Fairs of Champagne (Chronology of European History)
Article abstract: The fairs of Champagne constitute the first major organized commercial venture in Europe and provide both the place and the means for trade between Mediterranean Europe and northern Europe.
Summary of Event
From about the middle of the eleventh century through most of the thirteenth century, the county of Champagne was the home of the fairs of Champagne, organized medieval trade fairs which encouraged and promoted interregional trade. Many factors contributed to the growth of the fairs. The location of Champagne, aristocratic patronage, technological developments, the growth of manufacturing, improved transportation, changes in business and banking practices, and the influence of the Crusades put the fairs of Champagne at the heart of the commercial revolution of the Middle Ages.
Trade fairs existed long before the Middle Ages. During the Roman period, trade fairs existed in coastal cities where people from throughout the Roman Empire met and exchanged goods. Gradually these trade fairs moved inland to locations along trade routes. In the twelfth century, virtually every trade route in Europe crossed Champagne. Champagne was well located east of Paris and between the upper Saone River and tributaries of the Rhine, Seine, and Loire. It was through these river valleys that the first traders from Flanders made their way south into Italy, and Italian traders with goods from the Mediterranean...
(The entire section is 1534 words.)
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