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Baltic Connections: Changing Patterns in Seaborne Trade, C. 1450–1800

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Chapter Summary

Starting with the rise and fall of the German Hanse, the dynamics of the Baltic system is elaborated by analysing the advance of the Dutch in the Baltic and the emergence of new powers in the eastern Baltic. The application of mercantilist policies in the Baltic region and the outcomes of the Great Nordic Wars explain the changing relations between the seaborne nations in and beyond the Baltic. The successful linkage of sea, river and land routes is one of the reasons for the prolonged existence of the Hanseatic trading system. The Sound Toll registers show that a second Dutch advance in the Baltic was taking place in the 1590s as Dutch trade in Mediterranean and colonial wares started to eclipse that of Hamburg and Lübeck. The Great Nordic Wars contributed to a dramatic shift in the balance of Baltic trade.

Keywords: Baltic system; colonial wares; German Hanse; Great Nordic Wars; Hanseatic trading system; mercantilist policies; seaborne trade; Sound Toll

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