ŞIrket-I Hayriye

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Nineteenth-century Istanbul ferryboat company for the Bosporus Straits.

This was the first substantial joint-stock company established in the Ottoman Empire. It was founded in 1849 with two thousand shares and sixty thousand Turkish lire in capital with the support of Mustafa Reşid Paşa, one of the leaders of the mid-nineteenth-century reforms called Tanzimat. Created to provide ferry transport on the Bosporus in Istanbul, the company bought its boats for seven thousand Turkish lire each from a British company.

The company was promoted by Reşid Paşa as an example of new economic forms. To demonstrate the security of joint-stock companies, he encouraged several other government officials to invest in the ferryboat firm. Similar companies were soon founded in the 1850s, including the Bank-1 Osmani, the Aydin-İzmir Railroad, and Şirket-i Osmaniyyesi.


Lewis, Bernard. The Emergence of Modern Turkey, 3d edition. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002.

elizabeth thompson