The southern coast covers the Ottoman and later Turkish area from Istanbul to east of Rize, an area populated until the beginning of the twentieth century mostly by Muslims, but with also a significant non-Muslim population both in the port-cities and the hinterland. From the fifteenth century until the treaty of Küçük Kaynarcı in 1774 after the Russo-Ottoman war (1768-1774) the Black Sea remained an “Ottoman lake”, since no foreign ship was allowed to pass the Straits. In this way, the Ottoman empire wished to fully control the Black Sea trade and impose Istanbul as the obligatory transit station for all the trade routes. Only with the afore mentioned treaty and the treaty of Aynalı Kavak in 1779 Russia and other foreign states managed to trade freely in the Black Sea and pass through the Straits. Since then and throughout the nineteenth century, the Ottoman Black Sea coast and its hinterland developed economically, and the two port cities, Samsun and Trebizond, served as transit stations for the connection between East,- especially Iran-, Anatolia, the Russian coast and Istanbul.
The volume on the Ottoman Black Sea is divided into sections based on thematic criterion. In the first section the focus is on Istanbul as the prominent economic and consuming centre, which connected the Black Sea with the eastern Mediterranean and the West. In the second part of the volume the emphasis is on the economy of the Ottoman Black Sea coast during the “long” Ottoman 19th century. Moving from economic to a more political aspect of the history of the Ottoman coast of the Black Sea in the 19th century, the third section continues with the political and administrative aspects of the Ottoman government in the southern coast of the Black Sea area and the interaction between Ottoman state and the ethnic communities.