This paper explores the emergence of a business culture among merchants and entrepreneurs in the Ionian Islands during the period of British rule (1815-1864). New forms of business organisation (the joint-stock company), and novel commercial practices, such as advertising, represent examples of institutional but also cultural change. The petitions of merchants, submitted to the central administration, demonstrate the specific strategies used to pursue commercial interests. The changes introduced during the period of British rule, continuing long-established relations with western economic powers, and the existence of a multi-cultural business world in the port towns of the islands advanced the business opportunities for the merchants resident there (foreigners or nationals) but also advanced the integration of the Ionian Islands to the wider Mediterranean and world market. The Ionian Islands case provides an opportunity to look at the formation of networks and institutions through the articulation and promotion of interests by merchants. The paper proceeds as follows; theoretical and historiographical influences are acknowledged and clarified first while the aspects of institutional change and the new forms of business organisation are presented afterwards. These are followed by examples of petitions submitted by merchants on commercial issues, and some attempts to draw conclusions and generalise from the Ionian case are made at the end
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