Venice's economic and diplomatic relationship with the Mamluk sultanate dated back to the thirteenth century. It became the Mamluk's main and favorite European trading partner during the fourteenth and the fifteenth centuries. As international trade grew and commercial exchange intensified, Venice concluded treaties with the sultans and obtained privileges for its nationals. These privileges were at least equal and often superior to those adopted in trade among European merchant cities. The Venetian privileges in Egypt and Syria did not mean an agreement between two States, but a concession made by the sultan for a group of foreign traders living on his territories. This concession protected them as far as it recognized them legally, not only granted the protection, but especially gave a legal and social existence to the traders. Regular negotiations became established and embassies were sent to Cairo to protect a climate of good agreement indispensable to the realization of fruitful exchanges between Venice and the East. If the claims of the Venetians did not stop from the thirteenth till the fifteenth centuries and occupied the largest part of treaties with the sultans, it was because they constituted means to exercise a certain pressure on the sultan and to oppose to his commercial policy.
Customs, treaties, Mamluk sultans, Venetian doges, 13th-15th century