Middle ages. Taryn Wilson. Trading activities in the middle ages.
Middle Ages Trade & Commerce - the Italian StatesThe conquest of Palestine by the Crusaders had first opened all the towns and harbours of this wealthy region to Western traders, and many of them were able permanently to establish themselves there, with all sorts of privileges and exemptions from taxes. The Eastern commerce furnished the first elements of that trading activity which showed itself on the borders of the Mediterranean and the emergence of the republics of Amalfi, Venice, Genoa, and Pisa becoming the rich depots of all maritime trade.
Middle Ages Trade & Commerce - ProductsThe Medieval navigators imported spices, groceries, linen, Egyptian paper, pearls, perfumes, and a thousand other rare and choice articles. In exchange they offered precious metals in bars rather than in coins, and it is probable that at this period they also exported iron, wines, oil, and wax. England prospered during the Middle Ages due to the commerce and trade in the wool which was brought from England.
Middle Ages Trade Centres
Middle Ages Trade CentersMany new products were introduced to Europe during the Middle Ages which came from the Eastern lands which the Crusaders travelled through to reach Jerusalem. Middle Ages Trade and Commerce changed to include different products, especially spices, from Cairo and Alexandria in Egypt, Damascus in Syria, Baghdad & Mosul in Iraq and other great cities which became important commerce and trading centers because of their strategic location, astride the trade routes to India, Persia and the Mediterranean. The products were then carried across the Mediterranean to the Italian seaports and then on to the major towns and cities of Europe.
During the 1100's CE, merchants, artists, bankers, and other professionals grouped themselves together in a business association called guilds. The bankers belonged to the bankers guild. The bakers belonged to the bakers guild. And so on.
Purpose of the Guilds: The purpose of the guilds was to keep each member's territory exclusive. If you were a baker, your guild promised you a certain amount of space before another baker could build a shop. As well, if your shop burned down, the guild would care for you and your family. Guilds also arranged social occasions and festivals for its members.
Guilds in the Middle Ages were associations or groups of craftsmen. Each guild focused on a specific trade such as the candle maker's guild or the tanner's guild. Why were guilds important?Guilds in the Middle Ages played an important role in society. They provided a way for trade skills to be learned and passed down from generation to generation. Members of a guild had the opportunity to rise in society through hard work. The guild protected members in many ways. Members were supported by the guild if they came onto hard times or were sick. They controlled working conditions and hours of work. The guild also prevented non-guild members from selling competitive products. Some guild members were even exempt from paying high taxes from the lords and kings.
Guild PositionsIn each guild in the Middle Ages there were very well defined positions of Apprentice, Journeyman, and Master. Apprentices usually were boys in their teens who signed up with a master for around 7 years. They would work hard for the master during this time in exchange for learning the craft plus food, clothing, and shelter. Once the apprenticeship was complete, he became Journeyman. As a Journeyman, he would still work for a master, but would earn wages for his work. The highest position of the craft was the Master. To become a Master, a Journeyman would need the approval of the guild. He would have to prove his skill, plus play the politics needed to get approval. Once a Master, he could open his own shop and train apprentices.
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