Vom Feld aufs Schiff
Handel und Export von Reis aus Valencia nach Flandern im Spätmittelalter
This article analyses the rice trade between Valencia and Flanders from the late fourteenth to the end of the fifteenth century. That such an analysis is possible at all is due to the information revealed by Valencian sources and by the documents left to us by the foreign agents (overwhelmingly Italian merchants) who took an interest in Valencia. The article follows rice from production in the fields surrounding Valencia through its sale in the city for commercial purposes and to its export by sea, tracing the paths that linked countryside and city, production and market and, finally, the local and the international economy. Rice played a considerable role in the trade between Valencia and Flanders for two reasons. The first is quantitative: large amounts of rice – upwards of hundreds of thousands of kilograms per annum in the fifteenth century – were exported. The second is qualitative: the rice market was relatively ‘competitive’, because institutions played only a very minor role and commercial capital never managed to erect a monopoly in this sector.