Venetian Merchants Dominate Trade with the East (Chronology of European History)
Article abstract: Venetian merchants dominate trade with the East, gaining commercial advantages as a result of the weakening and ultimate collapse of the Byzantine Empire.
Summary of Event
Venice, a city founded on a group of small islands in a lagoon at the northern end of the Adriatic, eventually became known as the “Queen of the Adriatic” as a result of its commercial and military control of this important body of water. From its earliest beginnings, Venice seemed destined to become an important maritime power. Geographically, Venice was located on the edge of both the Byzantine and Holy Roman Empires and became the gateway for trade for both empires.
Faced with very limited natural resources, the early Venetians earned their living fishing and participating in the fish and salt trade with the people on the Italian mainland. On rare occasions, Greek or Syrian merchants traveling to or from the nearby Byzantine cities of Ravenna and Aquilia might visit Venice bringing with them trade goods from the East. When the Lombards, a Germanic tribe, took these cities in the eighth century, they quickly declined in importance. For a very brief time the city of Comacchio rose to become the economic focus for the region before the Venetians took the city in 886.
While being on the edge of the two greatest empires of the time had its advantages for Venice, it also had its perils. Pietro II Orseolo...
(The entire section is 1449 words.)
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