The Journal of Economic History


The Ottoman Empire in the “Great Depression” of 1873–1896

Şevket Pamuka1

a1 Assistant Professor of Economics, University of Ankara, Turkey. He is now Assistant Professor, Department of Economics, Villanova University, Villanova, Pennsylvania 19085.


Contrary to the view that the periphery of the world economy benefited from rapidly expanding trade, the Ottoman economy actually faced a distinctly unfavorable world conjuncture during the last quarter of the nineteenth century. Rates of growth of foreign trade dropped, external terms of trade deteriorated, declining wheat prices affected peasant producers, and the establishment of European control over Ottoman finances led to large debt payments abroad.Indirect data indicate that rates of change of agricultural and aggregate production were also lower during the “Great Depression” as compared to the later period.