Die Staatlichen Zölle - Portorium und Lizent - in den Städten den schwedischen Ostseeprovinzen
State Duties - Portorium and Licence - in the Towns of the Swedish Baltic Provinces
The early modern mercantilist state focused on developing and exercising control over industrial and agricultural production as well as engaging in economic activities involving internal and external trade while collecting taxes and customs duties in order to fill the treasury. In the 16th-17th centuries, rapidly developing Sweden was no exception. It was in constant need of funds to support its growing bureaucratic apparatus and its army. From 1561, additional funds had to be allocated to retain and govern its expanding overseas territories. Trade and agriculture were Sweden’s principal source of income from its Baltic provinces. Therefore, it was deemed important to create an environment conducive to trade in order to generate greater tax and custom s revenues for the state. The customs tariffs of the Baltic Sea towns as well as the common customs system in Tallinn, Narva and Nyen arose from the state’s interest in bringing Western European and
Russian trade back to the Baltic Sea.
The aim of the article is to look rnore closely at the state duties - portorium and licence fees, plus oktroy and Anlage duties in Riga - levied on goods in the ports of the Baltic provinces of the Swedish realm, mainly Estonia, Livonia and Ösel (Saaremaa). The archival sources used in this study are the published and unpublished laws of the Swedish central authorities and the customs and account books which survive from the 17th Century. Of these, the most important ones were special customs and license ledgers from Estonia, Livonia, Ingria and Ösel in which the state receipts for licence duties and portorium from Riga, Tallinn, Narva, Nyen, Pärnu, Haapsalu and Kuressaare were registered. Separate Anlage duty records were kept in Riga. From the early 1630s, the account books of the governorates (ledgers, verifications and journals) also included state customs receipts, but each province was considered as a whole, without distinguishing separate towns. Data on portorium receipts can also be found in the town council archives, as the state ceded a third or even half of the customs receipts to the local town councils.
Customs duties constituted one-third of the state’s revenues in the province of Estonia and one half or more in Livonia. The most important state customs were the portorium and licence duty (and the Anlage duty in Riga). While portorium was gencrally divided equally with the town where it was collected, licence duty was retained by the state in its entirety. Lesser duties were collected under the name Ungelder, and the
amount and volume o f these increased over time. Generally, portorium duty brought in less revenue than licence duty. Sea customs tariffs, which
often differed from town to town, formed a complex System. From 1648, only Tallinn, Narva and Nyen constituted a common customs region with lower customs tariffs than in Riga and Pärnu.