Publication details

Business as usual? Sigismund`s trade privileges for the royal towns of Bohemia

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KAAR Alexandra

Year of publication 2018
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Husitský Tábor
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Keywords Sigismund; trade privileges; Bohemia; Hussites; international trade; salt trade; embargo
Description This study analyses a corpus of approx. 50 charters issued by Sigismund of Luxemburg as King of Bohemia for the royal towns of Bohemia and Moravia that contain stipulations on trade. It argues that these economic stipulations were of considerable significance for the recipients who actively sought the confirmation of old rights or tried to acquire new privileges. Trade privileges therefore constituted a convenient instrument for the king to either reward loyal Catholic followers or to "buy" the recognition of formerly oppositional Hussite towns. Furthermore, the author uses Sigismund`s trade privileges to illustrate the practical limitations of the Catholic embargo on trade and commerce with the Hussite "heretics". The evidence shows that the granting of these trade privileges was overwhelmingly driven by short-term needs rather than by long-term strategy; at times the king even outright counteracted his own embargo. The author therefore concludes that the studied trade privileges indirectly attest to the continuation of international trade within and without the kingdom, even though the circumstances in Hussite Bohemia were theoretically quite unfavourable to such trade.
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