Blanchard I. (1986) The 16th-century European cattle trade

March 14, 2009

Blanchard, Ian (1986) “The Continental European Cattle Trades, 1400-1600”, The Economic History Review, 39/3, 427-460.



The European international cattle trade arose in the 1470s out of a “context of a network of regional markets” for locally grazed animals (p.428). Antwerp for instance drew its supplies mostly from Zealand and Holland. The diminutive livestock trade was limited to the Hungarian exports to Venice and some Rhenish towns (Frankfurt, Cologne; p.429). “As gold production recovered in Hungary during the second quarter of the 15th century, […] the economy was subject to the dual pressures of a hard exchange and an excessive money supply which caused its export products to be overpriced on international market and turned a previously strong balance of trade into a decidedly weak one” (p.430). The northern Polish (Breslau, Poznan, Gniezno) products partly replaced the Hungarian cattle after the 1420s, they were exported through the fair of Leipzig. The Hungarian solely retained the south European markets. Read the rest of this entry »

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 »