“During the 17th and 18th cent

“During the 17th and 18th centuries, therewas evidence of economic decline in the Middle East with the spreadof plague as an important feature affecting population and economicgrowth.”

  1. Do you agree with this statement? Explain why?
  2. Elucidate the Ottoman administration system in rural and urbanareas.
  3. Criticize their system pointing to any similarities/differenceswith the present systems and what lessons can we draw for thepresent.   
  4. Currently, the COVID-19 is a pandemic that is spreadingthroughout the whole world. Do you think that it would have thesame impact on the Middle East as the spread of plague
  5. during the 17th & 18th centuries?Justify your answer. (800 words answer)


a)Yes I agree with this statement. Ottoman empire and the MiddleEast have been especially

critical of the absence of Ottoman sources “

Here in1895 is referred to so called fanatic adherents ofIstanbul (G St, III HA, Nr 1100, 20 November 1895, Pera’dan

Saurma, Bl. 2007-2008) and it summarizes to a certain extend,the effects of changing world economy on Ottomans under theEuropean capitalism. While European economic influence wasspreading all over the world, this influencestruggled with the existing social, economical and politicalinstitutions and at the end, converted local institutions(Quataert, 1987, p.13). Although Ottoman Empire showed considerablyeffective resistance to European penetration in terms of capitaland trades, the result of these attempts had seriously contributedteconomical Decline of the empire.

According to some of the modern intellectuals in Ottoman,religion was limitingsecular knowledge of education. “Rather than teaching the ideals ofthe FrenchRevolution and Enlightenment-inspired individualism, schoolscontinued as vehiclesfor religio-moral social disciplining” (Encyclopedia Britannica:Ottoman Empire).Misinterpretation of Islam inhibited education of women. Therefore,this led to adecline in human capital. The effect of the diminishing humancapital due to limitededucation in Ottoman Empire on its economicdecline, can be explained by Romer’sstatement defining human capital as a key determinant of economicgrowth.Together with Tanzimat, from 1870 to the early 1880s, Ottomaneducation systemwas relieved by modernization and secularization in the sense ofesteeming non-religious knowledge (Salmoni, 2002). “The inherentinstability of all states, which leads to economic change andUltimately to economic decline”


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The Economic history of the Ottoman Empirecovers the period 1299–1923. Trade, agriculture, transportation,and religion make up the Ottoman Empire’s economy.

The Ottomans saw military expansion and careful use of currencymore emphasis to manufacture and industry in thewealth-power-wealth equation, moving towards capitalist economicscomprising expanding industries and markets whereas the Ottomanscontinued along the trajectory of territorial expansion,traditional monopolies, conservative landholding, andagriculture.

Trade has always been an important aspect of an economy. It wasno different in the 16th century. As the Ottoman Empire expanded,it started gaining control of important trade routes. The captureof Constantinople (1453) to the Ottoman Turks was a key event.Along with their victory, they now had significant control of theSilk Road, which European countries used to trade with Asia. Manysources state that the Ottoman Empire “blocked” the Silk Road. Thismeant that while Europeans could trade through Constantinople andother Muslim countries, they had to pay high taxes. Ottoman-Europerelations were not always ideal because a difference in religionseems to have played an important role in their societies.


The Ottoman Empire was an agrarian economy, labor scarce, landrich and capital-poor. The majority of the population earned theirliving from small family holdings and this contributed to around 40percent of taxes for the empire directly as well as indirectlythrough customs revenues on exports.

No formal system had emerged to organize manufacturing inmedieval Anatolia. The closest such organization that can beidentified is the Ahi Brotherhood, a religious organization thatfollowed the Sufi tradition of Islam during the 13th and 14thcenturies.

C)Student AllowanceLiving allowances were given to Hebrew students at the JerusalemAcademy in the first century. In 1253, the medieval city of Ypresgavestudents benches and strawwith no extra charge for medicalblood-letting services. Room and board was provided for students ofhigher education at ottomanEmpire medresses of the 15th century. Inaddition, their students were exempt from military service. In1648, students at German academies received free board. The DutchEast India Company sent able Ceylonese students to LeydenUniversity at company expense in the late.

17th century. In 1871, at the Calcutta Medress, an ArabicPersian language and Mohammedan school, a student allowance wasgiven Scholarships.These have been commonly provided by local,state, and national agencies; private companies and organizations;and universities. In the seventh century, Japan sent studentsabroad for learning. Scholarships were awarded for room, board,books, stationery, tuition and fees at the Ottoman EmpireGalatasaray Lise secondary school for Moslems and mixednationalities of the late 19th century. The British ColonialWelfare and Development Acts of the 20th century providedscholarships for Ghanian andTanzanian students.


A society can open political system needs an educatedelectorate. The need to train statesmen has also created specialsschools such as the 15th century’Ottoman Empire’s palace school forthe best intellects in the Empire. In the United States during thelate 19th and early 20th centuries, evening schools helped fulfillthe political need of transmittingnational cultural values andinculcating patriotism to immigrants.

Economic difficulties

Under such conditions it was inevitable that the Ottomangovernment could not meet the increasingly difficult problems thatplagued the empire in the 16th and 17th centuries. Economicdifficulties began in the late 16th century, when the Dutch andBritish completely closed the old international trade routesthrough the Middle East. As a result, the prosperity of the MiddleEastern provinces declined. The Ottoman economy was disrupted byinflation, caused by the influx of precious metals into Europe fromthe Americas and by an increasing imbalance of trade between Eastand West. As the treasury lost more of its revenues to thedepredations of the devşirme, it began to meet itsobligations by debasing the coinage, sharply increasing taxes, andresorting to confiscations, all of which only worsened thesituation.

d)Roman poets used plague as a way of reflecting on war — civilwar in particular. Internal discord was thought to spread (like adisease) through a population, until all discord was resolved indeath. Pestilence, like war, was frequently a great status leveler:Rich and poor, pauper and aristocrat are equally susceptible toillness and death from the virus’ (or, in the case of bubonicplague, the bacterium’s) point of view; thus “plague” or anyepidemic disease has a homogenizing impact. This is made morbidlyclear in the tendencies of ancient and early modern writers todwell on death pits and mass burials, where bodies are heaped uponbodies with no distinguishing characteristics. We’re seeing a lotof this now as media coverage of COVID-19 makes frequent referencesto ‘mass graves’ and ‘makeshift morgues,’ especially in nursinghomes.Contagion was not well understood in antiquity: Ancientwriters viewed pestilence as a sign of divine displeasure whilealso explaining disease through miasma theory, the notion thatcorrupt atmospheres were a source of epidemic disease. At the sametime, the Latin word for “contagion,” derived fromcontingo, “touch” (contactus, contagio,etc.) indicates awareness that disease could be spread throughsocial proximity. By making evident our physical contact withothers, contagion makes visible those social interactions that aremost dear and familiar even as it destroys them. Ancient writersnarrate the spread of disease using language that evaluates whichbonds were considered the strongest within the social order,usually familial bonds. We’re hearing a lot now, under the threatof COVID-19, about measures we can take to protect ourselves, ourfamilies, our communities. But Roman writers were well aware as weshould be that there may be occasions when those goals ofprotection are in conflict with each other.

Plague is an infectious disease caused by the bacteria Yersiniapestis, usually found in small mammals and their fleas. The diseaseis transmitted between animals via their fleas and, as it is azoonotic bacteriuma, it can also transmit from animals tohumans.

Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that can cause illnessessuch as the common cold, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS). In 2019, a newcoronavirus was identified as the cause of a disease outbreak thatoriginated in China.

Most of us have never lived through a pandemic like thecoronavirus before, but we have heard or learned about them, fromthe Spanish flu to, more notoriously, the plague, like the BlackDeath.

And perhaps, as you’ve followed the news or talked to peopleabout COVID-19, you have even heard the coronavirus called a“plague.”

No, the new coronavirus is not the plague. (Whew. Takea deep breath with us now.) But let’s read on to actually learnabout the difference between the coronavirus and theplague to be sure.

For health, safety, and medical emergencies or updates onthe novel coronavirus pandemic, please visit the CDC (Centers forDisease Control and Prevention) and WHO (World HealthOrganization). For more words related to the coronavirus, see ourglossary. And for more important distinctions between confusingwords related to the coronavirus, see our articles pandemicvs. epidemic, quarantine vs. isolation, andrespirator vs. ventilator.So, what do the coronavirus andthe plague have in common? They both are infectious diseases thatspread to humans from certain animals (that’s calledzoonotic). However, COVID-19 is caused by avirus—essentially a tiny bit of nucleic acid and protein that needsa living host—whereas the plague is caused by bacteria, which aresingle-celled organisms. Further, while antibiotics work onbacteria, they do not work on viruses.


In the 17th and 18th centuries, the merchants frommunicipalities in Europe started moving to the as the supplies wereaccessible in abundance and at more affordable rates.

Also, the hand-operated laborers in the nation were in highnumbers which were beneficial for enhancing production. As this wasthe time of industrialization, large-scale generation was arequirement to render exchange and to depreciate the costsassociated with buying supplies and arranging laborers in the town,and the wholesalers migrated to the farmland.

In the 17th & 18th centuries, traders from towns in Europestarted traveling countryside since trade guilds, producers’association, skilled craftsmen and artisans prohibited the influxof new people into the industry.They were producers’ associations, who trained craftsmen, retainedpower over production, controlled trade and prices, and limited theinflux of new people into business.Rulers gave various guilds the right of monopoly to manufacture andtrade in different goods. New merchants therefore found itdifficult to set up business in cities

Proto Industrialization:

In seventeeth and eighteeneighteen centuries merchants from thetowns in europe began moving to the countryside

The earlier phase of industrialisation in which large scaleproduction was carried out for international market not atfactories but in decentralized units.This is known as proto-industrialisation.Reasons that merchant began to move in the countryside in 17th and18th century are:-1- Huge demand- the world trade expanded at a very fast rate duringthe 17th and the 18th centuries due to population growth.2- Powerful town producers- the producers could not expand theproduction at will in the towns as urban crafts and trade guildswere powerful.

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