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THE MEDIEVAL ORIGINS OF EMBARGO AS A POLICY TOOL

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Abstract:

Embargoes are usually considered a product of modernity. Attempts by some political scientists to argue the contrary have been made on an inadequate basis. Although medievalists have written about embargoes, they have typically considered this research subject only as a footnote to trade or crusade. This study first briefly defines embargo and then presents a broad view of its employment in the Middle Ages. Its argument is that early medieval imperial systems of export controls notwithstanding, embargo emerged as an instrument of foreign policy alongside economic protectionism and trade wars in the wake of the Commercial Revolution of the central Middle Ages.

Keywords: Baltic Sea; Black Sea; Commercial Revolution; Embargo; England; Flanders; Genoa; German Hanse; Mediterranean; Middle Ages; Ottoman Empire; Venice; economic protectionism; economic sanctions; foreign policy; medieval; papacy; trade restrictions; trade wars

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2012-01-01

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