Nablus - Economy - Historic

Historic

Beginning in the early 16th century, trade networks connecting Nablus to Damascus and Cairo were supplemented by the establishment of trading posts in the Hejaz and Gulf regions to the south and east, as well as in the Anatolian Peninsula and the Mediterranean islands of Crete and Cyprus. Nablus also developed trade relations with Aleppo, Mosul, and Baghdad.

The Ottoman government ensured adequate safety and funding for the annual pilgrimage caravan (qafilat al-hajj) from Damascus to the Islamic holy cities of Mecca and Medina. This policy benefited Nablus economically. Pilgrimage caravans became the key factor in the fiscal and political relationship between Nablus and the central government. For a brief period in the early 17th century, the governor of Nablus, Farrukh Pasha Ibn Abdullah, was appointed leader of the pilgrimage caravan (amir al-hajj), and he constructued a large commercial compound in Nablus for that purpose.

In 1882, there were 32 soap factories and 400 looms exporting their products throughout the Middle East. Nablus exported three-fourths of its soap — the city's most important commodity — to Cairo by caravan through Gaza and the Sinai Peninsula, and by sea through the ports of Jaffa and Gaza. From Egypt, and particularly from Cairo and Damietta, Nablus merchants imported mainly rice, sugar, and spices, as well as linen, cotton, and wool textiles. Cotton, soap, olive oil, and textiles were exported by Nablus merchants to Damascus, whence silks, high-quality textiles, copper, and a number luxury items, such as jewellery were imported.

With regard to the local economy, agriculture was the major component. Outside of the city limits, there were extensive fields of olive groves, fig and pomegranate orchards and grape vineyards that covered the area's slopes. Crops, such as tomatoes, cucumbers, melons and mulukhiyya were grown in the fields, vegetable gardens, and grain mills scattered across central Samaria. Nablus was also the largest producer of cotton in the Levant, producing over 225,000 kilograms of the product by 1837.

Read more about this topic:  Nablus, Economy

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