Henry VII - Trade


Trade and Trading Companies

Cloth trade = responsible for 90% of English exports; increased by around 60% during Henry VII's reign.

Early years - most exports were comprised of raw wool; It would leave the east-coast ports e.g. Yarmouth and be traded through Calais by the trading company the Merchents of the Staple.

Later in his reign - finished cloth dominated trade; primarily traded through Burgundy. Incresingly exported from London by the trading company the Merchent Adventurers, which reinforced London's influence.

The Merchent Adventurers: the wealthiest and most influential company in London who dominated the London cloth trade through the commercial centre of Europe, Antwerp.

It was important for both companies to have a good relationship with the crown. They acted as a voice of the industry and tried to influence the crown's foreign policy in favour of their trade. The King also relied on their expertise for trading treaties. 

The Merchent Adventurers couldn't completely dominate trade as they were unable to overcome the Hanseatic League (a group of free cities that formed a commercial union in the 1200's).

1 of 6

Henry's Approach to Trade

Henry aimed to increase trade as his own revenue would increase through tonnage and poundage.

However, his approach was inconsisteng and his foreign policy was foccused on security rather than trade

2 of 6


Vital as Burgundy controlled the Netherlands.

Margaret of Burgundy supported Perkin Warbeck, so Henry imposed a trade embargo on the Netherlands 1493.

Realtions with Burgundy improved once Warbeck left Burgundy and Henry and Phillip agreed the Intercursus Magnus 1496.

Henry panicked and attempted to place another embargo on Burgundy when support for Edmund de la Pole was taken seriously in 1503.

In 1506, after signing the Treaty of Windsor, Henry negotiated the Intercursus Malus.

3 of 6

Hanseatic League

In an attempt to break the dominance of the league, Henry introduced the Navigation Act which forbade English merchents from loading their goods onto foreign ships ig English ships were available in order to protect English shipping. This upset relations with the league.

1504 - Henry supported an Act with restored all of the league's privileges so that they would not support the Yorkist claiment (Edmund de la Pole).

Attempts to break the control of the league failed and they continued to limit England's trading interests in the Baltic. 

4 of 6


The Navigation Act and the Breton crisis harmed relations with France. 

Trade restrictions were removed in 1486 but were re-imposed in 1487 due to Henry's support of Brittany. 

Treaty of Etaples 1492 - reduced some restrictions and trading relations largely improved accross Henry's reign. 

Most remaining trade restrictions were removed in 1497. 

5 of 6


1489 - Treaty of Medina del Campo established equal trading rights with Spain.

The Navigation Act did slightly damage trade with Spain. 

6 of 6


No comments have yet been made

Similar History resources:

See all History resources »See all British monarchy - Tudors and Stuarts resources »