commerce and colonisation - göteborgs universitet ?· to my family. abstract commerce and...

Download CommerCe and Colonisation - Göteborgs universitet ?· to my family. abstraCt Commerce and Colonisation:…

Post on 08-Sep-2018

212 views

Category:

Documents

0 download

Embed Size (px)

TRANSCRIPT

  • CommerCe and Colonisation

  • Commerce and Colonisation

    studies of early modern merchant Capitalism in the atlantic economy

    Klas rnnbck

    GothenburG studies in eConomiC history 3

  • GothenburG studies in eConomiC history replaces the former series under the title Meddelanden frn Ekonomisk-historiska institutionen, Handelshgskolan vid Gteborgs universitet.

    Klas rnnbck 2009Proofreading: seven G translations, newcastle upon tyne (except for chapter 3, by sven borei, transfrlag, lerum)Cover design: siri reuterstrand

    isbn 978-91-86217-02-0Published by department of economic history, school of business, economics and law, university of GothenburgPrinted by Geson hylte tryck, Gteborg 2009

    distributiondepart of economic historyschool of business, economics and lawuniversity of GothenburgP.o. box 720, se 405 30 Gteborg, swedenwww.econhist.gu.se

    Full text electronic issuewww.econhist.gu.se

  • to my family

  • abstraCt

    Commerce and Colonisation: studies of early modern merchant Capitalism in the atlantic economy.Gothenburg studies in economic history 3 (2009)isbn 978-91-86217-02-0

    author: Klas rnnbck

    doctoral dissertation at the department of economic history, school of business, econom-ics and law, university of Gothenburg, box 720, se 405 30 Gteborg, sweden. (Written in english.)

    distribution: department of economic history (address as above).

    this dissertation consists of four chapters which study early modern merchant capitalism, with a special focus upon the developing atlantic economy. the introductory chapter is followed by chapter 2, studying the issue of market integration and price convergence in interconti-nental trade during the early modern period. Previously, scholars have claimed that there is no evidence of price convergence prior to the 1820s. this chapter on the contrary finds that there is ample evidence of this for most of the commodities studied. the issue of an early modern globalisation can thus not be dismissed as easily as it often has been in the past.

    Chapter 3 studies the profits to be made from colonialism for various agents in europe. Previ-ous research on britain has shown that while individual merchants and planters might have gained from colonialism, the british state and consumers had to pay much of the bill. the chapter con-trasts previous studies by looking at the danish colonies in the West indies. the conclusion is that, in contrast to the british case, all danish agents were able to profit from colonialism in the West indies. the danish case may thus put the british experience into perspective.

    Chapter 4 focuses upon the balance of payments for trade on the baltic. Common know-ledge has it that key baltic exports were largely paid for in bullion during the early modern pe-riod. the importance of colonial goods has however been underestimated in previous research. by the late 18th century, the chapter finds, just the sugar re-exported from Western europe to the baltic was worth approximately half the value of the grain exported in the opposite direc-tion. the chapter concludes that re-exports of colonial goods increasingly made a positive con-tribution to the balance of payments for baltic trade by Western european nations.

    Chapter 5, finally, studies the trade in colonial goods on the baltic from the perspective of environmental economic history. the baltic was for a long period of time a net exporter of acre-age, in the form of bulk commodities such as grain and forestry products. this chapter shows that increasing imports of colonial commodities required a growing amount of overseas ghost acreage. the trade, this chapter concludes, may however be explained less by an american abundance of land, than by the low price of enslaved labour in the americas.

    KeyWords: globalisation, market integration, price convergence, colonial goods, international trade, imperialism, colonialism, Williams thesis, slavery, sugar, balance of payments, atlantic economy, the baltic, ghost acreage.

  • acknowledgements

    Writing this dissertation has required the help and assistance of a wide range of people. the author would like to thank the staff of several archives and libraries collectively: in particular the staffs at the library of the university of Gothenburg, the national archive in sweden, the royal Court archive in sweden, the national archive in denmark, the archive of the danish mariti-me museum at Kronborg and the library at the london school of economics. Without your work, none of this research would have been possible at all.

    a very special thank you goes to leos mller for your enthusiasm, encou-ragement and constructive ideas for my project, right from the start. ulla s-derberg believed in me and encouraged me to write a dissertation many years before i ever thought of doing so myself. thank you for that encouragement, during all those long and interesting discussions.

    a sincere thank you to my two supervisors: to staffan Granr, always very supportive and extremely generous both with time and highly insightful ideas, and to Carl-Johan Gadd, for keeping a close eye on many of the details of my work. during the later phase of my work, Christer lundh also contributed with constructive ideas for improving the dissertation thank you for that.

    Gran rydn contributed many valuable ideas and different viewpoints on drafts of the whole dissertation during the final seminar prior to finalising the dissertation. many others have read separate articles or drafts of artic-les, and contributed with many a constructive comment: svante Prado, Jan bohlin, astrid Kander, oskar broberg, stefan berg, holger Weiss, hans Christian Johansen, ricardo Grinspun, and a couple of anonymous referees for the articles previously published in academic journals. thank you all for your important contributions. several of the papers have also been presented in draft form at different conferences: a collective thank you to all the people who on such occasions have contributed ideas and criticisms that have im-proved and propelled the work forward.

    the research undertaken in distant archives would not have been possible without the economic support provided by a grant from Helge Ax:son Johnsons stiftelse. Jan Wallanders och Tom Hedelius stiftelse provided a grant enabling the author to stay as a visiting research student at the london school of econo-mics for a period of time. sverker Jonsson also provided departmental funding to make it possible for me to participate in a number of international conferences and workshops, presenting draft versions of the articles in this thesis. Stiftelsen Konung Gustav VI Adolfs fond fr svensk kultur finally provided a grant enab-ling the inclusion of several pictures in the printed dissertation. thank you for those generous grants. i also want to thank oliver Volckart for his work as a mentor during my stay as a visiting research student at the lse.

  • two of the chapters in the thesis have previously been published, or are due to be published, as articles in academic journals integration of glo-bal commodity markets in the early-modern era in European Review of Economic History (2009:1) and Who stood to gain from colonialism? in Itinerario (forthcoming). the author would like to thank these journals for their kind permission to republish these articles in the thesis.

    the most important contribution throughout the work on this dissertation has however come from irene elmerot: mere words are not enough to express the value of your contribution. always a pillar to lean on in times of need. Nyry b lmt.

    london, november 2009

  • table of contentsintroduction .........................................................................................17

    1.1. no sugar, no slaves ..........................................................................................171.2. General research questions .............................................................................191.3. Global history ..................................................................................................191.4. Globalisation ....................................................................................................201.5. the Great divergence ......................................................................................211.6. Colonialism ......................................................................................................231.7. research design ...............................................................................................271.8. When did globalisation begin? ........................................................................281.9. Who stood to gain from colonialism? ..............................................................301.10. atlantic sugar in the baltic economy .............................................................321.11. Ghost acreage of baltic imports ....................................................................331.12. General conclusions .......................................................................................35literature ................................................................................................................38

    integration of global commodity markets in the early modern era .....452.1. introduction .....................................................................................................452.2. Previous studies ...............................................................................................46

    2.2.1. definition of globalisation ....................................................................462.2.2. Previous evidence of early modern price dispersion ............................47

    2.3. methods ........................