The organization of mercantile capitalism in the Low Countries: private partnerships in early modern Antwerp (1480-1620)

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By means of an in-depth analysis of 132 partnership agreements, which had
been notarized in the city of Antwerp between 1480 and 1620, the present
article aspires to provide a substantiated narrative on the use as well as legal
features of private partnerships in the early modern Low Countries. In so
doing, it became apparent that such small-scale partnerships constituted an
effective means in the hands of, mostly non-related, merchants and craftsmen
who were looking for legal certainty. Moreover, the examination of these
partnership agreements demonstrated the wide-ranging contractual freedom
that contracting parties in sixteenth-century Antwerp could dispose of
and that therefore historical reality not necessarily complies with legal ideas
and concepts provided for by legislative or statutory documents.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-24
Number of pages25
JournalTijdschrift voor Sociale en Economische Geschiedenis
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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