A Cross-Cultural Regional Integration: Austria and the Ottoman Empire in the Eighteenth Century
Throughout the eighteenth century the Habsburg Monarchy and the Ottoman Empire developed a commercial relationship based on “free, safe and peaceful trade” which changed the urban landscape of Vienna, Trieste and Pest, and which influenced both the domestic and foreign policies of the two empires. Ottoman merchants, whatever their religious affiliations, were not only able to connect the different Habsburg-ruled territories in Central Europe despite their different legal configurations, but also to integrate them into the global Ottoman trade. This commercial integration was only possible because of the individual support provided by the Austrian ruling families to the Ottoman merchants, and the establishment of a trans-imperial patronage. Austrian clienteles, and the circulations they entailed, overlapped the geography of the Ottoman trade, interacted with it, and it occasionally involved Ottoman local bigwigs and ministers. If this process remained incomplete, it leaves open the possibility of exploring dynamics that led to regional integration between two diverse and asymmetrical empires in a cross-cultural context. This invites scholars 1) to break with the idea that regional integration is necessary to proceed within a homogenous cultural area; 2) to keep a certain distance with the narrative of the Eastern Question and political orientalism. Until the national uprisings in the Balkan, the common private and public interest of the Austrian and Ottoman economic and political elite was the conservation of the two empires and not the collapse of the Porte.
David Do Paço is a historian of eighteenth-century Europe at Sciences Po and a Junior Fellow at IAS CEU. He earned his Ph.D. from Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne in 2012 after research on the Austro-Ottoman milieu in Vienna in the eighteenth century, then he joined the Max Weber Programme at the EUI. The book that came out from his doctoral research, L’Orient à Vienne au dix-huitième siècle, was published in May 2015 in Oxford by the Voltaire Foundation. His present research interests focus on social phenomena in cross-cultural context and engage with urban history, international studies and diaspora studies.