With the advent of cities in Europe in the XI-XV centuries. trade revived. It was the cities that formed the local market.
Sometimes the cities were united in trade unions, the most powerful of which became in the XIII-XIV centuries. The Hansa. The Hansa included almost 80 cities of Northern Germany, the Baltic states and the Lower Rhine lands.
In Europe, Transit trade prevailed. It was produced mainly around two large trading areas – the Mediterranean Sea, the Baltic and the North Seas.
In the Mediterranean trade, Spain, South and Central France, Italy, Byzantium, the countries of the East took part. The East traded mainly with luxury goods, spices, wine, grain; West – with fabrics, gold, silver, weapons. They also traded there with slaves.
Trade in medieval Europe was not easy. The existence of the Customs set increased the price of goods, bad roads made it difficult to transport it, feudal robbery increased trade risk. The feudal lords, for example, introduced a custom known from the bitter saying: “What fell from the cart, it’s gone.” When a peasant cart was overturned, or a ship crashed near the shore, the goods were appropriated by the local feudal lord.
Each country had its own monetary unit. Money had to be exchanged. In this regard, a separate profession arose. The money changers also transferred money for a fee, starting with credit operations and Usury. Credit activities, that is, the provision of loans, engaged in special banking offices. The first such offices arose in Lombardy, so in the Middle Ages “Lombards” called bankers and usurers.
The Catholic Church condemned usury, which caused many people to ruin, but was necessary for normal
Hansa is a trade association of cities that controlled trade in the Baltic and North Seas regions.
Transit trade – sale of goods imported from other countries.
Customs duty – payment for the right to trade or for the import and export of goods.
Customs – an institution for collecting customs duties. Money changers are people who exchanged money for a fee or transferred them.
Usury is the provision of cash loans at interest.