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  • Ecole
  • European Institute
  • Ferrara
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  • Heidelberg
  • iue
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Merchant Networks



Mapa Cádiz 3


Merchant networks in the Mediterranean and the Atlantic

Marie Curie Actions Intra-European Fellowship (IEF)

Acronym: Merchant Networks


February 1st, 2013 – January 31st, 2015


The research project addresses the integration of continental European regions into global exchange processes by studying the Habsburg Monarchy’s trade with Spain in the 18th century. Thereby, a recent research trend that explores the entanglement of so called “landlocked” Central European territories with the Mediterranean and Atlantic world is applied to the external trade history of the Habsburg territories. Their external trade has been rather neglected so far by a historiography which conceived commercial relations as linear and bilateral and hereby reproduced the discourse of the political economy of the 19th and 20th century nation state. These shortcomings have a specific relevance in the case of Habsburg Central Europe, where a genuine merchant bourgeoisie involved in long-distance trade was weak developed until the late 18th century. Therefore, instead of studying one merchant community, trans-national networks composed by Milanese, Austrian, Flemish, Jewish and Greek traders among others acted as intermediaries of the commercial links with the Spanish Empire from the first commercial agreement between the two Monarchies in 1725 until the Congress of Vienna. These merchant groups and their networks connecting the two Monarchies with each other are studied at the following port cities: the Habsburg Adriatic harbor Trieste, Tuscany’s intermediary trade center Livorno that was dynastically tied to the Imperial Court in Vienna from 1737, Barcelona and Cádiz, the latter being the main hub between Spanish-Habsburg and Latin American colonial trade. Additionally, also Genoa will be taken in to account. The mercantile interactions have to be seen in the context of the different development paths both economies took in the course of the 18th century, that marked a profound transformation of the European economy, most visible with the industrialization of Great Britain from the 1780s onwards.




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