The Ottoman economy during the reign of Sultan Abdul Hamid II

السلطان عبد الحميد الثاني (1)

The Ottoman economy witnessed a lot of changes and modernisation during the reign of Sultan Abdul Hamid II.

The Sultan’s economic policy, which focused on economic development, increased agricultural production, and reduced military expenditures, led to an improvement in the empire’s economy and finances.

About Ottoman Economy during Sultan Abdul Hamid II regin

Sultan Sultan Abdul Hamid II is the owner of the project of Islamic unity, statesmanship, Islamic jealousy, and educational and economic reform; Which opened him to a long and close struggle so that he did not achieve his goal, to end his rule after a third of a century, he ascended the throne of the Ottoman Sultanate in critical circumstances after his uncle Abdelaziz was deposed from the throne, then he committed suicide mysteriously, then his older brother Murad V became mad and imprisoned, and he took the throne On August 31, 1876 AD, the same day that Sultan Murad V was deposed, then he was deposed from the throne on April 27, 1909 AD, and he died on February 10, 1918 AD.

Sultan Abdul Hamid inherited a state burdened with weakness, debts, bankruptcy and destructive foreign privileges, but he did not despair, surrender, or go along with the enemies of his state. Sufficient to save money and time to accomplish the required reform, and he was also striving to convince his nation not to be a vehicle for the conspiring foreigner, and to remain committed to their religion loyal to their nation, working honestly for advancement and progress.

Reform fiscal policy during Sultan Abdul Hamid II regin

Economic reform Which is attributed to Sultan Abdul Hamid’s ability to manage the Ottoman economy rationally and effectively, whether in terms of financial, monetary, commercial, or structural policy; in financial policy, he went from the depths of bankruptcy to the realm of payment and safety with the least possible settlement, after inheriting debts imposed on him by his predecessors. When Sultan Abdul Hamid took power, the public debts were close to 300 million pounds, and he was able to reduce them to 30 million pounds; that is, to a tenth, after paying for two major wars and crushing some internal rebellions, and not only that, but then relied on a reformed fiscal policy through taxes, rationalisation of spending, fighting bribery, and legalising the gift.

According to Sultan Abdul Hamid’s austerity policy, he reduced the palace cadres and my internal and external counterparts in particular, as well as reducing the salaries of princes and overseers in general, and referring the palace’s expenses to the private treasury rather than the state treasury, and placing the budget under the supervision of a financial reform committee for consideration before it is presented to the Council Optician.

Sultan Abdul Hamid is also remembered for refusing the largest bribe to pay off the Ottoman Empire’s debts and solve its financial woes in return for the construction of a national home for Jews in Palestine. Countries possessed by blood may only be sold at the same price.” This nefarious movement served merely to buy debts, arrange its deposition, and destroy the Ottoman Caliphate.


Sultan Abdul Hamid also followed a monetary policy based on the gold and silver lira, abolishing the list system, as well as moving towards establishing banks.

Sultan Abdul Hamid also pursued a commercial policy based on internal trade to meet the needs of the state, and self-sufficiency in food was its title, by maintaining the position of trade between its states, while foreign trade was of little importance in Ottoman economic life, reflecting the Ottoman state’s independence ability by adopting it. On themselves, but Arab nations have been reliant on others to supply their requirements since the plot to demolish the Ottoman Caliphate, and in the vanguard of that food.

Among the things mentioned about Sultan Abdul Hamid is his tireless effort to abolish the inherited foreign privileges system in vain, as the major countries prevented him from doing so because of what they called their rights under this system, that system that made foreigners leave and have fun in the Ottoman Empire at the expense of its merchant subjects, until the merchants took control. Foreigners gain access to foreign trade in accordance with the privileges granted to them, which weakened the Ottoman Empire’s economic decision-making independence, weakened its nationals’ position from merchants, and prevented it from developing its industries, in light of the major countries’ desire to be a supplier of raw materials and a popular market for the marketing of their finished products. In addition to depriving the public coffers of much needed financial resources, it finally led to the borrowing trap.

Sultan Abdul Hamid also pursued a structural programme in which the agricultural sector dominated, in light of the state’s prohibitions on foreign privileges, and limited its role in industrialisation by European nations. During his rule, there was a significant growth of cultivated fields that was not confined to self-sufficiency. Rather, it aimed to boost exports.

Sultan Abdul Hamid was interested in ways of financing and marketing the agricultural sector, and he is credited with establishing the Agricultural Bank to provide the necessary financing for farmers. Ottoman Chambers of Commerce in Europe.

It is also credited with Sultan Abdul Hamid – in the agricultural sector – that he stood firmly against the colonial desire to transform the Ottoman Empire into a colony of raw materials serving the interests of Western countries, by changing the agricultural production system in it to be a single product system. Agriculture, which provided food security in the Ottoman Empire, and even opened the door to competition for its products in European countries.

And if foreign countries used foreign privileges to prevent the Ottoman State from leaving its place in industrialization and preventing the protection of its manufacturing industry, on the other hand, it directed its direction towards the extractive industry in the Ottoman Empire to achieve its interests and provide its raw material needs, but instead used dishonest methods of exploration. Regarding oil, and at the forefront of that are England and Germany, whose tricks Sultan Abdul Hamid revealed and stood for – not as we see from Arab countries in our contemporary reality that harnessed their resources for the benefit of the foreigner – and Sultan Abdul Hamid’s position was one of the reasons for his dismissal.

Attention to the service sector and infrastcture

The service sector also had a role during the reign of Sultan Abdul Hamid, especially with regard to transportation, communications, education and health. Sultan Abdul Hamid benefited from foreign investment in building a diverse network of railways according to his interests and without compromising the sovereignty or wealth of the state.

The most prominent of this is the Baghdad railway project, which was a model for addressing the financing deficit, by taking advantage of competition between Europeans in building railways in the Ottoman Empire under the kilometer guarantee provided by the Ottoman government, which guarantees a minimum amount of revenue for the investor; This made foreign investments concentrated in railways, in which foreign investments represented two-thirds of foreign investments in the Ottoman Empire.

As a result of this, the railways during his reign more than tripled, and their revenue increased nearly tenfold, and the trend towards achieving Sultan Abdul Hamid’s goals of establishing railways by reconstructing remote areas, activating agriculture in them, and then increasing the tax revenue generated from them, and linking the regions of the state with each other, the ease of transporting soldiers and their movement, as well as encouraging trade and facilitating the transportation of products.

And if history proves that Sultan Abdul Hamid is the true architect of the Baghdad railway construction project, then history also proves that Sultan Abdul Hamid is the true architect of the greatest religious, international, unitary, and service project, the Hejaz Railway project, which was carried out with pure Islamic funding from the fundraiser. Which the Sultan addressed to all Muslims of the world, and began with himself, and was widely accepted throughout the Islamic world, with the goal of facilitating pilgrims’ arrival to the holy lands, realising Sultan Abdul Hamid’s idea of the Islamic unity, and dispensing with the Suez Canal, which was controlled by the British occupation in Egypt, in addition to the general purpose of establishing railways.

Sultan Abdul Hamid’s ambition did not stop there. Rather, he was seeking to link the Baghdad line to the Hijaz line, but the colonial hand refused to complete his civilizational and unitary Islamic project, and “Sykes-Picot” eliminated the rest of these two projects.

Sultan Abdul Hamid’s reign in the field of transportation was not limited to railway services, but he is credited with putting the management of marine transportation in the hands of a private Ottoman company in which foreign capital entered, but under the supervision of the Navy’s watch, after it had been in the hands of Ottoman and foreign private companies since the era of charitable organisations. He also sought to expand the number of steam ships, was interested in constructing numerous ports, and paved the path for the formation of corporations and shipping lines in order to abolish British navigational rights in Iraqi seas. He even researched the construction of a new canal to compete with the Suez Canal, which was under British control.

Sultan Abdul Hamid is also credited with introducing the car and the tram and paving the roads; Over 800 km were paved a year and 450 km were repaired.

His attention extended to modes of communication, particularly the mail, which was vulnerable to foreign privileges. He also popularised the telegraph, worked on its production with Ottoman hands, and introduced the telephone.

He also extended the water pipes (Hamidiyeh water) that saved Istanbul from thirst, and he also experimented with building submarines in Istanbul from his own money.

In education, he achieved a rational educational renaissance, by gradually adopting modern Western sciences, without prejudice to Islamic culture.

In health, he focused on public health and scientific research in it, building hospitals, as well as nursing homes.

It was enough for Sultan Abdul Hamid to be a statesman, thinker, and worker. where he cautioned his country’s youths against unemployment and living under the cover of a government job, and set an example for himself to follow He was a skilled carpenter and successful investor since his childhood, and he urged them to work and produce, believing that the strength of states and the secret of their renaissance and strength, and for this he opened the door for small and large projects alike; To carry out its activities and, in turn, contribute to treating unemployment, meeting the country’s needs, and exporting abroad, in light of an international conspiracy that did not stop, and a Hamidian wand


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