Capitulations were agreements made between European powers and the Ottoman Empire throughout the 16th to 19th centuries. These agreements granted significant concessions and privileges to European merchants and diplomats operating within the Ottoman Empire. Capitulations allowed Europeans to conduct trade, establish consulates, and gain extraterritorial rights, meaning they were subject to their own laws and not those of the Ottoman Empire.
The capitulations were initially established as a way to foster economic and political relationships between the Ottoman Empire and European powers. However, over time, they became a source of contention and exploitation as European powers used their privileged status to gain more control and influence in the region. This unequal relationship led to resentment among Ottoman officials and was seen as contributing to the decline of the Ottoman Empire.
The capitulations played a significant role in shaping the economic and political landscape of the Ottoman Empire and the wider Middle East. They allowed European powers to gain a foothold in the region and exert influence over Ottoman affairs. The impact of the capitulations continued to be felt long after they were formally abolished in the early 20th century, as they left a legacy of colonialism and foreign intervention in the Middle East.