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Title: Commerce and experience in the seventeenth-century Mediterranean : the market dynamics, commercial culture and naval protection of English trade to Aleppo
Author: Dickie, Trevor
ISNI:       0000 0001 3423 9309
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 1997
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This thesis has been written to illustrate the experience of commerce and some of the conditions under which it was undertaken by merchants in the seventeenth-century Mediterranean. It is intended for economic historians with an interest in market exchange. In the Introduction, I review the historiography of commerce and, principally, the interaction between centres of international trade in western Europe and other regions of the world. Differences of interpretation turn on the degree to which western European merchants were able to bring to bear the potential advantages they had in capital resources, financial techniques, comparative advantage, economies of scale and commercial information on regional markets as early as the seventeenth century. Drawing on the existing literature, I argue that the interaction between markets was limited by slow communications and market disequilibria caused by inelasticities of supply. Merchants who organized commercial companies sought to overcome the uncertainty and risk that resulted from trading under these conditions. The principal source for the policies of the Levant Company are the Court Books. They provide neither extensive summaries of policy positions nor justifications for them, however, and we must rely on other, supplementary sources to reveal individual motivations and perceptions of commercial requirements. I argue that commercial letters, such as those of Thomas Metcalfe, William Ivatt and another anonymous factor in Aleppo, allow us to investigate the motivations for specific policies and the market conditions under which such policies were undertaken. In the case of Thomas Metcalfe, the qualitative value of the commercial information he provides is reinforced by quantitative information about his holdings. Together these two sets of information allow us to gain an unusually complete insight into the possible range of commercial activity in the market.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: History