The Fall of Constantinople in 1453 marks a historical turning point in Mediterranean history and for many scholars the end of commercial relations between East and West. The Genoese community, however, asserted itself as an economic go-between. The Genoese thrived in a Muslim environment even, and perhaps especially, during times of war. Their economic success was due to their willingness to acculturate while attempting to maintain strong cultural ties with their identity. Examining various strategies, such as their immersion into the urban topography, their treatment in migration policies, and their negotiation of commercial privileges, this article concludes that the Genoese insertion into the Ottoman economy was a product not merely of their economic dexterity but of their cultural aptitude for innovation.
Cultivating Differences: Genoese Trade Identity in the Constantinople of Sultan Mehmed II, 1453–81
Céline Dauverd is assistant professor of Renaissance and Mediterranean history at the University of Colorado Boulder. Her research focuses on imperialism, religion, and commerce in the premodern Mediterranean. She is the author of Imperial Ambition in the Early Modern Mediterranean: Genoese Merchants and the Spanish Crown (Cambridge University Press, 2014). Also for Cambridge, she is currently writing on Spanish viceroys in Renaissance Italy, examining the intersection between religious rituals and good government.
Céline Dauverd; Cultivating Differences: Genoese Trade Identity in the Constantinople of Sultan Mehmed II, 1453–81. Mediterranean Studies 16 November 2015; 23 (2): 94–124. doi: https://doi.org/10.5325/mediterraneanstu.23.2.0094
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