Stouff L. (1969) Meat consumption in 15th century Provence

March 9, 2008

Stouff Louis (1969) “La viande. Ravitaillement et consommation à Carpentras au XVe siècle”, Annales. Histoire, Sciences Sociales, 24/6, 1431-1448.


Historians have shown that despite the image of the Middle Ages as a time of constant hunger, some regions at some periods avaided famine and even manage to feed their population regularly with meat. Germany in the 14th and 15th centuries for instance was under-populated, the best way to use the Wüstungen (deserted lands) was to have cattle grazing on them (in many places consumption close to 100kg per caput per year). This guaranteed a steady supply of meat. During the 16th century, on the other hand, inflation and demographic growth diminished the access the lower strata of the population had to a meat-based-diet. Read the rest of this entry »

Margairaz D (1986) Networks of fairs in 18th-century France

February 10, 2008

Margairaz Dominique (1986) “La formation du réseau des foires et des marchés : stratégies, pratiques et idéologie”, Annales. Histoire, Sciences Sociales, 1215-1242.

This article is available online.


Including space in the models developed by the economists is something relatively new. Each good, service and factor has its own geography which may have nothing to do with administrative frontiers (1215). The question of supply and demand can be enriched by issues regarding space and the actors involved. The understanding in 18th century France (Gournay, Turgot, Necker) that failures of the demand or the supply can lead to catastrophes, triggered interest for trade (the liberty of the grain trade being one of the most important political battles of the 18th century in the kingdom). Space was an essential problem that policymakers of the time tackled by constructing roads, waterways and by redefining the administrative division of the French territory (1216). Read the rest of this entry »

Pourchasse P. (2006) French, Swedish and Danish consuls in 18th-century Europe

February 3, 2008

Pourchasse Pierrick (2006) “Les consulats, un service essentiel pour le monde négociant: une approche comparative entre la France et la Scandinavie”, in Ulbert Jörg and Le Bouëdec dir., La fonction consulaire à l’époque moderne. L’affirmation d’une institution économique et politique (1500-1700), Rennes: Presses Universitaires de Rennes, 191-209.


In the extremely slow early modern economy, having a good network to carry information as quickly as possible meant being competitive. Prices varied a lot from one place to the other, being informed on time meant one’s success or one’s ruin. During the 18th century, French merchants were very passive in the northern seas, they had no information network; on the other hand, the Scandinavian traders were emerging quickly as one of the main players of the region (191). Consuls – present mostly in port towns such as Bordeaux, Nantes, Bergen, or Dantzig – were a key element in the chain relaying information. Read the rest of this entry »

Buti G. (2005) Coastal traffic in Provence (17th-18th century)

November 11, 2007

Buti Gilbert (2005) “Cabotage et caboteurs de la France méditerranénne (XVIIe-XVIIIe siècles)”, Rives nord-méditerranéennes, Cabotage et réseaux portuaires en Méditerranée, 11 p.

This article is available on line.


Coastal traffic (cabotage) was an essential component of the Old Regime’s “circulation economy”. Even in a port as important as Marseille in the 18th century, coastal traffic is a precious complement to long haul seafaring (2). In secondary ports, such as Saint-Tropez, 90% of ships entering the harbour were involved in petty coastal traffic. Most of the rest was also involved in coastal traffic but with more distant places (Italy, Spain, Levant). Read the rest of this entry »

Reynard P. C. (2000) Manufacturing quality: finding value in diversity

November 4, 2007

Reynard Pierre Claude (2000) “Manufacturing quality in the pre-industrial age: finding value in diversity”, Economic History Review, 53/3, 493-516.


Recent historiography has insisted on the dynamism of West European manufactures at the eve of the Industrial Revolution. This was due to the multiplication of workshops, and – to a lesser extend – to new techniques. The author focuses his attention on a third cause: acceleration and intensification of existing processes. He uses the hand-made paper industry as an example of this ‘speeding-up’ process (493). Read the rest of this entry »