Europe contained a highly mobile society in the later Middle Ages, in which merchants and seamen, nobles, diplomats and soldiers, churchmen and pilgrims travelled frequently, often long distances, and returned home to disseminate information about places they had seen and peoples they had met. Villagers who might not travel far from home could nonetheless hear tales from well-travelled servants of local lords, pilgrims and soldiers, mendicants and other churchmen, merchants and seamen. Trade was a major driver of geographical mobility; of the travelling groups merchants and seamen were among the most frequent and regular travellers, and they brought with them not only goods, but people, news, and information. Iberia and England were integral parts of the European commercial network, and Portuguese, Castilian, Basque, and English merchants and seamen travelled widely and regularly. This book begins with a survey of European travellers (who travelled, why, where, and what sources they left behind), and includes a discussion of the economic developments that encouraged trade and travel. It then focusses on general Iberian connections to northern Europe, which pre-dated the early voyages of discovery and continued during them, before concentrating on Portuguese trade with the north, especially with England.
About the Author
Since her first book, Anglo-Castilian Trade in the Later Middle Ages (1978), Wendy Childs, Emeritus Professor at the School of History, University of Leeds, has written extensively on the overseas trade of England. Her articles include studies of England's trade with Portugal, Iceland, Ireland, and the iron and timber trades. Her recent work also includes editions of English fourteenth-century monastic chronicles.