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In thè 17th and 18th centuries trade between Eastern, South-Eastern
and Western Europe was quite brisk, the most active participants being the
Balkan merchants, Christian subjects of the Sublime Porte. In a number of
European countries they had their own colonies, and these were most mimerons
in the Austrian Empire, including Hungary. The Balkan merchants in Hungary were engaged in diverse activities.
They imported goods from the Levant and products of European industry,
and traded the Hungárián agricultural produce at the same time.
In the course of their vigorous commercial activities abroad, the subjects
of the Ottoman Empire needed the support of the local authorities. In Hungary
they set up an Organization of their own, the so-called Greek Company.
The independent merchants who joined such Companies negotiated their rights
and obligations with the local authorities. In turn, the latter controlled the
activities of the foreigners and gathered information about them. As a resuit,
valuable documents pertaining to the activities and organizations of Balkan
merchants have been preserved in Hungárián archives.