The Economic History Review

Cooperating mercantile networks in the early modern Mediterranean 1

Volume 65 Issue 2
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Pages: 701-718Authors: MARIA FUSARO
Published online: July 11, 2011DOI: 10.1111/j.1468-0289.2010.00589.x

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This article outlines the commercial and financial activities of commercial networks active in the ‘Venetian’ eastern Mediterranean between the loss of Cyprus (1571) and the onset of the War of Candia (1645). The goal of the article is to present the results of recent research on early modern Mediterranean trade and finance, drawing attention to some promising areas of investigation that have been overlooked by scholarship and that constitute part of the author’s own work in progress. The central question is: how did traditional Mediterranean networks and trade fare in the age of global expansion? In other words, did Mediterranean trade networks experience an evolution in their structures similar to the rest of the world? An attempt is made to answer this question through an analysis of the activities of Greek, Venetian, and English mercantile and financial networks in the eastern Mediterranean, showing the peculiarities of the interplay between trade and finance that underpinned the economy of the Venetian Stato da Mar. This attempt highlights two phenomena at play within the ‘Venetian Mediterranean’: firstly, that foreign operators began directly financing Venetian imperial administrative structures, and secondly, that the number of Venetian merchants involved in these operations increased as new players entered the financial game.