Katia Occhi

Exploiting the Alps. Wood Supplies and Waterways in Early Modern Europe

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: wood supply, timber fl oating, Alps, notarial deeds, Venice

This paper examines a business agreement conserved in the Notarile Atti of the Archivio di Stato di Venezia. The contract sets forth the terms and conditions agreed by some of the major companies operating in the Eastern Alps and involved in trade with the Venetian Arsenal and other places in the Mediterranean, between the late sixteenth and the fi rst half of the seventeenth centuries. The contract demonstrates how some Alpine areas under Habsburg sovereignty were integrated into the economies of the Venetian Mainland, with trade between them documented as early as the thirteenth century. This source reveals an abundant availability of raw materials across the border and signifi cant traffi c along the waterways. The latter prompted the emergence of certain locations at strategic points in the Italian Alps and Prealps where appropriate environmental conditions existed: concentrations of forest suitable for commercial exploitation, competitive transit waterways for the transport of raw materials, and hydraulic energy to power the processing plants.

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