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HIS109Y1 (520)

Towns, Commerce, and Economic Change

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University of Toronto St. George
Kenneth Bartlett

Towns, Commerce, & Economic Change – th September 24 , 2012 Key Words: -Bardi -Peruzzi -Medici -Fugger -Florin -ducat -Habsburg Intro/Recap: - There had to be some medium of exchange - Once the crusaders came home after seeing the luxury of other places, they wanted the same luxuries in their homes - Sudden expectation that there would be some medium of exchange across the world - New system of keeping track of money to handle the Crusades The Contract: - Individual merchants had to bring a large amount of money with them when they traveled and then bring a lot of goods back, which was very insecure - The Comenda: a contract that allowed capital (money) to be invested in merchants by anyone who had it - A number of merchants realized they could get rich by buying spices in Constantinople and selling them at home, but it was a costly process - People with money (like other, older merchants) bought shares and invested in the young merchants, who were the people who actually went on the dangerous travels - These young merchants learned new languages & saw new cultures - The Comenda was only in place for one voyage at a time - This broke the old model of the close family being the only people that merchants could trust with their money The Beginning of Revolution: - The merchants who stayed in their home cities got richer and richer from the Contract and were knowledgeable from their own business travels around the world when they were young - They began to govern their cities - Social revolution: cities became focused solely on mercantile & economic activity - Cities became an experimental place for new a political model with new principles than that of medieval culture - Merchants didn’t like the knights and wars, which stood in the way of trade - The ‘thugs on horseback’ saw the merchants as pond scum, because only 2 generations before the merchants had been surfs (who then ran away to the cities) - The merchants got rich at the nobles’ expense because nobles could only attain the luxury goods they saw from around the world through the merchants, and the knights didn’t like being in debt to them - Knights saw towns and cities as easy pickings, could take what they wanted when they wanted - Merchants didn’t fit into any previous place in society – this creates tension and then revolution (mercantile revolution of social and political structures) - The accumulation of capital that wasn’t immediately needed was lent to young experimental merchants – this led to the development of banks and contractual relationships Disadvantages: - 1343-1345: the Italian banks became rich because the Crusades brought wealth into the cities - The banks lent money to
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