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The Austrian Netherlands in the Second Half of the Eighteenth Century: A Cautious Recovery

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Chapter Summary

In many respects the second half of the eighteenth century was a relatively prosperous era for the Southern Netherlands. The Habsburg empress Maria Theresa came to represent an international political climate which afforded the Austrian Netherlands a period of peace and stability. Historians assume that the economy of the Southern Netherlands gradually reoriented during the second half of the eighteenth century. Also, certain key developments in international relations were beneficial for the position of the Austrian Netherlands. It was only in the second half of the eighteenth century that the Habsburg government became capable (aided by several notably bright technocrats) of developing its own trade policy. Great Britain, for example, barred imports of certain textile goods from the Austrian Netherlands. The heterogeneous and constantly evolving reality of international commerce is revealed through the lines of their requests, which, not just for historians, is a merit in itself.

Keywords: Austrian Netherlands; eighteenth century; Habsburg government; international commerce; trade policy



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