The Daily Business Activities of Orenburg Merchants Trading with Asia in the 19th Century

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Abstract


The article focuses on the work organization and work activities of merchants engaged in trade in the Asian direction during the 19th century. This topic has not yet been subject of special research in previous eras or in modern historiography. The daily business activity of merchants is studied here on the basis of published narratives of participants in the Asian caravan trade, also taking into consideration various articles and periodicals of the 19th century as well as archival documents. Work is conceived of as a special structured area of everyday life. The purpose of this contribution is to identify the specific features of everyday business activity of Orenburg entrepreneurs trading with Asia. The authors identify the main aspects of everyday business activity (behavior, life conditions and mentality), as well as its components: the conditions, motivation, goals, resources, and performed actions. The authors argue that the general circumstances of Asian trade were unfavorable before the 1870s, due not only to natural conditions and climate but also to the merchants' difficult relations with trade and ruling circles in the Central Asian states. The authors determine the complexity of merchant work in the area under study. Every merchant was simultaneously organizer and executor of caravan trade, and also acted as a controlling authority. These activities required the merchant to be independent, responsible, prudent and able to withstand physical hardship and psychological discomfort


About the authors

Elena V. Burlutskaya

Orenburg State Pedagogical University

Author for correspondence.
Email: ida777@yandex.ru
19, Sovetskaya St., Orenburg, 460014, Russia

Doktor Istoricheskikh Nauk [Dr. habil. hist.], Associate Professor, Vice-Rector for Research Management

Konstantin A. Abdrakhmanov

Orenburg State Pedagogical University

Email: kostya.abdrakhmanov@mail.ru
19, Sovetskaya St., Orenburg, 460014, Russia

Kandidat Istoricheskikh Nauk [Ph.D. in History], Senior Lecturer of the Department of Russian History

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