IMC 2015: Sessions

Session 726: Merchants and Their Political Influence

Tuesday 7 July 2015, 14.15-15.45

Moderator/Chair:Gary Baker, Faculty of Humanities, University of Southampton
Paper 726-aLoans from Bristol and Norwich to the King, 1307-1351
(Language: English)
Robin McCallum, School of History & Anthropology, Queen's University Belfast
Index terms: Economics - General, Economics - Urban
Paper 726-bThe Merchant Adventurers of England and the Hanseatic League: A Competition for Legitimacy
(Language: English)
Eric Kirby, Department of Management, Texas State University
Susan Kirby, Department of Management, Texas State University
Index terms: Administration, Economics - Trade
Paper 726-cTrade and Social Networks among Jewish Genizah Merchants
(Language: English)
Juni Hoppe, Faculty of Divinity, University of Cambridge
Index terms: Economics - Trade, Islamic and Arabic Studies, Social History

Paper -a:
Following the collapse of the Italian banks in the 1330s, Edward III turned to urban merchants such as William de la Pole, Walter Chiriton, and John Wesenham in order to finance the Hundred Years War. This paper examines the loans which the leading merchants of Bristol and Norwich advanced to the king in the 1340s. Who were these wealthy individuals, what was the value of the loans, and were they repaid by the king? A prosopographical account of the merchants reveals that many of them were employed as royal officials in their town. The existing historiography has focused on the loans which were advanced to the king in the 1340s. This paper reveals that Norwich also provided a number of loans during the 1310s and 1320s to support the war with Scotland.

Paper -b:
The Merchant Adventurers of England was a group of English merchants engaged in the cloth trade with the Netherlands, whereas the Hanseatic League was a commercial federation of guilds and cities that dominated trade in the Baltic region. Both organizations flourished and periodically dominated trade for approximately 400-500 years. During the late Middle Ages, the Adventurers and the Hanse engaged in strong competition with one another, especially in Low Countries. Using competitive analysis techniques, this paper analyzes the strategies and tactics of the two organizations as they sought to gain legitimacy and a competitive advantage over trade in the region.

Paper -c:
Economic historians claim that a group of Jewish merchants in the 11th-century Mediterranean successfully implemented a coalition system where international trade was conducted entirely based on trust and reputation without using formal legal contracts as enforcement and control instruments.

This paper presents the outcome of a social analysis of the medieval Jewish merchants in the Mediterranean, based on a study of primary evidence, the Cairo Genizah documents, which contain not only the original business correspondence but also reflect the merchants’ social life within the Jewish community and Fatimid government.