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In pursuit of the world’s trade: Tuscan and Genoese attempts to enter trans-oceanic trade in the seventeenth century

Dates:
  • Fri 07 Feb 2020 10.00 - 12.30
  Add to Calendar 2020-02-07 10:00 2020-02-07 12:30 Europe/Paris In pursuit of the world’s trade: Tuscan and Genoese attempts to enter trans-oceanic trade in the seventeenth century

In this dissertation, I analyze how two Italian states, the Republic of Genoa and the Grand Duchy of Tuscany, tried to enter trans-oceanic trade in the seventeenth century. Their efforts did not just lead to the drafting of plans and projects, but also to the establishment of joint-stock companies of trade, a trading expedition to Guyana, and to many years of careful diplomatic negotiations, which involved a very broad range of actors. The aim of my work is to study how, in these cases, state structures interacted with the private merchants involved. As I show, overseas expansion was often the result of relatively small coalitions of interests, and their success depended on how easily they could be aligned. In monarchical Tuscany, plans for commercial expansion were mainly promoted by the Medici administration, and their details and goals were relatively little flexible. Either merchants managed to win the support of the Grand Duke, or they could not expect any kind of help from state structures. In republican Genoa, on the other hand, it was easier for small groups of people connected to the ruling aristocracy to influence, up to certain extent, the actions of the state. Even foreign merchants, such as the Dutchmen of Genoa, could access the structures of the Republic. Nevertheless, in the end, plans for a state-led commercial development foundered in both countries. Some Tuscans and Genoese kept on participating in overseas trade, but through small and flexible private networks, rather than as part of a structure sponsored by their home states.

Sala dei Levrieri - Villa Salviati- Castle DD/MM/YYYY
  Sala dei Levrieri - Villa Salviati- Castle

In this dissertation, I analyze how two Italian states, the Republic of Genoa and the Grand Duchy of Tuscany, tried to enter trans-oceanic trade in the seventeenth century. Their efforts did not just lead to the drafting of plans and projects, but also to the establishment of joint-stock companies of trade, a trading expedition to Guyana, and to many years of careful diplomatic negotiations, which involved a very broad range of actors. The aim of my work is to study how, in these cases, state structures interacted with the private merchants involved. As I show, overseas expansion was often the result of relatively small coalitions of interests, and their success depended on how easily they could be aligned. In monarchical Tuscany, plans for commercial expansion were mainly promoted by the Medici administration, and their details and goals were relatively little flexible. Either merchants managed to win the support of the Grand Duke, or they could not expect any kind of help from state structures. In republican Genoa, on the other hand, it was easier for small groups of people connected to the ruling aristocracy to influence, up to certain extent, the actions of the state. Even foreign merchants, such as the Dutchmen of Genoa, could access the structures of the Republic. Nevertheless, in the end, plans for a state-led commercial development foundered in both countries. Some Tuscans and Genoese kept on participating in overseas trade, but through small and flexible private networks, rather than as part of a structure sponsored by their home states.


Location:
Sala dei Levrieri - Villa Salviati- Castle

Affiliation:
Department of History and Civilization

Type:
Thesis defence

Defendant:
Giorgio Tosco (EUI - Department of History and Civilization)

Examiner:
Prof. Regina Grafe
Cátia Antunes (University of Leiden)
Luca Lo Basso (University of Genoa)

Supervisor:
Prof. Luca Molà (EUI - Department of History and Civilization)

Contact:
Miriam Felicia Curci - Send a mail

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