Traffic, Needs, Roads: Perspectives on the Past, Present and Future of Roads in Finland and the Baltic Area, Finnish Road Administration, Helsinki1999, pp. 29-37.
What was the role of Finland in the trade of the Hanseatic League in the Middle Ages? Thisquestion has been widely discussed in Finnish history since 1882, when J.W. Ruuth publishedhis study on the relationship between Finland and the Hanse before 1435. More recently thematter has been studied by Gunvor Kerkkonen, Vilho Niitemaa, Rolf Dencker, Yrjö Kaukiainen and Mika Kallioinen among others. Because of the nature of the availablesources, however, the argumentation has always remained at a very general level and nodetailed study has been made on the organisation of Finnish trade in the Middle Ages and therole of the Hanse in it.
The Hanseatic League originated from loose confraternities of German merchants whopenetrated the Baltic Sea area from the mid-twelfth century onwards. With the help of technical innovations such as the kogg, a vessel capable of carrying large cargoes, they soon took over international trade in the area and established an important role in the exchange of salt, cloth and luxury items for iron, fish, furs, wax and other products. The main flow of tradewas between Russian Novgorod and Lübeck, which the Hanseatic merchants monopolised during the course of the thirteenth century, taking it out of the hands of Scandinavianpeasants. At the beginning of the fourteenth century a transformation in the inner structure of the organisation occurred with the emergence of a community of maritime cities.