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Commercial revolution

(655 words)

Author(s): Denzel, Markus A.
The term commercial revolution was introduced by Raymond de Roover in 1942 [2]; it is used in studies of economic history for epochal changes relating to the history of trade, when commercial innovations were concentrated in a short space of time, thus triggering an advance in the long-term development of trade. De Roover set the commercial revolution of the Middle Ages in the 13th century, while modern scholars prefer to speak of a period from the late 12th century to the 14th. During the medieval commer…
Date: 2019-10-14

Import

(890 words)

Author(s): Denzel, Markus A.
1. DefinitionImport is the portion of external trade (Trade, external) that involves the transfer of goods from a foreign economic area into one’s own and the related services (warehousing, dispatch, etc.); it is thus complementary to export.Markus A. Denzel2. RestrictionsAn import ban or embargo is a government decree prohibiting (for example) the import of raw materials, foodstuffs, manufactured goods, or luxuries. Such bans have been common since antiquity, especially vis-à-vis hostile nations, but it was not until the era of mercantilism that they became an…
Date: 2019-10-14

Endorsement

(957 words)

Author(s): Denzel, Markus A.
1. Definition and functionAn endorsement is a signature written on the back (Italian, in dosso or in dorso) of a bill of exchange that entitles a person not previously involved in the bill to present it for payment. The endorsement effectively transferred the demand for payment derived from the bill to another person, which the signature written  in dosso confirmed. By means of endorsement, bills of exchange became a circulable form of paper currency. Like the bill of exchange itself (at the latest since the early 15th century), the endorsement devel…
Date: 2019-10-14

Pedlary

(1,292 words)

Author(s): Radeff, Anne | Denzel, Markus A.
1. General“Pedlary is a form of commercial enterprise in which the tradesman goes from place to place outside his own domicile peddling goods he has brought with him (actual pedlary), offering certain commercial services (scissors grinders, tinkers, etc.), or buying up goods (collecting rags, bones, scrap metal)” [1]; cited from [11. 101]. We can distinguish – in towns (town peddlers) and rural areas – so-called “direct peddlers” (German  Selbsthausierer) who sold the products of their own farm or their secondary occupation (Industrial trades and crafts) and “indirect peddlers” (German
Date: 2020-10-06

Dispatch

(810 words)

Author(s): Denzel, Markus A.
The dispatching of goods in the early modern period was always regarded as an integral part of trade, although a distinction may be made between “normal” carriage, simple traffic and transport between two places, and long-distance dispatch (Ger.
Date: 2019-10-14

Currency

(2,375 words)

Author(s): Denzel, Markus A. | Pfister, Ulrich
1. Definition The term currency (from Latin currens, “flowing”) originally meant a condition of fluidity; the figurative sense of “circulation” of money was coined in 1690 by John Locke. The German term Währung (from MHG werunge, “guarantee”) refers to a territory's legal regulation of the monetary system, and, like currency, encompasses the definition of the coinage system (coin standard, establishment of the relative values of different coins and the intrinsic precious metal content), the establishment of legal tender, and ex…
Date: 2019-10-14

Insurance

(3,370 words)

Author(s): Denzel, Markus A. | Pahlow, Louis | Mittag, Jürgen
1. Commercial history 1.1. Definition and historical originsInsurance is the elimination of individual financial risk by distributing it to a community with similar risk. This is done by the payment of individual contributions or premiums into a common fund, the total sum of which is determined by the amount of risk to be covered. The commercial insurance industry facilitates the creation of risk communities, the collection of premiums, and the disbursal of insurance benefits as services. Together with…
Date: 2019-10-14

Fair, annual

(1,349 words)

Author(s): Denzel, Markus A.
1. Introduction An annual fair (German Jahrmarkt), also called kermis, was a market with a regional catchment area, held once or several times a year and thereby distinguished both from the weekly market [9. 147, 149] and from the trade fair, whose focus was wider, even international. Like the trade fair (German  Messe), the annual fair - which took place at a designated marketplace and sometimes had its own specific market area, even its own buildings - was associated with a church festival (dedicated to Christ, Mary, or a saint) and took p…
Date: 2019-10-14

Check

(670 words)

Author(s): North, Michael | Denzel, Markus A.
A check (British Engl. cheque, Fr. chèque) is a written bank deposit instruction by which the signatory commissions his or her bank or a public institution to pay out the amount of money indicated on the check from his account to another person . The development and dissemination of the check was part of the elaboration of cash-freepayment transactions in the late Middle Ages and early modern period. The word check derives etymologically from Ital. scacco (“treasure”), as does Engl. “exchequer,” which in turn goes back to Arab. sakk, a type of payment instruction [1. 555].Deposit instruct…
Date: 2019-10-14

Counting-house

(826 words)

Author(s): Denzel, Markus A.
Date: 2019-10-14

Factory (trading post)

(1,564 words)

Author(s): Denzel, Markus A. | Häberlein, Mark
1. Europe The term  factory was much more common in Europe in the high and late Middle Ages than in the early modern period. The Italian word  fattoria, the etymon of the loanword, first appears in connection with the great Tuscan trading companies of the high Middle Ages; it denoted a fortified outpost or “branch” of a trading company in a foreign commercial center, headed by a factor (Italian  fattore) [6]. The network of factories of the great South German companies (Fugger family; Welser) with permanent offices in the major European commercial centers (Antwerp, Lyon, Lisbon, etc.) and authorized representatives is more clearly identifiable after the second half of the 15th century.The term appears only rarely in 16th-century sources but has been firmly established by research into economic history. In contrast to a “branch system,” in which the branches of a trading company in various places largely operate…
Date: 2019-10-14

Fugger family

(1,091 words)

Author(s): Denzel, Markus A.
1. Rise of the dynasty up to the 16th century The Fuggers of Augsburg were among the most famous of entrepreneurs doing business in the German area in the early modern era. In 1367, Hans Fugger immigrated to Augsburg and set himself up as a fustian weaver and merchant; his son Jakob I. Fugger, founder of the “Fuggers of the lily” branch of the family, was primarily known as a business magnate. Hi…
Date: 2019-10-14

Payment transactions

(2,155 words)

Author(s): Denzel, Markus A.
1. General The term payment transactions refers to the organization of the fulfillment of promises to pay, which customarily are made in the course of commercial transactions. Before the emergence of national payment systems, especially in the course of the development of central banks (see Bank of issue; cf. 4.3. below), payment transactions usually took place directly between individual commercial centers with their own financial services; governmental and political boundaries were irrelevant.Markus A. Denzel2. Payment in kindPayment in kind, that is, payment for a commodity with another (barter), had become an exceptional phenomenon in early modern Europe (in contrast to the period leading up to the commercial revolution of the high Middle Ages, though it was definitely still widespread in certain economically peripheral regions. Especially in rural areas, scarcity of precious metals (money) coupled with (more or less deliberate) avoidance of cashless payment instruments could lead to resort to barter, especially wh…
Date: 2020-10-06

Export

(770 words)

Author(s): Denzel, Markus A.
Export is the portion of external trade that entails the delivering of goods from the home economic zone into another (foreign) one, and the services connected with this process (warehousing, dispatch, etcetera; on the details, see Trade, external).The export of goods was subject to a ra…
Date: 2019-10-14

Customs duties

(1,899 words)

Author(s): Denzel, Markus A.
1. TerminologyThe term  duty
Date: 2019-10-14

Commercial correspondence

(618 words)

Author(s): Denzel, Markus A.
In the 12th and 13th centuries, as a consequence of the commercial revolution economic and trade activity increased sharply, the money economy began to take hold (once more), and new techniques were developed for trade and payment transactions (see Bill of exchange); as a result, the need for communication between merchants increased substantially. Now, however, they no longer communicated primarily orally in the course of personal meetings; with the emergence of the settled counting-house merch…
Date: 2019-10-14

Exchange bank

(817 words)

Author(s): Denzel, Markus A.
1. Denotation Unlike bureaux de change, which already existed in Upper Germany in the late Middle Ages, exchange banks were public clearing- and deposit banks, usually established by a town to function as a clearinghouse with a multilateral system of accounting, in order to better regulate the increasingly common practice of cashless payment transactions. At the same time, by means of the introduction of a currency of accounting (bank currency), exchange banks stabilized the existing cash and curr…
Date: 2019-10-14

Bookkeeping, double-entry

(1,601 words)

Author(s): Denzel, Markus A.
1. Bookkeeping in Antiquity and the Middle Ages Bookkeeping or accounting is probably almost as old as commercial activity itself. In Sumerian Mesopotamia (3rd millennium BCE), commercial transactions were already being recorded on clay tablets. This simple method of bookkeeping, in use since antiquity, served to document completed transactions as a reminder for the trader and as evidence in legal disputes. The Roman Corpus iuris civilis, for example, required the accounts of merchants to be presented publicly in court in case of disputes.Such documentation became especial…
Date: 2019-10-14

Bill of exchange

(2,135 words)

Author(s): Denzel, Markus A. | Löhnig, Martin
1. Economics 1.1. Basics The bill of exchange (Italian lettera di cambio, French letter de change, German Wechsel), “one of the most important achievements in the history of economics” [4], was developed in Italy on the basis of ancient precursors during the Commercial Revolution (12th–14th centuries). In its classic form, dating from the 14th century, it represented an order for payment, in which the maker (drawer) of the bill instructed the drawee (acceptor) to clear a debt elsewhere for a beneficiary or bearer in his pl…
Date: 2019-10-14

Geld/Geldwirtschaft/Geldtheorie

(2,334 words)

Author(s): Denzel, Markus A. (Göttingen) RWG
Denzel, Markus A. (Göttingen) RWG [English version] A. Einleitung (RWG) Die sich seit dem 7. Jh. v. Chr. entwickelnden Geldformen aus Edelmetallstücken, deren Wert vom Herrscher oder vom Gemeinwesen garantiert war, und ihre zunehmend dominierende Bed. im Wirtschaftsgeschehen der Mittelmeerwelt leiteten die Zurückdrängung des wesentlich älteren Warengeldes in allen seinen Facetten (Stein-, Ring- und Zahn-, Schmuck-, Kleider-, Nutzgeld sowie ungeformtes und geformtes Metallgeld) ein. Im Weltreich Alexanders…
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