Table of contents
About this book
The economy of Antwerp in the fourteenth, fifteenth and sixteenth centuries had a very special dynamism. It underwent the processes of rise, expansion, maturity and decadence with peculiar intensity. It gave an impressive stimulus to the commercial currents, maritime and contin ental, which converged on the town. It inspired the appearance and growth of new institutions and intensified changes in the social and economic structure. It was the heart of commerce, industry and agricul ture for a large area and particularly of Brabant, Flanders and Zeeland. Moreover Antwerp's economy was an important, and sometimes even the principal, artery of the whole European economy. Antwerp's dynamism was not purely irrational : numerous factors, which a detailed analysis allowed us to ascertain, forced its economic development. The first was le recitatif du cycle to use Braudel's termino logy t. This was however no mere histoire evenementielle. We closely followed the rhythm and even crises of Antwerp's economy, but all these quantitative and qualitative data allowed a comprehensive insight into the interdecennial waves. This permitted a reasonably distant view of the data which made it more possible to observe a logical dynamic. Thus it was not in the first place our purpose to present in this first part a purely documentary report of historical facts. We were rather concerned with the analysis of the factors which determined or influenced the dynamics of the Antwerp market and the economy of the Low Countries.
Expansion crisis economy growth trade