To the Question of Export of Goods From Volhynia in 15-17 centuries. Wax and Livestock Trade

Vladyslav Berkovskii
Candidate of Historical Sciences (Ph.D. in History), 
Central State Archives of Supreme Authorities and Governments of Ukraine (Ukraine, Kyiv),
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The change in the dominant role of the Mediterranean Economic Region and the decline of its associated centers, as well as the economic development of the Baltic States, had a strong influence on the formation of the productive structure of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania from the mid-15 to the end of the 16th century. In the context of these trends, the importance of Volhynia land, as one of the most economically developed regions of the GDL, is increasing in the geography of European trade. In fact, since the late 15th century Volhynia has been a constant intermediary in trade relations between the West and the East of Europe. In turn, the role of the mediator significantly influenced the expansion of the product offer at the fairs and biddings of Volhynia. Exports of raw materials and semi-finished products were the main part of the Volhynia land's product range. Instead, ready-made products, in particular consumer goods and labor, were imported. It should be noted that, by quantitative indicators, the import of goods to the Volhynia market was significantly less than the export. One of the most ancient export commodities, which occupied a leading position in the trade of the whole GDL, was the export of cattle and wax to the countries of Central and Western Europe. One of the traditional goods exported from Volhynia was wax. The export of wax mainly belonged to the category of contract trade. An important component of the development of urban self-government in the territory of Volhynia was the beeswax production. Moreover, since the beginning of the 15th century, wax trade has been defined by the government of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, which at that time belongs to Volhynia land as one of the strategic areas of trade. A state monopoly existed in Volhynia until the Seimas of 1559, since the wax trade duty in the Volhynia Voivodeship was abolished only in the mid-16th century. From that moment on, the amount of wax exported grew more and more. Another important element in the foreign trade of the GDL was the export of livestock, which gained significant size in the mid-15th century. Volhynia, located on the border of grain and grazing areas, at the end of the 15th century is characterized as one of the main terrain, along with the Sianotsko-Przemysl land, where most of the cattle were distilled. The steady increase in the demand for meat in Western European countries, caused by the rapid urbanization and demographic processes, significantly intensified the trade activity of the Volhynia merchant. Since the 1490s, Ostroh and Kremenets merchants, who not only focused on selling local livestock, actively bought and later resold thousands of Moldovan or Vlach cattle to  Poland, occupied a leading position in the cattle trade. The extension of the Volhynia nobility, after the Union of Lublin, by the Sejm decree of 1550 actually legalized the nobility monopoly on this type of trade under the guise of exempting noble goods from all customs duties on their farm. Thus, during the 16th - mid 17th centuries the trade of the Volhynia Voivodeship played a very important role not only in the economic development of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania or the Polish Crown, but was also a link in the trade relations of Eastern Europe with Central and Western.



Trade, wax, livestock, Volhynia, Western Europe, export.



Львівська національна наукова бібліотека ім. В. Стефаника. Відділ рукописів [Vasyl Stefanyk National Scientific Library of Ukraine in Lviv. Department of Manuscripts].
Центральний державний історичний архів України, м. Києві [The State Historical Archive in Kyiv].



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