Migrations within the Ottoman Empire
Traders and craftsmen
Professional skills and knowledge help to consolidate links between people and civilisations.
Many economic migrants within the Ottoman empire were traders, artisans, craftsmen and skilled labourers looking for reliable patronage and a more prosperous future. Although officially the Ottoman government sought to restrict people’s individual movement and often directed it, many succeeded in seeking their fortunes away from their homelands. Beyond the capital Constantinople, many headed for the most dynamic, quasi-independent courts in the 19th century to seek business or work for the ruling elite. Architects, construction workers, wood and stucco workers, potters, jewellers and calligraphers were among those leaving home to find work elsewhere, and much of the architecture and material culture that survives in the region today attests to their presence all over the Arab and Ottoman world.
More about
Migrations within the Ottoman Empire

Traders and craftsmen
Refugee victims of the break-up of the Ottoman Empire
Nomadic tribes
Request to the Bey of Tunis by Tunisian merchants in Istanbul

19th century

Archives Nationales, Tunis, Tunisia

This document, written on behalf of Tunisian traders based in Constantinople in the 19th century and addressed to the Bey of Tunis, bears witness to the mobility of craftsmen and traders within the Ottoman Empire.

See Database entry for this item

In this Exhibition
About the Exhibition
Privateering and captivity in the Mediterranean
Migrations within the Ottoman Empire
North–South movements
The life of European immigrant communities: Egypt and Tunisia