Connectors between a Polycentric Empire and Global Markets, 1713-1815
Sprache der Bezeichnung:
This project explores the impact of early modern globalization processes on Habsburg Central Europe?s economy in the 18th century by studying its links with the Spanish Empire through the Mediterranean between the Spanish War of Succession and the Congress of Vienna. While historiography has paid much focus on internal market formation, seeing it as either cause for severing regional imbalances or pointing to its deficiencies when identifying factors for obstacles to economic development, this project shifts the perspective to the impact of external trade over the course of the 18th century. Three aspects are of main interest here: First, it will explored to what degree merchants could make use of the changing trade geography in order to improve access of the Habsburg provinces to maritime trade and global markets in the Spanish Mediterranean and Atlantic. Accordingly, the Mediterranean ports of Trieste and Genoa are studied as important nodes between maritime trade and marketplaces in the Habsburg dominions such as Milan, Bolzano, Vienna, Prague or Brody. Merchants and their networks are thus regarded as mediators of commodity flows and connectors of different economic regions, from local and regional marketplaces up to global ones, thus studying the interrelation of retail and wholesale trade. Second, starting from the assumption that the territorial gains the Viennese Court obtained in the aftermath of the Spanish and Polish Wars of Succession in Northern Italy and Flanders, turned the Monarchy into a Polycentric Empire, it will be explored if political rule over vast spaces with a tight implication in international maritime trade improved the Habsburg Central European dominions? access to global markets, by lowering transaction costs as well as making use of institutional synergy effects. Third, the effects of these trade connections on economic change will be assessed, exploring capital accumulation and traders? investment in production and financial services.