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Cities of CommerceThe Institutional Foundations of International Trade in the Low Countries, 1250-1650$
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Oscar Gelderblom

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780691142883

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691142883.001.0001

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Dealing with Losses

Dealing with Losses

(p.169) Chapter 7 Dealing with Losses
Cities of Commerce

Oscar Gelderblom

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines the various ways in which the merchants of the Low Countries dealt with losses from violent assaults. It shows the importance of urban competition, not only for specific groups like the German Hanse, but also for the merchant community at large that used the cities' increasingly sophisticated commodity and financial markets to share, spread, and transfer the commercial risks created by Europe's political and legal fragmentation. The chapter first considers how collective action was used by merchants to discipline rulers, as exemplified by the boycotts of Bruges, mostly by the German Hanse but sometimes also by English and Spanish traders, between 1270 and 1310. It then explores court proceedings and spreading of risks as a means for merchants to deal with losses and to organize compensation.

Keywords:   merchants, Low Countries, losses, urban competition, German Hanse, collective action, boycotts, court proceedings, spreading of risks, compensation

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