chapter  3
12 Pages

European merchant trading firms and the export of the precious metals from the Kingdom of Bohemia during the sixteenth century

WithPetr Vorel

In foreign trade, precious metals were considered a basic commodity that, for many well-known reasons, could generate immense profits. That is why political power centres strove to control both their mining and subsequent trade. During the Late Middle Ages, the Kingdom of Bohemia was the main producer and exporter of newly mined silver in Central Europe. In the second half of the fifteenth century, prior to the discovery of the American continent, most of the newly mined silver shipped to the international markets of Europe, Africa and the Near East came from three sources in Central Europe: from the Austrian Tyrol, from German Saxony and from Bohemia. The commercial success of the thalers from Jáchymov in the early 1520s was also due to the success of the Saxon trade policy for precious metals. Metrological parameters of the Saxon silver groat were quickly adapted by other major central European producers of silver, with the exception of the Habsburgs in Austria.