Genoese trade networks in the southern Iberian peninsula: trade, transmission of technical knowledgeand economic interactions
Porras, Alberto Garcıa and Garcıa, Adela Fabregas (Departamento de Historia Medieval y Ciencias y Te ́cnicas Historiogra ́ficas, Universidad de Granada, Spain)
Mediterranean Historical Review, Vol. 25, No. 1, June (2010)
This paper presents the results of a research project undertaken at the University of Granada, and in collaboration with several European research groups. We aim to investigate the process of interaction and integration between different economic areas in the western Mediterranean during the late Middle Ages. The southeast of the Iberian Peninsula has been analysed as a case study. Genoese merchants were particularly active within this area; they played a key role in connecting diverse trading areas (including Seville, Granada, and Valencia), thanks to their complex trading network. They controlled a wide range of production activities in key places, playing an important role in the transmission of technical know-how, and thereby promoting the reorganization of production activities. This complex process is exemplified by the production of high-quality pottery (regarded as a luxury item).
Recent historical research has brought to light that the economy of western Europe underwent important changes during the late Middle Ages, at a time when new kinds of ‘capitalistic’ economic relationships started to emerge. This transformation took place in different ways and at different times. Thus, when referring to the process and when discussing the topic, historians would talk of a hierarchy of economic areas, implying that certain regions depended upon others.