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Mining history in Anatolia - Part 3

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Mining history in Anatolia - Part 3

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May 2006 101
Ottoman Empire
The Humbaraji Corps
The humbarajis consisted of grenadiers who were
used for throwing grenades into the besieged forts; their
other duty was to manufacture humbaras (grenades) and
mortars. The Humbaraji Corps was reformed by Comte
de Bonneval, a French officer in the Ottoman service
during Mahmud I’s reign. He was instrumental in bring-
ing about several reforms in the army, including the
establishment of schools for teaching modern mathemat-
ics and medicine for military use (Fig. 13). A conserva-
tive reaction led to a Janissary revolt and the fall of
Sultan Ahmad and his
modernizing grand vizier
in 1730. He opened a mil-
itary engineering school
in 1733 and created a
trained unit of bombard-
ment. Janissary opposi-
tion to his reforms
limited their effects, and
after his death, his unit
was broken up and the
school closed (1750). He
was made a pasha and
appointed to organize and
command the artillery. He
rendered valuable serv-
ices to the sultan in his
war with Russia, and with
the famous Nadir Shah
(shah of Iran, 1688-
1747). As a reward, he
received the governorship
of Chios, but he soon fell under the suspicion of the
Porte and was banished for a time to the shores of the
Black Sea. He was contemplating a return to Europe and
Christianity when he died in Istanbul in 1747.
The armaments of humbarajis consisted of a humbara, a
small mortar, and a melee weapon (usually a short sword
or a dagger). Humbara was a grenade, its inner parts hol-
lowed out and filled with gunpowder and some flammable
materials. Another weapon the humbarajis used was the
trench mortar, a giant weapon similar to both a musket and
a mortar. It threw grenades and was used behind the trench
in sieges.
The Ottoman Empire
and the Italian Renaissance
The Ottoman Empire was constantly in a state of struggle
with the cross-border Europeans. It adopted all the new tech-
niques developed in Europe to close the technology gap as it
strived to catch up with the contemporary era. The Ottomans
adopted the Europeans’ war techniques and firearm technol-
ogy, as well as their information on geography, medicine, min-
ing, and watch making.
In addition to taking advantage of the technological infor-
mation of their own culture and civilization, the Ottomans
acquired the techniques they lacked from other civilizations.
For example, in the 15th century, Leonardo da Vinci (1452-
1519) wrote to Beyazit II (1481-1512) and referred to several
technical projects. One of them was the Galata Bridge, of
which a model was made from a very small drawing done by
da Vinci (Fig. 14). The drawing shows a plan and an elevation
view of the
bridge, which
has a single span
approximately
240 metres in
length, 23
metres in width,
and a peak
height of 40
metres above
water level. A
unique feature is
the double sup-
port structure at
the head of the bridge, shaped like the tail of a sparrow, for the
purpose of better bearing transversal thrust.
A feature also worth mentioning is the sketch of a masted
ship, smoothly sailing under the central span of the bridge.
The drawing illustrates the construction project of a single-
span bridge over the Bosporus. The idea may be traced back to
when da Vinci was in Romagna, at the service of Cesare Bor-
gia. The sketch was probably done in 1502, the year in which
the ambassador of the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, Beyazid
II, had come to Rome to hire a team of Italian engineers to
replace the old boat bridge on the Golden Horn with a new
one, with a more stable and long-lasting structure. In that
period, da Vinci had come across a single-span bridge at Cas-
tel del Rio in Romagna, built by Andrea Ferrieri from Imola in
1499. The assumption that this could have been a project da
metallurgy
Mining history in Anatolia—Part 3
by A. Akcil, Suleyman Demirel University, Isparta, Turkey
Fig. 13. Claude Alexandre, Comte de
Bonneval (Humbaraji Ahmed Pahsa,
1675-1747).
Fig. 14. A drawing of the Galata Bridge by
Leonardo da Vinci (1502-1503).
Vinci planned to submit to the Sultan seems to be confirmed
by a letter written in Turkish, which appears to be the transla-
tion of the letter in which Leonardo offered his services to the
Ottoman sovereign.
The Ottoman Empire
and the Industrial Revolution
At the beginning of the Middle Ages, water wheels,
which provided power for the flour mills, were also used
with machinery for pumping out underground water in
mines, processing and crushing ores, running the bellows
in metal melting stoves, lifting the iron forging hammer,
installing wires, and operating pounding mills and the saws
in the sawmill. The water power supplied the energy
needed for coal and iron production and the locomotives of
the British industry. It was also used in the textile sector for
the automatic spinning wheels and weaving machines. A
more serious effort began in 1773, with the opening of a
new school of mathematics for the navy. In this and related
projects, the Turks were helped by the Baron de Tott, an
artillery officer of French nationality and Hungarian origin,
who had come to Turkey some years earlier to study Turk-
ish. He helped to form and train new corps of engineers and
artillery, reorganized the gun-foundry, and for the first year
or two, taught rectilinear trigonometry and other subjects
at the school of mathematics. In these tasks he was assisted
by other foreigners, notably a Scottish renegade called
Campbell, who, after his conversion to Islam, was known
by the doubly incongruous name of Ingiliz Mustafa. It was
he who replaced de Tott as chief instructor after the latter’s
return to France in 1775. The nucleus of the student body
was provided by the surviving pupils of the earlier schools,
who were transferred to the new centre, as well as by serv-
ing naval officers.
In his memoirs, de Tott speaks of his white-bearded cap-
tains and 60-year-old pupils. In the following years, the
naval school of mathematics was expanded and developed,
and provided the model for the military, engineering, med-
ical, and other schools set up by Selim III and his succes-
sors. A Venetian priest, Toderini, who was in Istanbul
between 1781 and 1786, found it well equipped with Euro-
pean maps and appliances, with a library of European
books, some with Turkish translations. There were over 50
pupils—sons of captains and Turkish gentlemen. It is to be
noted that in this period, numerous experts and technicians
entered the service of the Ottomans, to benefit from track-
ing the latest developments in Europe concerning the trans-
fer of information and technology. In the l8th century,
artillery batteries were built according to the then extremely
modern system of French architect Vauban (1633-1707),
who specialized in fortifications. These were at the upper
end of the Bosporus to counter any possible danger coming
from the direction of the Black Sea.
The first generation of Ottoman scientists trained by
Europeans, who later taught at engineering schools, had an
impact on the transfer of European technologies to the coun-
try. They were assigned to buy and use the first steam
engines. Two of the first teachers of the Imperial Naval Engi-
neering School, scientists Hüseyin Rıfkı Tamani (d.1816)
and Yahya Naci Efendi, introduced the Industrial Revolution
to the Ottoman Empire at the end of the 18th century. Dur-
ing the same time period, engineer Selim Ag˘a, who was of
English origin, was sent to England on the orders of the Navy
Commander in Chief, Gazi Hüseyin Pasha, to buy pumps
that run on steam power to be used in the construction of the
“big pool” of the Ottoman shipyard and other projects. This
incident, which took place in 1803, was the first known
attempt in Ottoman history to transfer technology from the
European Industrial Revolution.
Not long after, steam engines directly imported from
Europe were being produced in Istanbul by command of the
Sultan, who was looking for ways to manufacture everything
that was manufactured in Europe. The dean of the Imperial
Naval Engineering School, Hafız Ishak Efendi (of Jewish ori-
gin, who had converted to Islam, d.1836), was one of the
most important characters who took part in the introduction
and implementation of modern western sciences in the
Ottoman Empire and in Ottoman educational institutions.
With his industriousness and talent in translating, he wrote
seven works comprised of 11 volumes between 1824 and
1836. The most important of these was the Mecmu-i Ulum-ı
Riyaziye (on the mathematical sciences), made up of four
volumes, written in Turkish, on natural sciences such as
mathematics, physics, chemistry, astronomy, biology, botany,
zoology, and mineralogy. It derives its significance in being
the first book of its kind.
Ishak Efendi also wrote books on a wide range of military
techniques such as the fabrication of cannon balls, geodesic
devices, and fortification. His article on mechanics and
hydraulics has not been examined until now. The State had
set up large industrial enterprises, such as the Zeytinburnu
iron factory, the Beykoz leather factory, specifically bearing in
mind the necessities of the military, whereas there was almost
no Industrial Revolution in Turkey during the Ottoman era.
Modern Turkey
Education and training in mechanical engineering started
at the Imperial Naval Engineering School, which formed the
base of today’s Istanbul Technical University (ITU). After the
re-arrangement of the Naval School, the period of education
became eight years, four of which were high school, two the
Military Academy, and another two training at sea. After
completion of the Military Academy, students graduated
with the rank of lieutenant engineers. Starting in 1866, the
steam (machine) class was opened in addition to the exist-
metallurgy
102 CIM Magazine Vol.1, N° 3
May 2006 103
ing deck and construction classes, which were classified as
war classes. Those that graduated from the Naval School’s
steam (machine) class in 1870 became deck, construction,
and mechanical engineers. Those who attended the Military
Academy were not actually mechanical engineers but ship
machine operating engineers.
Ahmed (Besim) Efendi Pasha (1828-1850) was chief
engineer at the Imperial Shipyard in 1873, and served in
this position until 1909. During this period, he designed
steam machines that were mounted on various ships. Until
1926, there was no school other than the Naval School that
provided training and education in mechanical and electri-
cal engineering. During this period, there were a few
mechanical and electrical engineers who were educated in
various European countries. After the establishment of the
Republic of Turkey, students were sent to European coun-
tries for education in engineering and, at the same time,
schools in the required engineering branches (mechanical,
electrical, and mining) were opened. The Ottomans who
worked with the hope of closing the gap in technology
with Europe during the Industrial Revolution and regain-
ing their leading position could never catch up.
Istanbul Technical University was established in 1773
during Sultan Mustafa III’s reign. With its original name
“Muhendishane-i Bahr-i Humayun,” the Royal School of
Naval Engineering’s responsibility was to educate chart
masters and ship builders. In 1795, the “Muhendishane-i
Berr-i Humayun,” otherwise known as the Royal School of
Military Engineering, was established to educate the army’s
technical staff. In 1847, education in the field of architec-
ture was also introduced. Established in 1883, the School of
Civil Engineering assumed the name Engineering Academy,
with the aim of teaching essential skills needed in planning
and implementing the country’s new infrastructure proj-
ects. Gaining university status in 1928, the Engineering
Academy continued to provide education in the fields of
engineering and architecture until it was incorporated into
ITU in 1944.
Since its inception and foundation under Ottoman rule
and in the latter era of the Republic of Turkey, ITU has con-
stantly led the way in reform movements. The efforts and
expertise of ITU graduates have been major contributors to
the planning and construction of Turkey’s roads, bridges,
dams, factories, buildings, energy plants, communication
networks, villages, and cities. The Mining Engineering
Department was founded in 1953 and teaching began, with
cooperation from various German and Austrian universi-
ties. Professors Fritzsche, F. Schumacher, H. Wöhbler, R.
Engel, E. Bierbrauer, F. Mohr, and C. Orel were the first aca-
demic staff appointed as part-time lecturers from foreign
universities. From Turkey, Professor C. Biron, T.C. Bayrak-
tar, S. Saltoglu, N. Bilgin, and G. Onal have been heads of
metallurgy
the mining engineering department. As of 2005, there are
about 18 mining engineering departments in Turkey.
Under the nationalization policy, the Institute of Mineral
Research and Exploration joined with Etibank in 1935. The
mining sector was encouraged and heavy industries were set;
for example, the Karabük iron and steel factories. Many oper-
ational mines had been nationalized after 1933. In parallel to
the country’s encouraging political, as well as socio-cultural,
development between the 1960s and the 1970s, a set of indus-
trialization policies were established. In line with these, Ísk-
enderun and Erdemir iron and steel, Seyds¸ehir aluminium,
Bandırma borax and acid boric, Antalya ferro-chrome, Black
Sea copper plants, Samsun blister copper, Çinkur zinc and
lead, and Kümas¸ magnesite factories were all founded.
Despite the operational difficulties that public mining had fol-
lowing the 1980s, some significant advances were made in
areas like ceramics, glass, cement, and industrial raw materi-
als, where the private sector companies had been operating.
Gold mining continued in many regions. During the first
years of the Republic, Atatürk granted the first official min-
ing authority to the Directorate of Turkish Gold Explo-
ration and Operation in 1933. In 1985, following the issue
of the law concerning the encouragement of foreign invest-
ment in Turkey, some multi-national mining companies
were attracted to the rich mineral reserves. Apart from
investments in copper, lead, zinc, and industrial minerals,
there had also been some positive developments in mining
as a result of the encouraging findings gold in Anatolia.
Acknowledgments
The author would like to thank Fathi Habashi and Salim
Ayduz for their contributions and collaborations. The
author also thanks Uluc Gencer for photographing of the
Ottoman cannons.
Suggested Readings
AKCIL, A., 2002. First application of cyanidation process in
Turkish gold mining and its environmental protection. Min-
erals Engineering, 15, p. 695-699.
BAYCIN, N., 2003. In war and peace “The Urartians.” Skylife
Magazine, 245, p. 106-116.
BIR, A. and KACAR, M., 2003. Ottomans in search of machin-
ery. http://www.turkishtime.org, August-September issue (3).
LEWIS, B., 1961. The Impact of the West. Oxford University
Press, England, p. 40-72.
NATIONAL MUSEUM OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY,
2004. Available at: http://www.museoscienza.org.
YENER, K.A., GECKINLI, E., and OZBAL, H., 1994. A brief
survey of Anatolian metallurgy prior to 500 BC. Archaeome-
try, p. 375-391.
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