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Cities of Commerce: The Institutional Foundations of International Trade in the Low Countries, 1250-1650

Oscar Gelderblom


This book develops a model of institutional change in European commerce based on urban competition. Cities continuously competed with each other by adapting commercial, legal, and fin ancial institutions to the evolving needs of merchants. The book traces the successive rise of Bruges, Antwerp, and Amsterdam as commercial cities between 1250 and 1650, showing how dominant cities feared being displaced by challengers while lesser ones sought to keep up by cultivating policies favorable to trade. It argues that it was this competitive urban network that promoted open access institutions in the L ... More

Keywords: inclusive institutions, Europe, commerce, urban competition, commercial cities, urban magistrates, international trade, merchants, Low Countries, institutional change

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2013 Print ISBN-13: 9780691142883
Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017 DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691142883.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Oscar Gelderblom, author
Utrecht University