Trade and craft were the economic basis of medieval cities. For a large part of the population this was the main occupation.
In the XI-XV centuries. foreign, as well as transit, trade, which concentrated primarily in the two main European regions, developed significantly. One was the area of the Mediterranean, where the trade routes that linked Spain, South and Central France and Italy to each other, as well as Byzantium and the countries of the East, were crossing. The palm of the championship here belonged to the merchants of Genoa and Venice. Western Europe supplied woolen fabrics, weapons, gold, and silver to the eastern countries. From the east to Europe, a wide stream of luxury goods, wine, spices, grain, sugar.
Another trading area covered the Baltic and North Seas. It included North-Western Russia, Poland, Eastern Baltic States, Northern Germany, Scandinavian countries, Flanders, Brabant, Northern Netherlands, Northern France and England. From Novgorod came
the fur, flax, wax, lard. Scandinavian countries supplied wood, iron, copper, fish. From England brought wool, Northern France wine, Flanders – multi-colored cloth, Northern Germany – salt, grain, etc.
In trade on the Baltic and North Seas, cities played an important role, united in a union called the Hansa. It was created in the middle of the XIII century. merchants of German cities. The center of this union was the city of Lübeck. At different times, the union consisted of 50-60 to 100 cities. Hanseatic merchants engaged mainly in intermediary trade, transporting and selling goods on the markets of different European countries. Gradually Hansa established its monopoly in trade between the Netherlands, England, Scandinavian countries and Russia. She allowed herself to intervene in the interests of European politics. For example, in 1367 the trade interests of the Hansa and the Danish king crossed. Denmark was declared war. The Hansa has won and even won the right to vote when electing the new King of Denmark.
In the era of the Middle Ages there were also associations of merchants predominantly
of one city. They were called Guilds. In the guild as at the introduction it was necessary to make a monetary contribution and treat its members. The guild had a charter, it was headed by the sergeant-major. The union of merchants was motivated by the desire to approve the monopoly of trade in their city only for members of the guild. In addition, they pledged to protect each other during trade travel.
A serious obstacle to trade was the poor condition of roads. In addition, each feudal lord and every city commune collected the Duty from the merchant passing through their territory. The fee was also paid when crossing the bridge, reloading goods in the harbor, selling them on the market and the like. Goods from a ship thrown ashore during a storm, became the property of the owner of the land. Sometimes feudal lords purposely exposed fake signals, so that ships would crash. However, the number of merchants increased.
Fairs were held in the centers of international trade. In the XIII century. The Champagne fairs were especially famous, where merchants from all countries gathered. In Germany, important fairs were held in Leipzig and Frankfurt am Main. In the XV century. the center of the European trade fair was the city of Bruges in Flanders.
The growth of trade was hampered by a weak development of the financial system, a large number of different monetary units and a low quality of coins. In this connection, the Mejaly played a big role, exchanging the money brought by the merchants to those that were in circulation in a particular country. The merchant paid a certain amount of money to change his hometown, received a document that showed the money changer at the place of destination and received the right amount of local money. So there was a Bill Replacing cash.
XI century. The robbery of the merchant by the feudal lords
I, Landrik Tolstoy… some merchants from Langr when they walked through my land, seized and took their goods from them, but after the persuasions of the bishop of Langrus and the elders of the Klyonians, only a part of it was detained, the rest returned to the named merchants… and concluded with them an agreement so that in the future they would pay me tribute every year and walk freely about my land. And this sin gave rise to another sin – from all who pass through my land in trade or in a pilgrimage, I began to exact the fees, which in the common people are called duties.
Over time, I changed a lot of money. They began to lend them on condition that they return a half or two more injury from the borrowed amount. Such a money-changer began to be called the Percenters. Credit and usurious transactions led to the creation of special Banking offices. The first such offices appeared in Lombardy. Hence the origin of the word “pawnshop”. To facilitate the work of merchants and their trading agents, all banking operations began to be documented.
The new sphere is also acquired by the production sphere. This manifested itself in the fact that the merchant bought raw materials, distributed it to artisans, and then bought up ready-made products for sale. Such artisans subsequently did not differ much from hired workers. This kind of activity led to the creation of the first enterprises of the capitalist type, called scattered Manufactories.
Bill – a written order of one person to another to pay a third person a certain amount in the city specified in the document.
Lombard is a credit institution that provides loans to the population at a certain percentage on the security of valuable things; accepts for payment for storage of household items.
Manufacture is a production characterized by the division of the pile between wage-workers on the basis of manual craftsmanship.