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Long-Distance Trade And Markets

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Chapter Summary

This chapter considers the impact of changing trans-Saharan patterns of trade on Egyptian specie markets and ultimately on gold prices in western Europe, manifested most dramatically in the gold crisis of the early fifteenth century. Drawing on the rich resources of the Datini archive in Prato, the chapter explores the fourteenth-century trade in Venetian-supplied copper via the Balearics and the Sahara desert to the Western Sudan. Around 1420 Galeazzo, nephew of Alessandro di Filippo, created two companies in the north of Europe, in Bruges and London, both in partnership with Antonio di Francesco. The Borromei Bank Research Project focuses on the activities of the two companies in London and Bruges, from 1436 to 1439 and does so because of the survival in the Borromeo-Arese family archive of two ledgers, one for Bruges for the year 1438 and the other for London for the years 1436 to 1439.

Keywords: Borromei bank; Egyptian specie market; Francesco Datini; Galeazzo; gold crisis; Prato; trans-Saharan trade; Venetian copper trade; western Europe



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