The origins of a Balkan Orthodox merchant class or classes may be traced back to the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. Not until the eighteenth century, however, did it become sufficiently strong in wealth and number to capture the trade of Hungary, South Russia, and the eastern Mediterranean. The eighteenth century was a time of expansion of French, German, English, and Russian trade in the Balkans. It was also a time of growth of the trade of Moslem Albanian and Bosnian merchants. But, in terms of its significance to the cultural, political, and general historical evolution of the Balkan peoples, most important of all was the expansion of the Balkan Orthodox merchant: the Greek trader of Constantinople, Salonika, and Smyrna, the Greek and Orthodox Albanian merchant, sailor, and shipper of the smaller Aegean islands, the Greek, Vlach, and Macedo-Slav muleteer and forwarding agent of Epirus, Thessaly, and Macedonia, the Serbian pig-merchant of Šumadija, the “Illyrian” muleteer and forwarding agent of Herzegovina and Dalmatia, who set up business in Ragusa (Dubrovnik) or Trieste, the “Rascian” of Pannonia, and the Greek or Bulgarian of the eastern Rhodope. The Balkan Orthodox merchants were Ottoman, Habsburg, and Russian subjects, but their principal business was to bring goods into or out of the Ottoman Empire. The area of their primary business concentration stretched north and west of the political limits of the Ottoman Empire to Nezhin in South Russia, Leipzig in Germany, Vienna in Austria, and Livorno and Naples in Italy. In western Europe, they succeeded in creating an area of secondary commercial penetration.