The Imperial Ottoman Bank

The Imperial Ottoman Bank
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AuthorAndre Autheman
EditorLorans Tanatar Baruh
Translated byJ. A. Underwood
PublisherOsmanlı Bankası Arşiv Araştırma Merkezi
PublishedIstanbul, June 2002

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The Imperial Ottoman Bank

Founded by London financiers at the instigation of the Ottoman government in the 19th century as the bank of issue of the Ottoman Empire, the Imperial Ottoman Bank developed as a dual product of Ottoman rulers' reforming spirit and the expansion of Western capitalism in search of new territories in which to invest. In its founders' minds, the bank was not limited to the issuing of money and to state financing, but was also a commercial and merchant bank within the Ottoman territories. The development of that empire would inevitably enhance the position of the bank.

The Imperial Ottoman Bank tried to fulfill its triple role during the period of its existence within the Ottoman Empire. The bank was dominant in Ottoman state borrowing, particularly on the Paris market. Its branches were spread across Ottoman territory in Europe, Asia, and Africa. Finally, the bank participated in the founding of various public services and railway companies.

The Imperial Ottoman Bank, during these years, inevitably faced the same crises as the world economy and the important events which marked the last decades of the empire, including the Russo-Ottoman War, the Young Turk Revolution, the non-Muslim movements, and the Balkan wars with their losses of territory. The First World War and its aftermath caused the collapse of the Ottoman Empire and drastic changes in the map of the Middle East. It also marked the end of the "imperial" period of the Ottoman Bank.