Interests, conflicts and competitors of the trade from the Danube’s mouths and Nister’s bank at the end of the 13th century and in the 14th one
Autor: Vasile Mărculeţ
The importance of the territories from the Danube’s mouths and an from the Dnister’s bank are important not only for the Genoese trade and the transit one from the Pontic-Western coast but also as a connection with the Northern and Central Europe. These territories drew the attention of the Ligurian merchants who are mentioned at Vicina in 1281, at Kilia (Chilia) in 1288, and probably at Lykostomo, at Maurocastum-Moncastro (Cetatea Albă) in 1290. The Italian republics’ trading relations with the Wallachian territories, had an important role for the Wallachian and Italian relationships. The increasing trade developed of the 13th century and in the 14th one determined the emission of some coins or local monetary and ponderable units in order to facilitate the transactions: Vicina issues its own hyperpers as early as 1281, Kilia issues its own ponderable sommis in 1360, unit adopted by Lykostomo in 1373, a centre that issues its own aspris beginning with 1383.
Genoa’s trading relations with the Wallachia were under the badge of the dispute for controlling the lower Danube. It was Hungary, the ally of the Ligurian community, that firstly under took this dispute. Under the circumstances, the Hungarian and Genoese alliance was, against the background of the existing tensions between the two states and the Wallachia, a real obstacle for the development of the Wallachian and Genoese trading relations. This fact did not mean the Genoese merchants’ elimination from the trading traffic which was develosping from Kilia to Braila and from here to the Central Europe, either upstream the Danube, or along the trading road that conveyed in transit the Wallachia. The circulation of the Genoese silver bullions – sommo or marca – in the Wallachia as early as the first half of the 14th century (1330), confirms this presence.
Venice, Genoa’s rival, that was in good political relations with the Wallachian state, took advantage of this situation in the second half of the 14th century. The circulation of the Venetian coin in the Wallachia, the consideration of the Venetian ducat as the basis of the Wallachian monetary system, established by Vadislav I (Ladislaus) after 1365, or the help consisting in military equipment given to Radu I by Venice during the Wallachian and Hungarian conflict in 1377, represent only few examples that underline the Wallachian and Venetian economical relations, in this epoch.
We deal with a suite similar situation in the case of the relations between the Italian sea republics and the Dobrudjan Despotate. The presence of the Genoese merchants at the Danube’s mouths and in other places from the Pontic and Western coast, places that were under the control of the despot Dobrotici (Dobrotich), got to the establishment of some intense trading exchanges with these regions. This is confirmed by the Genoese notarial acts from Kilia and Lykostomo, despite the Dobrudjan and Genoese tense political relations.
Although the tense political relations with Genoa, which developed into the long Genoese and Dobrudjan conflict (c.1360/1370-1386/1387) had a great impact on the trading exchanges between the two parts, never brole them off. It was Venice that took advantage of the tense relations between Genoa and the Dobrudjan Despotate. Although we do not have positive information about the level of the Dobrudjan and Venetian trading exchanges, we consider, due to the sources we have, that the close political relations between Venice and the Dobrudjan Despotate had as bases important economical influences in the period c.1360-1385/1386. This was certainly, one of the reasons why the Venician authorities asked the ones from Genoa for several times (1383, 1385) to have admission free in „Zagora’s parts that were subdued to Dobrotici”. At the same time, Serenissima’s trading regulations in the Pontic basin, also had in view the trading exchanges with the Dobrudjan state especially after 1376.
The Dobrudjan and Genoese treaty from May 1387, brought about implicitly the normalization of the trading relations between the two states which got in this way, a legal bakground of development. The treaty’s clauses of economical nature – the 2% custom duty ad valorem for the Genoese goods that penetrated the Dobrudjan market, the free circulation of the Ligurian merchants to acquire local products etc. – offered a privileged and preferential regime to the Genoese trade in the territories that were under the jurisdiction of the despot Ivanco. The merchants who were not under the jurisdiction of the Ligurian community, did not have such a regime.