Thursday, February 26, 2009

Bremen Piracy and Scottish Periphery

Bremen Piracy and Scottish Periphery: The North Sea World in the 1440s

By David Ditchburn

from: Ships, Guns and Bibles in the North Sea and Baltic States, c.1350-c.1700 (2000)

Bremen and Hamburg were the eyes through which medieval Saxony viewed the North Sea. The two cities were not only the joint centres of a metropolitan archbishopric whose jurisdiction originally stretched across Scandinavia as well as northern Germany; they were also great commercial centres. Hamburg was to play a leading role in that amorphous federation of merchants and towns, the Hansa, which came to dominate the later medieval trade of the Baltic and North Sea worlds. Initially, however, commercial pre-eminence lay with the more westerly of the two towns. Indeed, as early as the eleventh century, the chronicler Adam of Bremen claimed that the merchants of the whole world congregated in Bremen.1 Although such a comment was laced more with local pride than statistical rigour, the city did develop into a bustling port, internationally famous from the thirteenth century for its manufacture of beer, with a population of perhaps 15,000 on the eve of the Black Death.2

via Bremen Piracy and Scottish Periphery.

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