Özgür Yılmaz

Keywords: Samsun, Port of Samsun, Consular Reports, French Trade, Navigation


Due to its geographic location and agricultural potential, Samsun began to develop rapidly and became a new trade center in the middle of the 19th century. A factor was the Crimean War that created new opportunities for the southern ports of the Black Sea. But the real and most important factor was the European demand for Ottoman agricultural products in the 19th century. The rise of Samsun as a gateway for wide region like Merzifon, Amasya, Tokat, Sivas, Yozgat, Şebinkarahisar, Kayseri, Kırşehir and Diyarbakir resulted the steady increase in agricultural production supported by this foreign demand. In this way, at the end of the century Samsun became the primary port in the southern Black Sea. As a reflection of this international interest, foreign consulates established in the city. French consulate, established in 1863 was one of them. Annual commercial and maritime reports in detail prepared by consuls for each year are among the most important sources for the economic structures in the 19th century Ottoman cities. There are very valuable documents on trade in the French archives about Samsun that attracting more attention especially in the second half of the century. It is possible to observe the rise of the city from annual commercial reports prepared by French consular agents. The reports of Henri de Cortanze who served in the city between 1895 and 1906 reflect the situation of Samsun at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century. In this context, this study aims to investigate Cortanze's detailed report on the port of Samsun in 1903. By using other reports about Cortanze's consular period, the subject is evaluated in a broad sense.