Power in the Metropolis. The Impact of Economic and Demographic Growth on the Antwerp City Council (1400-1550)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Current historiography endorses a narrative that the political elite of pre-industrial gateway cities became more 'open' in the wake of efflorescence and that their city councils became populated with merchants. Yet, according to the existing literature, Antwerp challenges this narrative, as the influx of merchants was very limited during late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries when Antwerp transformed from a medium-sized Brabantine city into the leading economic centre in western Europe. Moreover, scholars disagree on whether the economic expansion had any impact at all on the composition and profile of Antwerp's political elite. By analysing the social composition of the city council and how this evolved from the beginning of Antwerp's commercial expansion around 1400 until its apogee around 1550, I revisit the question whether Antwerp constitutes an exception to the established pattern of elite formation in gateway cities and, if so, why.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)589-609
Number of pages21
JournalUrban History
Volume47
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2020

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