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The Middle Ages

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The communication in the Middle Ages must be seen in the light of Denmark´s role a the dominant Baltic power.

Scania´s central position meant that Denmark´s church centre was placed in Lund and that Scania´s southern trade place, Skanør at Falsterbo, became an international, financial power centre. The ships shuttled between the regions.

A Common Cultural Area
You could say that Zealand had two cultural areas; a southwestern area, which consisted of cultivated plains and a northeastern with forests.
Scania similarly had three cultural areas; one southern with plains, which had been cultivated early, one northern with forest areas and forest settlements and small woods, which have been named “national settlements”. In this area and in North Zealand new cultivation areas were created through the clearing of forest and in these areas the place name ending –röd/ryd is common. The cultivation pattern in northwestern Scania and in North Zealand was similar. It must be added that the contacts between Scania and Zealand was most intense between Helsingborg and Elsinore.
The place names can be traced to “the throat” (hals), by which they meant the narrowest part of the Sound. The people around the North Sound was called “halsinger” and both towns were called “halsingarnas borg” and “halsingarnas öre” (beach). The importance the area around “halsen” had for the contacts between Zealand and Scania was early attested by Adam of Bremen in his work “De hamburgska ärkebiskoparnas historia” (1070). He noted that you could “sail to Scania from many places in Zealand. The shortest distance is from Helsingborg, where the narrowest part of the Sound is called Halsen and where the population is called halsingar”.
One may establish from this that North Zealand and north western Scania very early were quite homogeneous
Three Cultural Areas
Three Cultural Areas
New Settlements in Zealand
New Settlements in Zealand
Settlements in Scania
Settlements in Scania

The Scanian Market
Although the development of the cities in the Sound region was modest compared to the Hanseatic towns, the Danish kingdom had some advantages. Especially the herring fishing in the Sound.
The Scanian market
The Scanian market
Herrings
Herrings
Skanör Church
Skanör Church
The Castle Hill
The Castle Hill

The Herring
The demand for herring, which was salted with salt from Lünebürger Heide, was great as the Catholic Church demanded meat-free days in connection with Lent. Often even Friday was considered a meat-free day.
As early as the 12th century Falsterbonäs became a centre for the herring trade, which took place from August 24th to October 9th. In this period thousands of visitors gathered there and that meant a significant upturn for Skanør and Falsterbo. Form the beginning Skanør was the main area, but in the 14th century Falsterbo became more important.

International Market
Traders from England, Scotland, Flanders and Normandy came to the herring market, but the most dominating traders came from Germany, especially Lübeck. They traded other goods besides herring. There was wide array of different goods, among them horses, butter, iron, tar, corn and handicraft products.
The dominance of the Lübecks was evident because they had their own church in Falsterbo. The fishing and the Scanian market in Skanør and Falsterbo yielded a large income to the Danish kingdom. A good fishing year in the 14th century could mean an export of 300.000 barrels of herring and it is estimated that one third of the Danish king´s income came from the Scanian market. The large production and the great demand made Skanør and Falsterbo to the most important market of the region in the 14th century.

Trade and Towns
All the way back in prehistoric times there have been trade between the North and Southern Europe and in the late Iron Age and early Viking Age amber, fur and slaves have been sold and traded for luxury goods like glass.
In the 8th century the trade between the Mediterranean and Northern Europe was arranged via the Frankish realm, but when it succumbed in the beginning of the 9th century and the Arabs conquer large parts of the Mediterranean the North in the Viking Age came to play an important part in north-south as well as the east-west trade. In southern Scandinavia Hedeby in Southern Jutland became a prominent trade centre, whereas further to the east and north are Gotland and Birka in Sweden.
Trade Routes
Trade Routes

Shiptypes
It was mainly the Vikings´ ship technology, which secured them a preferential position in the Baltic trade from around the year 800. Magnates and peasants fitted out ships for expeditions in long ships, which could carry around 9 tons.
The later developed, but also clinker-built ships of the knar type, which also were used for sailing in the North Atlantic, could carry around 20 tons.
In the beginning of the period it was probably difficult to discern between looting- trade- and colonization expeditions, but around the transition to the Middle Ages around the year 1050, trade plays a more important part. This is mainly due to the ship type the kogge, which could carry up to 30 tons and around the year 1200 up to 200 tons.
Kogge and knarr
Kogge and knarr
Knarr
Knarr
Kogge
Kogge
The Malmøkogge
The Malmøkogge
Model
Model
Hork
Hork

Goods Types
From around this time the trade also changes to more everyday articles like corn, fish and meat, which come from the surplus production provided by the new cultivation methods. These products could be sold in the town communities, which flourishes in the course of the 12th and 13th century in Northern Germany. These Hanseatic towns came to control large parts of the trade in the Baltic by way of an organizational and technological superiority.

©  Øresundstid 2009