For Pilgrims and for Trade

Merchants and Public Works in Ottoman Jeddah

in Turkish Historical Review
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This article argues that public works were a major field where local notables associated themselves with Ottoman plans during the Tanzimat period. The documents this article is built on aim at evidencing the very tangible aspect of Ottomanization when imperial interests matched local ones.

First, plans for urban modernization were wisely endorsed by the main merchants of Jeddah to enhance the port facilities. Second, Ottoman archives highlight how important this local support was for the imperial administration. The matching of imperial and local interests is conspicuous in the common language used in minutes of the city council’s sessions and the petitions dispatched to Istanbul by the merchants of Jeddah. It exemplifies how notables advocated their own scheme of public planning and made it fit the politics of Ottomanization by framing their requests in terms of two important motivations for Ottoman officials: the proceedings of the pilgrimage, and trade.



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Deringil, The Well-Protected Domains, p. 135.


Ben Bassat, Petitioning the Sultan, pp. 45–61; Baldwin, “Petitioning the sultan in Ottoman Egypt”, pp. 511–18.


Ben Bassat, Petitioning the Sultan, p. 47.


  • Petition of Jeddah’s merchants (1890): b.o.a., 394–44.

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  • The reorganized and extended landing stage during its inauguration (1895). © archives du ministère des affaires etrangères, nantes.

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