An English Consul in Turkey

Paul Rycaut at Smyrna 1667-1678
Anderson, Sonia P.
Date published: 
January 1989

The author and diplomat Sir Paul Rycaut (1629-1700) was the leading authority of his day on the Ottoman Empire. This biographical study draws on a wide range of source material to reconstruct for the first time his varied literary and official career. It also provides a lively account of the English community at Smyrna during the eleven years of his consulship there. Rycaut's seventeen years in Turkey were followed by a brief spell as chief secretary in Ireland under James II, and eleve n years as British resident at the Hanse Towns for William and Mary. The main focus of the book, however, is on his consulship at Smyrna, the most important centre of English trade in the eastern Mediterranean. Sonia Anderson explores the social backgrounds and varying fortunes of the resident merchants, factory officials, and visiting sea-captains, and examines the economic reasons for the success of this outpost of Restoration enterprise.