The Commercial Significance of the Venetian Tana in the 1430s
In the XIII – XV centuries medieval Europe has made progress in trade and transition to market economy, which resulted in the foundation of a number of Venetian and Genoese overseas colonies in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Black Sea area. The stability of Pax Mongolica had a positive effect on long-distance trade with the Central and Eastern Asia and India. Genoa began colonizing the area earlier than its main competitor, Venice. The Venetians came to the area and founded their trading stations in Tana and Trebizond. In the XV century the goods from the Eastern Europe prevailed over those from the Central and Eastern Asia, especially the slaves. In exchange the Venetians and the Genoese imported cotton, woolen, and silk fabrics, raw cotton, rice, soap, glass, ceramics, jewelry and swords. All the foreign policy of the Italian maritime republics in relation to the Eastern countries was mainly to provide the most favorable trade regime and the regime of taxes, tolls and duties: reduce of abolish commerchium, to prevent the abuse of merchants, to unify measures for tax collection, to extend the privileges, to guarantee the safety of traffic, and to obtain reparations and compensations. The Italian merchants settled in the Northern Black Sea region due to the fact that the Tatar khans were well of the importance of the international trade in their territory and realized the possible profits from trade. The stabilization in the region and the rise of trade was a trend running through the first half of the fifteenth century. The amounts of incanti and trade volume were high. The figures decreased sharply during the years of military turmoil and increased during the rise of trade with the Levant. The size of the sums paid on the auction can serve as an indicator of the vitality of trade relations. Thus, based on these figures (especially for the 1436 – 1439), we can infer that the 1430s were the time of the greatest prosperity of the Venetian trade in the Northern Black Sea during the whole fifteenth century.