Margrit Schulte Beerbühl

Trading with the enemy. Clandestine networks during the napoleonic wars

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract


In the economic history literature the French and Napoleonic Wars are seen as a turning point in the process of global market integration. Historical studies have pointed to the disrupting effects of incipient intra- and intercontinental market integration. By focussing on the practice of the British licence system and the more or less covert relations between public institutions and private enterprise across national borders in circumventing embargos and blockades, this paper pursues two aims: it will paint a more comprehensive picture of the dimensions of undercover trade, and delineate some of the strategies which merchants resorted to in order to organise secret trade, even involving the governments of the two antagonists. It thus reveals the ability and flexibility of private entrepreneurs to reconnect and restructure broken trade links even during the wars.

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