Macedonia's greatest commercial port was Thessalonica [4]. Here were concentrated the various products destined for export: wool, cotton, corn, tobacco. Sérres and the port of Orfan were commercially dependent upon Thessalonica (see fig. 100) From Cassandria, Vólos, Zagorá and Lárisa were imported silk, yarn and madder. Véroia supplied thread



1. Svoronos, Le commerce, pp. 208-209.


2. Milt. Papaïoannou, Ὁ Θεόδωρος Ζιάκας καὶ ἡ ἐπανάσταση τοῦ 1854, Thessalonica 1961, pp. 4-5. See also Vacalopoulos, Ἔρενναι ἐν Σαμαρίνῃ, «Γρηγ. Παλαμᾶς» 21 (1937) 429.


3. Maximos - Voreios, Ἡ αὐγὴ τοῦ ἑλληνικοῦ καπιταλισμοῦ, p. 97.


4. The book of I. Κ. Vasdravellis, Ὁ λιμὴν τῆς Θεσσαλονίκης, Thessalonica 1959, constitutes a short sketch of the harbour's history.





and textiles. Thessalonica had close commercial ties also with Kavála (as did Thasos, too). Through her port passed ammunition, manufactured at Právista and destined for the naval-station of Constantinople.


From the coasts of the Gulf of Thessalonica, Vólos, Cassandra, the Holy Mountain and Rentína there came silk and clothing, fire-wood, charcoal and timber for building. These places were also a source of hemp for the manufacture of ships' ropes. It has already been noted that the smuggling out of wheat was particularly wide-spread along these shores [1].



Fig. 100. The sea-side of Thessaloniki at the beginning of the 20th century

Fig. 100. The sea-side of Thessaloniki at the beginning of the 20th century.



From the islands of the Aegean ships brought cargoes of olive-oil, fine sponges and other items, taking back corn. Crete sent olive-oil, soap and citrus fruits, and received in exchange soda and building-timber. From Constantinople came all kinds of luxury-goods in exchange for cereals, tobacco and raw silk. There was a particularly brisk trade with Egypt, which supplied wool, textiles, gums, incense, ammonia,



1. Svoronos, Le commerce, pp. 207-208. For the quantities of wool see Maximos - Voreios, Ἡ αὐγὴ τοῦ ἑλληνικοῦ καπιταλισμοῦ, pp. 100-101, where the wool from Monastir, Skopje, Štip, etc. is considered cleaner than that from the Thessalonica area, but coarser. For quantities of tobacco see p. 102.





coffee, rice and other goods. Traffic the other way included tobaccó, iron and furs. From Syria came gall-nuts [1], steel blades, etc., while woollen cloaks and cochineal [2] were sent in exchange. By way of the Peloponnese came black slaves from the coast of Barbary and woollen caps from Tunis.


Around the middle of the 18th century we find the following goods being imported into Thessalonica from abroad: from France, woollen textiles of various qualities, paper, white soap and sulphur; from America, sugar, indigo, coffee; textiles from Britain and Holland, silks from Venice and Messina, linen from Rome, paper from Genoa; and from other sources came tin-plate, wrought-bronze, china, nutmegs, cloves, cinnamon, pepper, ginger, medicaments, wire, Brazil-wood, tin, lead, lead-shot, etc. [3]. In a 'manifest' for the import of merchandise, dated 1739, we find mention of the following goods: bronze candle-sticks, glassware from Murano, mirrors, books, wash-basins, ivory, woollen and silk textiles, writing-paper, vitriol, plates, brass wire, etc. As consignees of these cargoes the following Thessalonian merchants are listed: Christos Margaritis and Co., Moysis and Gratsiadio Leone, Hadji Yannis Pontikas, Apostolis Pontikas, Thomas Kyrovits, Demos Lagos, Demos Ioannou and Co., Christodoulos Maroutsis, Demetrius Kaftantzoglou, Ioannis Moschopoulos, Panayiotis Konstanti Divan Efendi, Christos Yannis, Elias Samanon, Morpourgo-Sepelli and Co., Andronicus Païkos, and Delon and Malan [4]. In a similar document are mentioned Anast. Bitsinos, George Stevenson, David Sachi, Apostolis Thomas and Panayiotis Ioannou, importing lanterns, glassware, coarse clothing, beads from Murano, paper, silk and various other goods [5]. In 1759, we find the names of Theodore Ligdas, Nicholas Kiranis, Manolis Doukianis, and George Tsitsis [6]. All the names listed above are of Greeks, Jews and Western Europeans residing in Thessalonica in the mid-eighteenth century.


There were also close ties between Thessalonica and Bulgaria, Serbia, Albania, and other Balkan countries. Caravans of 100-120 pack-animals



1. Excrescences produced by certain insects (Hymenoptera) on trees, especially the oak. They are used in the making of tannin, in dying and medicine.


2. Dried bodies of certain insects (of the family Coccidae) used for making scarlet dye and carmine.


3. Maximos - Voreios, Ἡ αὐγὴ τοῦ ἑλληνικοῦ καπιταλισμοῦ, p. 96.


4. Mertzios, Μνημεῖα, p. 288. See also pp. 294-295.


5. Mertzios, ibid., p. 297.


6. Mertzios, Συμπλήρωμα, p. 56.





left every week from Thessalonica for Sofia, Skopje, Monastir and Stip [1].



6. Such vigorous commercial activity is quite remarkable considering that it took place amid conditions which were far from favourable. Southern Macedonia continued to be a hot-bed of rebels and bandits. In such regions where the Greek population was dominant, it was the klephts and 'armatoli' (the latter no less formidable than the former) that were chiefly responsible for the wide spread disorder. The identity of these two 'professions' were often confused, and as time went by, there came to be little difference between the terms 'klepht' and 'armatolos'. We have spoken of the Sublime Porte's intentions of running down and eventually eliminating Greek irregular fighting bands, and on this subject Anhegger's observations are of some interest. "The precautions", he says, "which the Sublime Porte took when there was occassion to take steps against the armed Greek elements after the Russo-Turkish war of 1736-38 and the Treaty of Belgrade, indicated that the Porte had begun to place little reliance upon any of these. In 1721 an edict was issued by the Sultan Ahmed III announcing the abolition of the Greek 'armatoli', who were still active throughout the districts of Komotini, Kavála, Právi, Sérvia and Véroia, where the majority of the inhabitants were Greek. But this edict had not met with full or even partial success.


According to writers I have consulted", continues Anhegger, "the first indication that the Turks were endeavouring to weaken the power and importance of the Christian armed bands appears to have been around the year 1740 when the paşalik of Yánnina was combined with another which possessed a Commander of Passes (Derbentçi). The post was entrusted to an Albanian, Süleyman Pasha, from Argyrókastro, though this was quite contrary to the Sublime Porte's usual policy of never employing an Albanian as paşa over an extended period, either in his native Albania or in Greece. Süleyman Pasha began to press hard the 'armatoli' in a systematic manner. At this period, the exorbitant demands made by the bands of 'armatoli' in return for carrying out their duties as custodians of public safety, had reached such a point that it had become necessary to pay for their services partly out of the proceeds of the bedel, a tax paid in lieu of military service. Instead, the Turks used the money to engage Moslem mercenaries, so that little by little the Christian leaders of 'armatoli' were ousted from their positions" [2].



1. Svoronos, Le commerce, p. 207. For names of Thessalonian merchants in 1767 see also Mertzios, Μνημεῖα, p. 402.


2. Anhegger, Beiträge, l, p. 300.





Driven to despair by the miserable conditions obtaining in the rural districts of Macedonia, a great number of the inhabitants, left for other districts and cities of the Ottoman empire. Constantinople, in particular, promised better living conditions. Others, again, sought to better their fortune by going to northern Balkan countries or to Central Europe, where Austro-Hungary proved a particularly attractive refuge, as we shall see in a separate chapter.


The continuing migration of rayas is referred to in a firman of 1740, which was aimed at checking the flow of peoples from 'the left arm of Rumeli' [1] (i.e. Greece) to Constantinople. In this firman the wars are recognised as being responsible for the burdening of the rayas with additional tax-demands. The rayas are suffering "physically and economically. Because of this, some people in the kazas, not having the means to support themselves, have preferred expatriation, coming and settling in the capital of the empire...".


In consequence, the rural areas, on the one hand, were being abandoned in desolation, while on the other hand, within Constantinople, overpopulation was causing a disruption of society and grave difficulties were being experienced in provisioning the city. The few impoverished inhabitants who had not migrated were now suffering even more, since they were obliged to shoulder the whole tax-burden by themselves. The cultivation of the fields was being neglected and all forms of agricultural produce were markedly dıminishing in quantity.


The Turkish authorities endeavoured to effect the return of these 'emigrants' to their homelands with the promise that life would regain for them its old rhythm, now that the wars had ended and the burdens of irregular taxes had been abolished. In addition, the Sultan issued instructions to local political and religious authorities to behave well towards those who had returned and to all the rayas generally, not to impose additional taxes on them, and to protect them from robbers and extortioners. Finally, he forbade all emigration unless a firman was issued on the subject. Those for whom it was absolutely necessary to come to the capital on matters of local business, were not to bring many people with them, but rather to send one or two representatives. Moreover, those who came on personal business were to be furnished with documents signed by the local magistrates and officials [2]. However, the



1. For the meaning of this term see Zinkeisen, Geschichte, vol. 4, p. 166.


2. See Vasdravellis, Άρχείον Θεσσαλονίκης, pp. 223-224. See also pp. 53, 54, 57, 76. See also Mertzios, Μνημεῖα, p. 408.





current of immigrants contínued to grow in spite of these injunctions.


Doubtless a large number of the refugees cast anchor in the various of the Macedonian cities, despite the fact that this is not specifically mentioned in the Sultan's firman.


There occurred at this time a resurgence of banditry in the districts of Édessa, Náousa, Véroia, Yenitsá, Avret Hisar, Petrítsi, Siderókastro, Sérres, Zíchna, Dráma and other areas, as we see from a firman of 1742:


"It is well-known that in the past, thanks to the relentless pursuit of robbers and malefactors and to the assurances and promises given by the inhabitants of the 'kazas', the banditry and revolt which had been ravaging your lands had been supressed, and the poor and helpless people had found peace, sending up to Heaven prayers for the long life of His Majesty our Sultan and Lord. But, for some time past, on account of your carelessness and inattention, order has been completely shattered in your cities and kazas, so that various malefactors, abandoning themselves to their unholy lusts, practice, as of old, murder and robbery, causing great distress to the inhabitants, ruining the rayas, and plundering the travellers. As a result, the rayas, who up till now had lived in peace, are losing their sleep, and there is a complete lack of safety on the high-ways and in the countryside. To crown it all, these bandits gather around them a large number of fellow-criminals; they are causing the mosques and chapels in the cities and villages to be closed, and are provoking the masses to fight, even to murdering a great number of the faithful, either for reasons of revenge or for the purpose of seizing their property; and they force their way into their houses and maltreat their households" [1].


What with the activities of the Greek klephts and the tyranny of the Albanian guards of the passes, this troubled situation was to continue for some years to come [2]. In 1765, we have a striking example of a combined operation carried out by Greek klephts in the Olympus region. Α number of 'kapitani' (i.e. Salamouras of Platamón; Haydaroglu, Kolios, Lazos, Kodros, Katsaounis of Elassón; Michos, Markos and Kostas of Sérvia; Tsomis of Domokós; Asteriadis, Babos, Vekhas and Stamoulis of Tríkkala; Belikas and Brakos of Véroia; Kontoyiannis of Patradzíki; Zidros and Tsolak of Lárisa; and others of Pelion and Kissavos) combined in urging rayas of Lárisa to drive out the guards of the passes and their officers, which the Inspector of Passes had stationed there, and to re-



1. Vasdravellis, Άρχείον Βέροιας - Ναούσης, p. 151.


2. Vasdravellis, ibid., pp. 155, ff.





place them with others from among their own people. Then they took prisoner a great number of villagers from Olympus and demanded a ransom of 500-600 piastres for each. After that, they went into the village of Káliani and burnt 22 of its houses, loading the contents onto 94 mules and making off with them. The terrified inhabitants of this and other villages on Olympus fled for refuge to Lárisa [1].


The Sultan was furious at the incompetence of Frasari Mustafa Pasha, the governor of the passes of Lárisa, Sérvia, Véroia, Óstrovo, Tsarsambá, Elassón, Platamón, Prestína, Domokós, Hrupista, Anaselîtsa and Kastoriá, no less than with those of the sancaks of Karleli, Naupactus, Vólos, and Argalastí. Frasari Mustafa was removed from office, his place being taken by one of the palace officials named Mehmet Pasha Zade Mir Ali, who had been living in Lárisa. In addition, the Sultan commanded that reliable men should be appointed as bölükbaşıs and that the Albanians and other guards whose loyalty was suspect should be replaced [2]. In north-west Macedonia, however, Moslem bandits were ravaging whole villages from Édessa to Prilep, and seizing young women without the Sultan's gendarmes being in any position to deal with the culprits [3].


Even within Thessalonica itself the situation was usually far from quiet. Here it was the Janissaries that were the cause of commotion and anarchy. They frequently murdered their fellow-nationals, Greeks or Jews; they insulted people, extorted money from them and committed various crimes [4]. "The assaults we suffer daily from the officers of the Molla are indescribable", writes the Venetian consul on 25 July 1743 [5]. And on 27 February 1755: "...the administration of this city is getting worse day by day... there is no justice to protect us from the power of the Janissaries: God preserve us from their threats!" [6]. Even the paşas themselves frequently oppressed the inhabitants [7], while outside Thessalonica the activities of pirates were far from unknown [8].


One ought to mention, in passing, that there was a considerable



1. Vasdravellis, Άρχείον Βέροιας - Ναούσης, pp. 176-177.


2. Ibid., pp. 178-179.       3. Ibid., pp. 179-181.


4. Mertzios, Μνημεῖα, p. 319. See also, pp. 328, 333, 343, 352-355, 361-362, 369, 373, 391-392. By the same author, Συμπλήρωμα, pp. 57, 59, 66.


5. Mertzios, Μνημεῖα, p. 321.


6. Ibid., p. 372.      7. Ibid., pp. 383-385.      8. Ibid., p. 381. Also see p. 398.





Turkish population outside Thessalonica— that is, throughout Central Macedonia — judging from the fact that in September 1744 an order from the Sultan was delivered to the paşa of Thessalonica to the effect that he was to muster 12.000 sipahis for an expedition in Asia Minor [1].


The merchants of Thessalonica had to face a great variety of obstacles, particularly in times of war when the taxes were heavily increased. In order to find some relief from such hardships, quite a number of them endeavoured to gain the protection of one or other of the European powers which had diplomatic representatives in the city. These merchants were termed προστατευόμενο' (protected) or μπαρατάριοι, since they had secured for themselves certain privileges through a special berat (warrant). In the year 1743 particularly, there was a noticeable increase in the number of 'protected persons' belonging to each of the great powers; for the non-Turkish subjects of Turkey, unable to endure the tyranny of their rulers, strove by every means in their power to obtain a berat [2].



7. The number of European merchants who were Roman Catholic was increasing; but over and above their other difficulties they found it especially awkward to carry out their religious duties. They had no church of their own, and right up to the beginning of the 18th century they were obliged to attend services at the houses of their respective consuls with the ready assistance of the Jesuits. In 1714, in order to spread their propaganda amongst the Orthodox, these Jesuits, as we have seen, built a chapel in the city; but they met with obstacles after a firman was issued, at the instigation of the Oecumenical Patriarch, against such Greeks, Jews and Armenians as had embraced the Roman Catholic faith [3]. (A copy of the documents has been preserved in the Turkish archives of Thessalonica [4]). The Jesuits opened a school in their own residence in the district of Ayiou Athanasiou and taught free of charge Greek children, who eagerly attended in their thirst for education [5]. In addition, they managed to build a new chapel, honoured with the name



1. Mertzios, Μνημεῖα, p. 326.


2. Svoronos, Le commerce, p. 152. See the mention of two Greek 'μπαρατάριοι', in the service of the Venetians, ibid., Mertzios, ibid, p. 390. See also pp. 394-395 the dispatch to Thessalonica of a special mubassır to check the berats.


3. For the beginnings of the Jesuits' establishment see Aimé-Martin, Lettres, vol. 1, pp. 34, 88-89. Svoronos, Le commerce, p. 156. See the Jesuits' opposition to Protestants in Thessalonica in 1740 in Mertzios, Μνημεῖα, p. 299.


4. See the firman which prohibited the propaganda in Vasdravellis, Άρχείον Θεσσαλονίκης, pp. 42-43.


5. Aimé - Martin, ibid., vol. 1, p. 93. See also p. 91.





of St. Louis [1], which appears to have been situated near the harbour, in the quarter where the European merchants were firmly established.


In 1744 the head of the Jesuits, R. P. Després, founded a new church because the old chapel had been destroyed. But in order to conceal from the Turks the use that this building would be put to, he furnished the inside of it to look like a shop, while with the aid of a false-ceiling made of planks he had made a second floor to the building, where a church service could be held. This was but a temporary stratagem, since the Jesuits had every intention of removing the planks at a later date to use the whole space as a church. Their ruse was discovered, however, and in order to avoid an unpleasant incident they bribed the mütevelli (trustee of pious foundations) and the molla of the city. To avoid further difficulties in the future, the French consul asked the ambassador in Constantinople to obtain the concession of a firman for the new church, similar to the one which had been issued for the earlier chapel. The question of the Roman Catholic church was raised once more in 1748, when the French consul, after a petition made by the ağas and chief artisans of the city to the Paşa, was forced to forbid the ringing of the church-bell [2].


In the beginning, the Jesuits acted as chaplains to the French consulate, but later on they became more closely associated with the Venetian consulate. In fact, around the middle of the 18th century they came into open conflict with France. In 1759, R. P. Gitty, the chaplain of the French consulate, in a sermon he delivered in the church, reproached France for having ceased to be the protectress of religion and for being overrun with philosophers and atheists. It was for this reason, he said, that God had punished her in depriving her of victory in her war with England. Following a protest on the part of the consul, R. P. Gitty was recalled [3].


This business apart, the Jesuits showed great energy in buying out slaves (in fact a special fund had been opened for this very purpose) [4], and in looking after and feeding the Venetian soldiers who were continually deserting from ships in the harbour. To this end the Jesuits exacted 5 kuruş from every Venetian ship that put in at Thessalonica [5].



1. See details in Aimé - Martin, Lettres, vol. 1, p. 93.


2. Svoronos, Le commerce, p. 157.


3. Ibid., p. 158. See also Mertzios, Μνημεῖα, p. 374, on the subject of Jesuits in Thessalonica in 1755.


4. Svoronos, ibid., p. l57.


5. Mertzios, ibid., p. 323.





Such, then, is the early history of the Trankish' church of Thessalonica and the beginnings of the 'Frankish Quarter'. In my opinion, this 'Frankish Quarter' was not a direct continuation of the old Venetian quarter as from 1277, but was formed for the first time around the middle of the 18th century. It is, of course, highly probable that the 'Frankish Quarter' was formed on top of or near the site of the old Venetian settlement, but this was purely coincidental: it is simply that both the Venetians and the Franks, when they came later, wanted to be close to the harbour. Nowadays the 'Frankish Quarter' does not exist as such, for the Europeans (or 'Franks' as they were generally called) no longer inhabit that part of the city. Yet a recollection of the old locality is still preserved in the name of the district's main street, the Ὁδὸς Φράγκων [1]. The protestant and Roman Catholic cemeteries of Thessalonica still possess a good number of graves of the 18th and 19th centuries, which recall many an echo from that epoch for the modern visitor.


One of the Jesuits dwelling in the 'Frankish Quarter' around the middle of the 18th century was P. Jean-Baptist Souciet [2], who knew Thessalonica well and provides us with some of the most interesting and enlightening details we have concerning the city, its inhabitants and miscellaneous subjects. I am adding some of Souciet's information immediately below, supplementing it with details culled from other sources.



1. Vacalopoulos, History of Thessaloniki, p. 96.


2. Concerning Souciet, see G. Hofmann, Die Jesuiten und der Athos, «Archivum Historicum Societatis Jesu» 8 (1939) 30. See also A. Xanthopoulou - Kyriakou, Περιγραϕὴ τῆς Θεσσαλονίκης στὰ 1734 ἀπὸ τὸν P. Jean - Baptiste Souciet, «Μακεδονικὰ» 8 (1968-1969) 185-187. On pp. 187-209 see the detailed exposition and critical examination of Souciet's information.


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