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The Beginnings of Capitalism in Central Europe

Edited By Cyril Levitt

This book focuses on the beginnings of capitalism in Central Europe with emphasis on the German-speaking areas from the 14th to the 17th century. It also reviews and assesses the writings on the topic by the most important thinkers of the twentieth century. At the center of the presentation are the developments in mining, metallurgy, smelting, book publishing, clock making, ship building and advances in trade, commerce and finance. This book will be of interest to students of medieval and early modern European history, the so-called transition debate of feudalism to capitalism, social scientists and historians who are interested in the various transitions in human history, and philosophers who follow developments in the changing issues regarding freedom and bondage over the course of human development. Anthropologists who are familiar with Krader’s writings on the development of the Asiatic mode of production will be interested to see how Krader treats this transition from feudalism to capitalism by way of comparison and contrast.

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List of Tables

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Table 1: The Population of Europe, 1300–1700 (in Millions)

Table 2: Population of Cities in England, France, Italy, Spain, and the Netherlands, 1300–1700 City Year (Population in Thousands)

Table 3: Population of Some Cities in Central Europe in the 14th–17th Centuries

Table 4: Number of Textile Guilds and their Independent Members around the Year 1440

Table 5: Ship Cargo (on Average), Hansa and Venice, 1300–1700

Table 6: Mechanical Clocks in Europe in the 14th and 15th Centuries

Table 7: Annual Expenditures of Knight Hans von Hosperg in Clöden (Saxony) in 1474

Table 8: Wages (in Pennies) for Unskilled Labourers, Journeymen and Masters, in Construction in Nuremberg by Selected Years

Table 9: Summer and Winter Wages in Construction in Nuremberg by Classification at the End of the 16th Century

Table 10: Number of Mine Shares by Category of Holders in Joachimsthal

Table 11: German, Latin and English Names of Manual Labourers in Mining

Table 12: German and Latin Names of Administrators in Mining

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Table 13: German and Latin Names of District Administrators in Mining

Table 14: Number and Types of Mining Workers in the 16th Century

Table 15: Weekly Wages (in Pennies) of Mining People in Schemnitz and Hoderitzsch in 1527

Table 16: Amounts of Iron in Europe in the 16th Century (in Tons)

Table 17: Europe: Wrought Iron Production in 1500

Table 18: Number of Seasonal Workers in Mining (Average)

Table 19: The Number of Workers, Iron Industry of the Upper Palatinate, 1475

Table 20: Number and Types of Seasonal Mining Workers at the End of the 16th Century in Sulzbach

Table 21: Number, Type of Mine Worker, and Weekly Wages for One Pit 1595/1596