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date: 20 February 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Although in the course of the eighteenth century there emerged in several European countries a desire to set the economy and trade free, in the French case it took the Revolution to sweep away a whole range of restrictions which weighed upon the circulation of goods. Even so, the gradual ending of the commercial system which had underpinned the prosperity of European ports under the Ancien Régime was also, in fact primarily, the consequence of structural changes in the European economy and in the apparatus of colonial domination in America. This article does not offer a complete picture of trade under the Ancien Régime, but rather attempts to bring out the distinctive characteristics which would disappear between the end of the eighteenth century and the middle of the nineteenth with the arrival of more modern systems of exchange.

Keywords: commercial system, goods circulation, Ancien Régime, trade, systems of exchange, European ports

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