Heinrich Lang

Credito e insolvenza sovrana. I prestiti alla Corona francese di mercanti-banchieri toscani e tedeschi meridionali (1500-1559)

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The French kings Francis and Henry II required extraordinary fi nancial means for their wars against Emperor Charles V. Mainly Tuscan and South German merchant bankers offered composite loans, which they raised from credit networks. On the one hand the development of the royal fi scal administration is well documented, on the other scholars have focused less on the strategies the merchant bankers employed for the making of markets for credit. The Florentine business partnership agglomerate of the Salviati and the company of the Welser from Augsburg set up a syndicate for the lease agreement of the "gabelle" (the toll paid on silk imported to the kingdom of France) along the Rhône from 1521-1528 when they gave 126.000 livres to King Francis. The account books of the Salviati Archives show that the share the Salviati held was fi nanced by a group of investors. The Salviati-company was able to raise fair deposits for the investment in credits to the Crown when they contributed more than 250.000 livres to Henry II in 1553. In 1555 the royal government imposed the "Grand Parti", a mechanism for regulating the taking and repaying of loans. Although similar multilayered networks of credit backed up the loans, which soon reached a sum of 4.5 million livres, the mechanism ran insolvent in 1559.


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