The European Economy and Overseas Trade in the Sixteenth Century
The clearest evidence of a universal rise in food prices throughout the sixteenth century is provided in the records of the market sales of wheat. Naturally enough where wheat was produced for export, as in Poland, prices were low; in the Mediterranean region where wheat was imported they were high. In every region, however, the figures for the sales of wheat, averaged out over five-yearly periods, indicated a general and persistent rise (see figure 1). In Valencia the price rose from forty grammes of silver, the hectolitre, to a peak of one hundred and forty grammes, in Lwow from five to thirty, and in Paris, a special case perhaps as an expanding capital city, from twenty to one hundred and twenty. Overall the price had risen nearly five-fold by the end of the sixteenth century and a similar trend is recorded in the sales of meat, beer, wine and other foodstuffs. Manufactured goods on the other hand rose by only half this rate.
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© David Maland 1982