Toll Collection and Economic Development in Twelfth-Century Flanders

Bonduel, Elisa. 2024. “Toll Collection and Economic Development in Twelfth-Century Flanders.” TIJDSCHRIFT VOOR SOCIALE EN ECONOMISCHE GESCHIEDENIS 21 (2).


The twelfth century is generally considered as a period of economic growth and trade intensification in Europe. This commercial development was characterised by a revival of long-distance trade, a growth of trade volumes and a diversification of commodities. However, due to the source bias, many historians have attributed a rather peripheral role to Northwestern Europe in this narrative. Notably, the exact chronology and character of this commercial development in a fast developing region like coastal Flanders has long been disregarded by historians. By deploying sources on toll collection, more specifically toll exemptions and tariffs, the present paper aims to expand our understanding of this process taking into account the relationship between economic change and the development of administrative practices.