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Money, Power, and Influence in Eighteenth-Century LithuaniaThe Jews on the Radziwiłł Estates$
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Adam Teller

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780804798440

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804798440.001.0001

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Jews and Trade in the Estate Economy

Jews and Trade in the Estate Economy

(p.145) Six Jews and Trade in the Estate Economy
Money, Power, and Influence in Eighteenth-Century Lithuania

Adam Teller

Stanford University Press

Jewish merchants were, with Radziwiłł encouragement, the dominant force in local markets. They were particularly important in allowing the estate administration to take advantage of new opportunities in the eighteenth century, which its established systems were unable to do. Trade served the estate economy in three ways: distribution, supply, and revenue generation. The arendarze boosted grain sales in the new economic conditions and Jewish merchants enabled the family to penetrate the new export market in flax and hemp. Jews were extremely important in supplying estate society. This mercantile activity also generated huge revenues in the form of indirect taxation. The importance of Jews in revenue generation is seen in the family’s expanding river trade to Königsberg starting in the 1720s. The freight payments Jewish merchants made to ship their goods on family rafts made this newly flourishing trade viable for the Radziwiłłs, giving them easy access to the international market.

Keywords:   local trade, river trade, international trade, Königsberg, manufactories, Jewish women merchants, hemp, customs and duties

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