The North Atlantic trade with Iceland, Shetland, Orkney and the Faroes and the policy of the Hanseatic Diet (1369–1535)

Rolf Hammel-Kiesow
2020 AmS-skrifter  
This paper explores the limits of the Hanseatic Diet's ability to regulate Hanseatic trade with Iceland and the North Atlantic island groups of Shetland, Orkney and the Faroes*. It comes to the conclusion that the Hanseatic Diets prohibited direct commercial links to Shetland, Orkney and the Faroes consistently from 1416, but turned a blind eye to the Iceland trade. The reasons for this inconsistent policy were the necessity of maintaining the Bergen's monopoly on the stockfish trade (which was
more » ... also in the interest of the Danish-Norwegian crown), while at the same time keeping the door open for Hanseatic merchants who were not active in the Bergen trade to forge commercial links with Iceland, albeit at their own risk. The representatives of the Hanseatic towns often preferred to leave an issue undecided, in order to keep as many options open as possible. The huge divergence in the interests of merchants and towns forced the Diet to dissemble, pursuing policies out of the public gaze which subverted the resolutions the Diet had passed for public consumption.
doi:10.31265/ams-skrifter.v0i27.253 fatcat:r5kdpr4hcbh6fp7akq7zqvv7rq