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Business culture and entrepreneurship in the Ionian Islands under British rule, 1815-1864


  • Gekas, Sakis


This paper explores the emergence of a business culture among merchants and entrepreneurs in the Ionian Islands during the period of British rule (1815-1864). New forms of business organisation (the joint-stock company), and novel commercial practices, such as advertising, represent examples of institutional but also cultural change. The petitions of merchants, submitted to the central administration, demonstrate the specific strategies used to pursue commercial interests. The changes introduced during the period of British rule, continuing long-established relations with western economic powers, and the existence of a multi-cultural business world in the port towns of the islands advanced the business opportunities for the merchants resident there (foreigners or nationals) but also advanced the integration of the Ionian Islands to the wider Mediterranean and world market. The Ionian Islands case provides an opportunity to look at the formation of networks and institutions through the articulation and promotion of interests by merchants. The paper proceeds as follows; theoretical and historiographical influences are acknowledged and clarified first while the aspects of institutional change and the new forms of business organisation are presented afterwards. These are followed by examples of petitions submitted by merchants on commercial issues, and some attempts to draw conclusions and generalise from the Ionian case are made at the end.

Suggested Citation

  • Gekas, Sakis, 2005. "Business culture and entrepreneurship in the Ionian Islands under British rule, 1815-1864," Economic History Working Papers 22332, London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Economic History.
  • Handle: RePEc:ehl:wpaper:22332

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Oliver E. Williamson, 2000. "The New Institutional Economics: Taking Stock, Looking Ahead," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 38(3), pages 595-613, September.
    2. Stoianovich, Traian, 1960. "The Conquering Balkan Orthodox Merchant," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 20(02), pages 234-313, June.
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    JEL classification:

    • N0 - Economic History - - General
    • B11 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought through 1925 - - - Preclassical (Ancient, Medieval, Mercantilist, Physiocratic)
    • F54 - International Economics - - International Relations, National Security, and International Political Economy - - - Colonialism; Imperialism; Postcolonialism
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
    • B1 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought through 1925
    • O52 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Europe


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