Merchants and their hometown : Florentines in Antwerp and the duchy of Florence (ca 1500-1585)
Title: Merchants and their hometown : Florentines in Antwerp and the duchy of Florence (ca 1500-1585)
Author: SCHELLEKENS, Christophe
Citation: Florence : European University Institute, 2018
Series/Number: EUI PhD theses; Department of History and Civilization
This dissertation investigates the ties between Florentine merchants in Antwerp and their hometown in the sixteenth century. It demonstrates that such ties were of great importance to them and are crucial to understand their actions and strategical decisions. Despite being an outdated institution, the Florentine nation in Antwerp remained an important point of reference for the merchant community, and depending on its concrete strategical value it was treated with either indifference or great attention by its home government in Florence. The members of the nation in Antwerp predominantly had a background in the Florentine Office Holding Class, which indicates that social dynamics in Florence resonated in the composition of the community in Antwerp. Apart from the nation, merchants also were guided by their Florentine background in forming their business ties. In their partnerships, they relied strongly on investments from other Florentines, and in Antwerp they largely selected collaborators with a Florentine background. This also goes up on a long-distance level, where a large number of their international contacts were with Florentines in other centers of commerce in Europe. Their ties with their hometown were stronger than has been assessed thus far. Apart from commercial ties with their hometown, Florentine merchants in Antwerp also sought to develop patronage ties with their home ruler, Duke Cosimo I through the provision of various services. As demonstrated by the case of Gaspare Ducci, also merchants that developed strong ties in the Low Countries and settled there, sought to maintain ties with their region of origin. By pointing to the importance of merchants’ hometown, this thesis contributes to debates about the relation between politics and commerce, the relation between informal networks and formal institutions, as well as the explanatory value of diaspora and cross-cultural trade.
Defence date: 10 December 2018; Examining Board: Professor Luca Molà, University of Warwick & EUI (Supervisor) ; Professor Regina Grafe, EUI (second reader) ; Dr. Francesco Guidi-Bruscoli, University of Florence ; Dr. Maartje van Gelder, University of Amsterdam.
Type of Access: embargoedAccess
Preceding version: http://hdl.handle.net/1814/38907
Version: Chapter 1 'The Florentine nation in Antwerp (ca. 1500-1585): the membership and meaning of an institution' of the PhD thesis draws upon an earlier version published as an article 'The Antwerp joyous entry of 1549 : the Florentine-Genoese conflict as a window on the role of a trading nation in political cultural transfers' (2015) in the journal 'Incontri'