An Analysis of Ottoman Trade and its Effects on the Longevity of the Empire

For my freshman Monroe project, I want to research the trade policies set in place by the Ottoman Empire and how they effected its longevity.  Despite its near six century lifespan, the consensus amongst many historians is that the Ottoman Empire fell into a period of decline after the 16th century C.E.  This coincides with the rise of European powers and the discovery of the New World. Many attribute mercantilism with the rise of the West, as the Ottoman Empire stuck with their traditional policy of provisionism. Trade policies on both fronts evolved over the centuries as mercantilism evolved into capitalism and Ottoman policies became more and more domestically focused. Even with these changes, the power struggle between the West and the Ottoman Empire never again swung in Ottoman favor.  This means the Ottoman Empire was in a constant state of decline for roughly 450 years. The distinction that must be made, though, is that it was in a period of decline relative to the West. The decline was not absolute. Due to this misconception, the commonly asked questions regarding the decline of the Ottoman Empire are why it declined or why the West rose to power.  I want to approach this from a different angle. I want to approach the decline of the Ottoman Empire looking specifically at trade policies, but also with a slightly more optimistic mindset. Why did the Ottoman Empire survive for so long? What effect did its trade policies have on its survival?

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