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Socio-economic relations in Azerbaijan in the 17tthcentury

Natural industry developed/increased in Azerbaijan villages in 17th century. Along with this, village sthat were located near cities were engaged in trade, which gave chance to peasants to pay their taxes not only with natural means, but also with money. So that, rural locations entered to new economic relations as well.

The basics of agrarian industry had been constituted by arable- farming as before. Ottoman traveler and historian, Evliya Chelebi, who visited Azerbaijan in 1647, informed about the existence of 900 kargizes, many arikhs in Tabriz and in its environs. French traveler, Jan Batist Tavernye gave information about the existence of many kargizes, springs, sawn areas, which were used for irrigation here. There were planted such grain cultures as, wheat, barley, rice, pea and sesame approximately in all regions of Azerbaijan. Evliya Chelebi informed about the cultivation of 7 kinds of wheat in Tabriz.

In 16th-17th centuries, Azerbaijan gained world-wide fame with its silk. There were planted mulberry trees for the cultivation of silk-worm in harvestive fields. The produced silk of villages was brought not only to internal market, but also it was exported to other countries. Raw-silk, which was produced in Azerbaijan was famous within the medicval Europe. Italian merchants from Venesia, Florencia and other cities presented Azerbaijan silk to the manufacturing industry of Western Europe. The silk of Aresh, Mahmudabad, Karabakh, Sheki, Ganja, Gabala was much more demanded commodity. The European travelers, who were in Azerbaijan in this period, mentioned that, most part of people that were engaged in this sphere/field of economy – were prosperous/affluent people.According to their evidences, there was produced 10-12 thousand bales o silk per-year in Safavids state, 3 thousand bales of it were produced in Shirvan, and 2 thousand bales – in Karabakh.

Cotton-growing also possessed important place in economic life of Azerbaijan at that time. Gardening and market-gardening were extended as well. Venesian Alessandry described the fruit-trees of Marand and Khoy, also wrote that there was no such delicious fruits in other countries as in Azerbaijan. Adam Oleary, who mentioned about the growing of many sorts of grapes, such as Tabrizi, keseyi in Tabriz and Ordubad, wrote that nobody could find such grape in anywhere.

Evliya Chelebi also noticed about the planting of various sorts of grapes in Tabriz. Along with grapes, there were planted apple, pomegranate, abricot, nuts, oranges approximately in all regions of the country.

Azerbaijan was one of the highly-developed country of animal- breeding. The animal-breeding possessed major place in the economy of the country in 17th century. There was developed driving animal- breeding in economy, i.e. nomadic cattle-breeding. The steps of Karabakh, Mil, Mughan, Shirvan were for winter and the mountains of Savalan, Small Caucasus, Karadagh, Talish were utilized as summer pastures. So that cherik (militia), which was collected from elats was the basics of feudal troops, they were represented special priorities.

Villages provided big cities with provisions, fruits and vegetables.Natural economy was gradually destructing, the ties of villages with internal markets were increasing.

Natural geographic conditions of Azerbaijan, plenty of raw- materials, enlargement of internal demands and international market influenced to the development of craft and trade as well. Tabriz, Ganja,Ardebil, Maragha, Shamakha, Aresh, Barda, Nakhichevan, Derbend, Culfa were the major centres of craft and trade of the country.

There were existed more than 40 much more developed craft- professional specialties-weavers, sewers, potters, copper-smith, black- smith in the cities, as well as in the villages and districts of Azerbaijan.

The economic policy of Safavids state also assisted to the development of craft. Shah Tahmasib I abolished the tax of tamgha, which had been collected from craftsmen and merchants and that had been applied during the reign of Hulakids. It influenced to the rebirth of craft and trade.

The producing was extended with the growth of trade, the technique of producing re-newed. The development of producing forces influenced to the shape of new spheres of craft.

Azerbaijan carpets, silk and paper clothes gained the world-wide fame. Thin clothes, made from silk and cotton were coloured by highly qualified masters and these clothes were designed as well.

Caravanserais played an important role in internal and foreign trade of the 17th century. Caravanserais were constructed on trade ways along with cities. Travelers, merchants stayed there for night, settled their animals in stables, put their goods to special granaries. The trade relations of Azerbaijan with the countries of the East and the West again extended after the peace treaty with the Ottoman Empire, in the beginning of the 17th century. Ottoman administration permitted Azerbaijan merchants to realize trade operations with the centres of Western Europe, such as Genuya and Venesia through the parts of Meditteranian Sea.

In the 17th century, Russian merchants conducted trade in the cities of Azerbaijan and Azerbaijan merchants carried their trade to Muscow. The trade between Moscow and Azerbaijan was conducted through Volga-Caspian trade way and through land caravan way of Derbend. The trade capital of Western Europe confronted with the capital of Russia in the second half of the 17th century. In 1667, tsar administration concluded agreement with the trade company of Culfa. According to this agreement, company had to sell raw-silk only to Muscovite merchants or obliged to export these goods to Europe only through Russian lands. In his letter to the tsar, Aleksey Mikhaylevich (in 1672), Shah Suleiman (1664-1694) expressed his agreement to the treaty, which was concluded with Culfa company.

There was given right of free-trade to Russian merchants in Azerbaijan; they might use from caravanserais and other auxiliary settlements without paying money. But, despite of this feature, Russian merchants couldn’t supplant the trade men of the West – Dutchmen preserved their supremancy in the trade off Azerbaijan even at the end of the 17th century.

In the 17th century, there had been continued to share tiyuls for military service from the lands of state possessions. Tiyuls were not related with their owners. Tiyuldars brought the amount for their tiyuls only from state Treasury.

Land possessions of icma was under the utilization of rurali icma- communities. The head of icma was engaged in distribution and collection of taxes in the icma; he brought certain part of the collected tax. The office of the head of icma generally passed by generation. Big land-owners gradually supplanted icma, feudals brought their land by violation. They settled their dependant there and took 2/3 part of the planted harvest for leasing these lands. In 17th cemtury, land-renta was paid in the form of harvest, work in the lands of feudal or money payments in Azerbaijan.

About Ismayil bey Zardabli

Author of t extbook for the higher educational institutions "THE HISTORY OF AZERBAIJAN, from ancient times to the present day"