აღმოსავლეთში ინგლისელთა სავაჭრო და დიპლომატიური მიზნებისა და საქართველოს ისტორიის ზოგიერთი საკითხის დაზუსტებისთვის (ენტონი ჯენკინსონის რელაციონის მიხედვით)

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2018
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Abstract
In the present paper the economic and diplomatic motivations of visits of English merchants to Persia and the South Caucasus is analyzed against the background of relationship between Europe and the East. Also, impartial comparison of the obtained material with the Georgian and Persian sources allows us to define precisely a number of controversial issues of Georgian historiography. Great geographical discoveries that fundamentally changed social, economic and mental development of European states, and significant expansion of the Ottoman Empire put one of the problematic issues for the early modern Europe on the agenda – to confront the new reality or to accept it. Besides, the cataclysms of that period provoked an unprecedented interest in having trade routes and markets for trading in every direction (Asia, Africa and America). Within the context of the confrontation, some attempts were made to create anti-Ottoman coalitions. The West considered that Safavid Persia would be the best partner for that as the main enemy of the Ottoman Turks in the East. However, anti-Ottoman coalitions were not able to unite all the states of Western Europe and to keep to one standpoint: in that period the Habsburgs were in constant confrontation with the Ottoman Empire, while France was its ally; in Levant, the position of Venice was staggering according to their own interests, and the English were primarily driven by economic motives. They wanted to seize new trading areas in the Mediterranean and in general in the East and did their best for that. Through different ways they managed to enter the Ottoman controlled area and the Near East. In 1558-1581, the representatives of the "Muscovy Company", the English company well-established on the Russian market, had seven visits in the East – one in Central Asia, and six in Safavid Persia. The reports on each visit were submitted to the company and to the Royal Court and are included in the famous work of Richard Hakluyt “The Principal Navigations, Voyages, Traffiques and Discoveries of the English Nation”. The English merchants were trying and struggling for opening a way in that direction. They left interesting materials about Safavid Persia and about the South Caucasian nations controlled by that state; about the relationship of those nations with Persia, Ottoman Empire and Russia; about internal economic conditions and political situation etc. However, in terms of specific political situation in Georgian states and the information provided in the materials of Anthony Jenkinson (we mean his full account that we translated rather than the fragmentary information of other Georgian researchers), we consider that first of all the accounts of his travels in Persia and the South Caucasus are worthy of attention. Antony Jenkinson’s accounts show the broad travelling profile of English trade agents, their diplomatic flexibility and insight in political situation that is clear from his conversations with the people he met during his traveling and especially in his actions and conversations during his audience with the shah. It is noteworthy that in that moment he did not miss an opportunity to note the goal of the Ottoman ambassadors’ visit to Shah and the result they achieved. Also, he noticed their negative attitude to his visit and the factors that were the impediments in obtaining the trade privileges from the Safavid dynasty. The same can be said about his contact with Shah’s subordinate Shirvan and Georgian kings, about his assessment of political situation in these countries and his attempts to establish foreign relationships. Naturally, as a representative of the trade company he assessed the scale of silk production as the main export goods in Safiavid Iran and its dominions, and the prospects of its exchange for English broadcloth. His account clearly shows that Kakheti and Shirvan, which were the Safavid dominions, were the row silk production areas. Also, he was well-aware of the main European competitors in the East and tried to get rid of the Venetians that was not so easy, because they were well established in Tabriz. It is of interest how skillfully Jenkinson tries to gain Shah’s goodwill for England when he portrays them as the enemies of Portuguese (appearance of the Portuguese in the Gulf of Persia greatly strained relations between them and Safavids) and, also, what potential risks he sees in the case if the South Caucasian nations decide to pursue an independent policy etc. Similarly to the material of other travellers, the accounts of Anthony Jenkinson, the farsighted witness, clearly show the interest of Safavid Empire to the political course of European states and Russia. No less interesting is that Russia, which had already appeared in the international arena by that time, was concerned in communication with the South Caucasian countries and actually, Jenkinson carried out the assignments of Russia (in addition to the assignment of his company and its interests) while travelling in the Safavid dominions (otherwise he would not be permited to travel through Russia). It is not disputable that the 16th century was very difficult for Georgia, when the fragmented country being under the influnce of Ottoman Turks and Safavids, was struggling for survival. There are not very many Georgian sources about this period. Therefore, any material that can help us to reconstruct the events that took place in the past of our country and to see the picture in a wider spectrum is of special importance for us. In the paper we try to connect the fragments, where Anthony Jenskinson mentions Georgians, and also compare them with the relevant Persian, Ottoman and Georgian sources of the same epoch. That adds more clarity to the analysis of Georgian political, economic and diplomatic problems of the 16th century and to the dispute regarding the identification of the persons (Georgians) mentioned in the report.
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https://geohistory.humanities.tsu.ge/ge/procedings/83-shromebi/171-shromebi-14.html
Keywords
ენტონი ჯენკინსონი, რელაციონი, სეფიანები, ინგლისური მაუდი
Citation
ივანე ჯავახიშვილის სახელობის თბილისის სახელმწიფო უნივერსიტეტის საქართველოს ისტორიის ინსტიტუტის შრომები, XIV, თბილისი, 2018, გვ. 206-232 / Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University Institute of Georgian History Proceedings, XIV, Tbilisi, 2018, pp. 206-232
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