Cannabis and hemp in the Ottoman Empire

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In Turkish, the cannabis plant is also recognized as “kendir,” which is also the name of the fiber produced out of it. The fiber and seeds of the cannabis plant are utilized to make a selection of various merchandise about the globe. It is prohibited in several nations since of its miscellaneous use as a drug. On the other hand, industrial hemp is utilized in the production of several issues, such as fabric, yarn, naval supplies, cosmetics, automobile frames, soap and cellulose. It was generally grown throughout the Ottoman era.

Cannabis cultivation

Cannabis was initially planted in the mild-temperate regions of Eastern Asia. Later, it spread to West Asia, Anatolia, Egypt and Europe. It was initially sown in the U.S. in the 17th century. Its fiber was a important raw material in twine, yarn, rope, cable yarn and fabric production. Most of the supplies like rope and cable yarn, which the Ottoman Navy required, have been created from cannabis fiber. Back then, cannabis was largely cultivated in the Black Sea area.

Cannabis cultivation was in depth in the provinces of Samsun, Sinop, Kastamonu, Amasya, Çorum, Tokat, Yozgat, Ordu, Burdu, Urfa and Malatya. It was also cultivated in the districts of Taşköprü, Vezirköprü, Gümüşhacıköy, Merzifon, Çarşamba, Terme, Ünye, Fatsa, Ödemiş, Tire, Suruç and Birecik.

In Sinop, Kastamonu, Taşköprü and Vezirköprü, industrial hemp was cultivated, processed and turned into various merchandise. Nearby men and women utilized to sell some of the crops and use the rest to make issues like fabric, twine, rope and sacks.

Compact loved ones manufacturing workshops began popping up in the area. Kastamonu and its atmosphere had cultivation websites which have been fertile in terms of cannabis agriculture. A lot of cannabis would be planted in the fields about the Gök River and regions exactly where this river met the valleys. The area was an critical ground exactly where cultivation, processing and export of industrial hemp took location. Taşköprü and its nearby areas have been amongst the areas exactly where hemp was cultivated the most.


A wax figure representing Ottoman rope production at Tokat City Museum.

Production of hemp fiber and rope continued till the finish of the empire. There was even an inn named Kendir Inn (Hemp Fiber Inn) exactly where hemp and hemp merchandise have been sold and craftsmen dealing with hemp worked in the surrounding area. Goods purchased for the navy from Kastamonu and nearby areas have been exported by means of the İnebolu pier.

Black Sea: Center of hemp farming

Some 90,981 kilograms of hemp have been created in Taşköprü in 1520 20,484 kilograms have been obtained in Tokat and nearby areas in 1574. Although the quantity was 354,794 kilograms in Trabzon in 1554. Farmers created about 349,858 kilograms of hemp in Akçaabad in 1554.

The area of Samsun was also a single of the most critical production centers. Ottoman explorer Evliya Çelebi stated that in Samsun men and women dealt with hemp and hemp-yarn.

Almost 10 % of the agricultural production in the area was hemp. The state got the essential hemp from Samsun and nearby areas as state taxes. About five,612 homes in the area have been providing 1,600 kilograms of hemp to the state as tax. Hemp and hemp merchandise have been sent through the port of Samsun.

Hemp merchandise

Cannabis is a plant which needs a lot of tiring operate right after the harvest. Just after the fibers have been separated from the stem, the method of separating them by smashing started. The fiber separated from stems have been smashed with wooden pestles on a flat stone. The manufacturing phase began right after the fibers have been combed. Throughout the Ottoman period, the following merchandise have been produced from processed hemp:

String: It was a single of the thinnest merchandise obtained from hemp. It was created, in particular in Rize and nearby places, and was a single of the critical implies of creating a living in the area. Dresses for summer season months, bed linens, upper sheets and hijabs have been created from it. It was also utilized to make awning, fishnets, sacks, warn yarn utilized in carpet weaving and tents.

Twine: It was created in thicker type than string.

Cable yarn: It was the most often utilized solution produced from hemp and was utilized in packing and baling. It was created at the size and length that the buyer wanted or was sold, getting created in line with standardized sizes. Cable yarn makers who created broken cables have been revealed in the presence of the public, so that purchasers knew these yarn makers had created inferior merchandise.

Rope: Thicker than cable yarn and utilized in ships.

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