Medieval Capital Markets

Markets for renten, State Formation and Private Investment in Holland (1300-1550)


Institutions that allow for the accumulation of capital were as crucial to economic growth throughout history as they are today. But whereas historians often focus on the precursors of modern banking institutions, little is known of any alternatives that may have served similar purposes prior to their rise. This study focuses on the institutional framework of markets for 'renten', a type of long-term debt that enabled economic development in much of Northwest Europe in the late Middle Ages. In the county of Holland, these markets allowed large segments of the public and private sectors to reallocate capital. This study thus uncovers the medieval capital markets in the region that was to become the core of the Dutch Republic.
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Biographical Note

C.J. Zuijderduijn Ph.D. (2007) in History, Utrecht University, is a postdoc researcher at the department of Economic and Social History at Utrecht University. He publishes on the history of capital markets, and the mobility of capital in families and households.

Table of contents

List of Tables List of Illustrations Preface Introduction Medieval capital markets? Medieval holland: political economy Historiography Research questions Chapter 1. Central government Establishing sovereignty Administration of justice Economic policy Conclusion Chapter 2. State formation, institutional change and markets for public debt The limits of comital credit: floating debt Tapping into rich resources: foreign capital markets and the creation of funded debt The century of public debt Conclusion Chapter 3. Public interest? The institutional framework of markets for public debt Positive institutions. The organization of funded debt Positive institutions. The development of personal execution Negative institutions. Coping with default Conclusion Chapter 4. The emergence of markets for public debt The financial nexus: Dordrecht The rise of markets for public debt Geographical diffusion of public debt Conclusion Chapter 5. The institutional framework of markets for private debt Local courts as pivotal points in economic exchange Public bodies as agents of institutional change Institutional framework Conclusion Chapter 6. The emergence of markets for private debt Qualitative aspects Quantitative aspects: renten in Edam and de zeevang Interest rates Conclusion Chapter 7. Medieval capital markets in Northwest Europe Government funding in Northwest Europe Markets for public debt in Northwest Europe Markets for private debt in Northwest Europe The Italian city states and England Conclusion Conclusion Appendix References Index


All those interested in economic history, financial history and the history of state formation in the Late Middle Ages.