A Regionalization or Long-Distance Trade? Transformations and Shifts in the Role of Tana in the Black Sea Trade in the First Half of the Fifteenth Century
The Italian trading stations in Tana were important in the system of long-distance trade of the Italian maritime republics Venice and Genoa. The deeds of two Venetian notaries (Nicolo de Varsis and Benedetto de Smeritis) who worked there during the 1430s are an important source for tracing the transformation of the issues and directions of the Italian trade in the Black Sea region, the trade, which was recovering from crisis of the fourteenth century. Notwithstanding the Venetian-Genoese struggle and previous crisis events, this recovery made the economic conditions favorable.
Although some scholars see a regionalization of trade in fifteenth century, the source evidence challenges this interpretation. Westerners began to import Italian, Flemish, and English textiles to the Eastern markets, and the local goods (fish, caviar) were widely exported to Europe (even to the markets of Flanders). Finally, the slave trade was intensive. My main argument here is that though there were considerable transformations in the Italian trade, there was no real regionalization of trade, which retained its long-distance character.