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Migration from the mountain areas of pre-industrial Europe has been seen as the product of poverty. While hardship controlled the strategies of the more marginalized households, better placed families used their migration experience to establish themselves in commerce. Over generations they used contacts and kinship systems to develop important informal trading networks. It is difficult to establish the effects of this hidden activity on local mountain economies, but dowry payments and post mortem inventories are used to expose the impact of inflowing capital and its circulation.