Glocal Merchants? Identities and Social Relations of Traders from the Habsburg Monarchy in Cádiz
Sprache des Vortragstitels:
ISECS Congress - 15th International Congress on the Enligthenment, Edinburgh
Sprache des Tagungstitel:
The present paper tries to shed some new light on merchant identities by presenting a study on merchants of the Habsburg Monarchy with its high variety of regions, legal traditions, social structure and institutional settings. Thus, this paper focuses both merchants from ?older? Habsburg regions such as Tyrol and Bohemia as well as from ?new? provinces such as Lombardy and the Austro-Croatian Littoral around Trieste. All these merchants from different regions out-migrated to the Spanish port cities of Cádiz and Barcelona in order to participate in the beneficial long-distance and even colonial trade. While all these merchants from different regions had one legal framework and consular representation in both port cities, their social relations differed quite substantially. By employing an analysis of their geographic origin, social status, business model and, last but not least, their networks, the paper argues that the notion of a Habsburg merchant ?nation? or ?community? is doubtful on the legal-political, the cultural-identity and the social level. Rather than speaking of a community, these merchants derived from highly localised contexts and often from very modest social origins. The paper?s conclusion rests on focusing more the local surrounding and trying to apply the notion of ?glocal?/?glocalisation? to merchant studies: While cosmopolitanism was certainly a character of mobile merchant communities, it is important to stress the local base of early modern traders from modest social surroundings to understand the gradual but dynamic process of a complex bottom-up integration from the local, the regional and the global level ? that was spurred precisely by out-migration from localities in certain Habsburg regions, to other local places, such as Cadiz and Barcelona, where different strands of this glocal and trans-regional economy met.