ABSTRACT

A survey of the scal system of the early modern German Cities has to be undertaken with an important restriction in mind: given the scarce literature on the subject, a comprehensive description of taxation and debt in the cities of the Holy Roman Empire is beyond the scope of this paper. It is not without good reason that in the volume on the ‘ e Rise of the Fiscal State in Europe, c. 1200-1815’ a chapter treating the Empire in early modern times is missing.1 erefore, this essay is rather an account of a research agenda than an analysis of the municipal taxes and debts from the sixteenth to the eighteenth centuries in German cities. We can only present some general trends of urban tax and debt policies, since many developments followed di erent or even opposed courses as a result of the high number of princely states within the Empire, and the analysis of the individual cases is rendered still more complex by the fact that most cities did not have a single town account. For these reasons we present rst and foremost examples of di erent municipal tax and debt policies in a sample of German cities of the time.