The Role of Chemistry in History

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A Sheep Market

April 23rd, 2008 · No Comments ·

Introduction |Keratin | Why Wool? | A Sheep Market | Wool War I |References



The immense popularity and widespread use of woolen cloth, due to its many beneficial qualities, had a lasting influence on the economies of medieval Europe. The economies of several regions of Europe were dependent on wool for the generation of capital.

The economies of Florence and Flanders, located in Northern France, were based on the production of fine woolen textiles, which were exported to the whole of Europe. For instance, the prosperous bankers and rulers of Florence, the Medici family, initially derived their immense wealth from the production of textiles from wool.

Italy and Flanders did not, however, produce much of their own fleece or raw wool so they needed to import it from other regions. Spain and Burgundy, part of modern day France and Germany, were major exporters of wool during the Medieval period. The largest exporter of wool, however, was England. By the early fourteenth century, England exported more than 35,000 sacks of wool, each sack containing twelve stones of wool or roughly 168 pounds.

Over time, a strong wool trade developed between England and Flanders which would transcend economics and play a large role in the political futures of the two regions.

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