Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Early Proto-industrialization in the Low Countries? The Importance and Nature of Market-oriented Non-agricultural Activities on the Countryside in Flanders and Holland

van Bavel, Bas (B.J.P.) (2003): Early Proto-industrialization in the Low Countries? The Importance and Nature of Market-oriented Non-agricultural Activities on the Countryside in Flanders and Holland. Published in: Revue Belge de Philologie et d’Histoire , Vol. 81, No. 4 (2003): pp. 181-237.

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Abstract

Next to the local craftsmen and the non-agrarian activities that families undertook for their own use or local consumption, which had always existed in the countryside, in some places rural industries aimed at non-local markets developed as early as in the late 14th century. In some parts of the Low Countries, these early stages of rural industry gained a considerable importance during the late medieval period. In most regions in Western-Europe, however, there was hardly or no industrialization in the countryside at all during this period. In this respect, therefore, there were striking regional differences, sometimes even between regions situated close to each other.

This article focuses on these regional differences, by investigating and comparing late medieval developments in two different parts of the Low Countries where rural industries did blossom in the late medieval period, but each with their own specific pattern: Inland Flanders and Holland. In order to explain these regional differences, the article links the proto-industrial development to the social and economic structures in the regions in question.

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