The Cloth Market at Aleppo

  • Ralph Davis


Each year after the last camel loads of silk had gone down to Scanderoon, and the last messengers to catch the ships had galloped after them on horseback with invoices and parting words, the factor in Aleppo took the opportunity to draw breath and reflect on the trading experience of the season that had just passed. At his desk in the room above the warehouse, he ran over in his mind the course of business affairs during the previous six months, recalling the changing problems of cloth sales as buyers’ demands emerged and were satisfied, the complicated relationship with his silk purchasing, the ways he had found to meet competition, and his failures. He estimated the quantities of cloth still held in Aleppo by his fellow Englishmen as well as native traders, and pondered over the promise of the new racolta, the rumours of peace and war and plague, and many other things that might affect his future operations. From all this would emerge a long letter to his principals in London, outlining his thoughts on the outcome of the past year’s trade and the prospects for the next.


Eighteenth Century Cloth Trade English Cloth English Trade Turkish Empire 
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  1. 2.
    J. Porter, Observations on the Religion, Law, Government and Manners of the Turks (2nd ed., 1771), pp. 390–6, comments very strongly on the decline in the quality of English cloth.Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    P. Masson, Histoire du Commerce Français dans le Levant au XVIIIième Siècle (Paris, 1911), pp. 480–1.Google Scholar

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© Ralph Davis 1967

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  • Ralph Davis

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