Frisian Trade

Uploaded by zjeraar on 02.02.2009

Friesland once excelled in travelling and trade
On the continent, Frisians were seen as the finest captains and merchants
They controlled the trade in Northwestern Europe
The North Sea was called 'Mare Frisicum', The Frisian Sea
This took place between about 450 and 900 AD
Throughout Europe Frisian trading posts and settlements could be found
Dorestad became the most important city for the Frisian trade
In the ninth century attacks by the Scandinavian Norsemen increased
This resulted in Frisian merchants losing their leading position
Around the year 450 the decline of the Roman Empire begins
The Romans had controlled Western Europe for almost 500 years
Now that they're under attack from all sides they retreat behind the Alps
The infrastructure over land collapses
Former Roman routes are left unattended and are replaced by routes over water
Long travels can now only be made over water
Frisians living on the shores see an opportunity
With their vessels they travel the Rhine and the seas of Western Europe
Trade travels go on for weeks and are done by small boats
Expensive goods have to be transported to account for the voyages
Typical goods are pelts, amber, wool, glass, moonstones, ceramics and salt
Dorestad florishes, a city near the Rhine, now known as Wijk bij Duurstede
Dorestad is a strategically important place fought over by Frisians and Franks
Dorestad changes ownership between the two constantly
Dorestad falls into the hands of the Franks permanently in the year 719
Soon after, Charlemagne is crowned king of the Franks
He conquers north of the rivers, causing Frisians to live under Frankish reign
He calls himself 'Emperor of the West'
During that time the Frisian trade peaks and Dorestad grows steadily
The Frisians are profiting under Frankish reign
In Northern England, Sweden and along the Rhine Frisian settlements are found
England wants the Frisians to organize its war fleet against the Norsemen
But the Norsemen eventually bring the Frisian navy to a stop
This happens when Charlemagne dies, in the year 814
The Norsemen invade several areas of the weakened Frankish empire
Especially Dorestad is constantly raided and burned to the ground
When this happens yet again in the year 863, the city is not rebuild
This ends the dominant Frisian role in the trade over sea
The Frisians never regain this role, but their bond with the sea remains strong
Around the year 1000 the international trade florishes once again
The discovery of Frisian coins far away in Russia reveals intensive contacts
After a while the centre of the European trade shifts toward the east
In the 13th century Friesland is part of the powerful trade alliance the Hanse
After the year 1600 the Dutch Golden Age begins
Big VOC ships leave Amsterdam to sail around the world
Frisian captains travel the Baltic Sea area on their old routes
In the 19th century the trade over water comes to an end
Nowadays, Frisians spend time on their own waters by means of recreation