Report of the 8th Research Seminar on International Trade History


Date: November 6, 1999 (Sat.)

Place: Bungakubu Conference Room, Kyoto Prefectural University


The main program consisted of the two following lectures:

KAMENAGA Yoko: "The Genoese in the Medieval Black Sea: Studies and Sources" TANIZAWA Takeshi: "International Trade of Leipzig in Early Modern Ages"

Following the lectures, there was a lively question and answer session on problems such as the critical interpretation of statistical data. Although the two reports presented were not directly related to the Islamic world, they presented the seminar with valuable opportunities to study trade in the "peripheries" of the Islamic world, since the activities of Genoese colonial cities preceded Ottoman rule over the Black Sea and Leipzig fairs were linked to Ottoman markets via central and eastern Europe.

c) Participants: 19 research seminar members, 1 registered IAS member

d)Summary of KAMENAGA's Report:

This report cited the problems of finding sources on and studying the Genoese advancement into the Black Sea. KAMENAGA began by explaining the circumstances that led to her interest in this area of study, also discussing the role of trends in the study of Genoese history. She then described the distinctive features of Chios, Pera and Caffa, the three major bases for Genoese expansion into the Black Sea and Mediterranean Sea. KAMENAGA focused further on the Black Sea, describing the distinguishing features of the three main regions of Genoese advancement: the northern Black Sea including the Crimean Peninsula, the southern Black Sea and the Danube River basin.

KAMENAGA then discussed research trends on the subject from the latter half of the 19th century to the present. In the past, leading researchers on this theme have come from a variety of countries, including France, Germany, Russia and Romania. Native Genoese researchers had not always think highly of these studies. Nevertheless, despite discrepancies in the amounts published by each side, they are now undertaking more collaborative research, and differences in the directions of their studies are gradually disappearing.

KAMENAGA next discussed several points regarding research on the Genoese in the Black Sea: the problem of critically evaluating sources, historical changes in sources, the validity and convenience of sources, the history of the Genoese city-state, descriptions of the Black Sea advancement as found in historical representations of the Genoese, and Mediterranean history as a framework for these events. She also discussed the region surrounding the Black Sea as a multi-ethnic meeting point of Eastern and Western civilizations, also talking about Genoese elements evident in the Black Sea regions and regional transformation through Ottoman rule.


e) Summary of TANIZAWA 's Report:

The trade fairs of Leipzig have played a significant role in the history of commerce. For this reason, it is essential to ascertain the actual state of trade centering around the Leipzig fair when studying commerce in modern Germany and when studying international commerce, especially east-west trade, in the European inland. Nevertheless, there has been no coherent study done in Japan on the commercial history of Leipzig. In view of this, this report examined 16th century Leipzig commerce, mainly the development of the fair and its transactions, based on a re-organization of German research to date.

TANIZAWA first introduced basic classical and recent literature on Leipzig's commercial history, focusing on the trade fair. The growth of commerce in Leipzig was then discussed, focusing on the acquisition of charters for the fair, but also touching upon factors such as the growth of mining and manufacturing, the acceptance of immigrants, and the decline of the Hansa. TANIZAWA followed this with an examination of transactions at the fair, focusing on the transportation of merchandise to the fair and the types of merchandise sold there. TANIZAWA also pointed out that the principal goods traded had probably shifted from minerals to textiles from the first half to the second half of the 16th century. Lastly, in order to explain the expansive commercial network from Leipzig, TANIZAWA first pointed out that western Europe had had economic relations with Rhein-Nederland and strong ties with South Germany, centering on Nuremberg, as revealed by a study of the native lands of immigrants.

Following this, TANIZAWA pointed out that Leipzig had functioned as a broad metropolis of commerce in central and eastern Europe, as can be seen by examining the police records of vehicles passing through Eilenburg (a city situated in the east of Leipzig). This report studied commerce in early modern Leipzig as represented by the trade fair. It also revealed part of the significance of Leipzig's role in European international commerce.

(By FUKASAWA Katsumi)