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The Ottoman Monetary Crisis of 1585 Revisited

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In 1585-8, the Ottoman silver currency, the akçe, was officially devalued by 100% against the Venetian gold ducat and foreign silver currencies, and its silver content was reduced by 44%. Some scholars have interpreted this devaluation and debasement as a consequence of the silver influx from the Americas, whereas others have referred to the difficulties that the Ottoman state had to face in financing its war effort against the Safavids in Persia. This study suggests that the unification of a number of distinct regional monetary zones in an interregional imperial economy by the second half of the sixteenth century must be regarded as an important factor that contributed to the monetary crisis of 1585. En 1585-88, l'akçe, la monnaie d'argent ottomane, fut dévaluée officiellement de 100% par rapport au ducat d'or vénitien et les monnaies d'argent étrangères, et le pourcentage d'argent en fut réduit de 44%. Certains chercheurs interprètent cette dévaluation et cette dépréciation comme étant la conséquence de l'influx d'argent venant des Amériques, tandisque d'autres attribuent les problèmes de l'état ottoman au financement des guerres contre les Safavides d'Iran. Cette contribution suggère que l'unification d'un bon nombre de zones monétaires régionales qui différaient entre elles en une seule économie impériale interrégionale dans la seconde moitié du XVIe siècle doit être regardée comme un facteur important ayant contribué à la crise monétaire de 1585.

Affiliations: 1: Assistant Professor of History, and Religious Studies, Department of History, and Religious Studies Program, University of California, Davis, USA


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