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Document Details :
Title: Constantinople Confidential
Subtitle: News and Information in the Diary of Jean-Louis Rigo (c.1686-1756), Secretary of the Dutch Embassy in Istanbul
Author(s): BAARS, Rosanne
Volume: 41 Issue: 2 Date: 2014
Over the last decades, the focus of diplomatic history has shifted from political relations to the cultural and social history of diplomacy. New Diplomatic History looks at topics such as rituals, borders, networks and families of diplomats. For this kind of research, Ottoman-European diplomacy has been at the centre of attention. This essay aims to bring to light a unique source, which has never been studied extensively. Jean-Louis Rigo, secretary of the Dutch embassy, kept for a period of nearly thirty years (1727-1744 and 1747-1756) a diary about life and diplomacy in Istanbul. The value of the diary lies in the description of the author’s dealings with news and information. In this essay, I will argue that instead of relying on standard sources for diplomacy such as foreign correspondence, nouvelles and newspapers, the Dutch embassy depended mainly on the local Levantine community and Rigo’s extended patronage networks for diplomatic news.