CONFERENCE PAPER: 'Gdańsk as Baltic hub: Between war business and neutrality in the Northern Wars period, c.1630 to 1721”

Cathleen Sarti will be presenting her paper on “Gdańsk as Baltic hub: Between war business and neutrality in the Northern Wars period, c. 1630 to 1721” as part of a panel on Military Conflict and Trade in the Baltic, 1600-1815, at the 30th Congress of Nordic Historians in Gothenburg (August 9th 2022). 

The importance of the Baltic for European trade has long been established, especially with the analysis of the Sound Toll registers, giving insights into traffic into and out of the Baltic from the 1490s to 1857.  However, the manifold traffic within the Baltic area in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries has been less researched. In the literature, scholars have often focused on the rise and fall of the Hanseatic League, which means that they have concentrated their scholarly attention on the medieval period and the sixteenth century. After the sixteenth century, it has been asserted that Dutch and later British merchants became dominant, and that inter-Baltic trade lost its relative importance in a wider European context. At the same time as the Hanseatic League lost its influence, military conflicts between the states in the Baltic region increased both in terms of duration and the number of soldiers and ships involved. These military activities led in turn to an expanding demand for resources, such as supplies and credit, which created ties between the states in the region and mercantile communities throughout the Baltic. However, the importance of military conflicts for the development of intra-Baltic trade has largely been ignored by previous research.

The panel will explore the connections between inter-Baltic trade and the military conflicts in the Baltic region during the early modern period. Questions we would like to discuss are: how did merchants react to the military activities of different powers, and how did states try to organize trade and the interaction with different merchants? What importance did the on-going conflicts have for trade in the Baltic? What was the relative importance of inter-Baltic trade compared to the trade through the Sound regarding the business of war?

Individual papers:

Jaakko Björklund (University of Helsinki): ”Eastern Baltic merchants, trade and Swedish military supply during the Ingrian war, 1609–1617 ”

Cathleen Sarti (Oxford University): “Gdańsk as Baltic hub: Between war business and neutrality in the Northern Wars period, c. 1630 to 1721”

Peter Ericsson (Uppsala University) and Patrik Winton (Örebro University): “The resource nexus: state-merchant cooperation during the Swedish military campaigns in 1718 and 1741”

Sofia Gustafsson (University of Helsinki): “The Construction of the Sea Fortress of Sveaborg 1748–1756: Local, Regional and European Economic Networks”