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The Expansion of Market Towns and the Dissatisfaction of Peasants

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During the reigns of the union sovereigns Margrethe and Erik of Pommern a policy to systematically develop trade and the towns were started. Erik of Pommern gave market town rights to a number towns in the Sound region, founded Landskrona in 1413 and introduced the Sound Duty in 1429.

The Expansion of Market Towns
The Scanian market lost more and more importance and the centre of gravity of the trade was moved from Skanør and Falsterbo to Malmo and Copenhagen. One idea behind of the Kalmar Union was that a united North would better withstand The Hanseates and king Erik of Pommern (1412-39) thus led a policy, which would strengthen the market towns of the Sound region. Several towns were given market towns rights, Helsingborg in 1414 and Elsinore in 1426. In addition Landskrona was founded in 1413, first of all to trade with Holland and England.
The Kalmar Union
The Kalmar Union
The coronation of Erik of Pomerania
The coronation of Erik of Pomerania

Erik of Pommern and the Sound Duty
One idea behind of the Kalmar Union was that a united North would better withstand The Hanseates and king Erik of Pommern (1412-39) thus led a policy, which would strengthen the market towns of the Sound region. Several towns were given market towns rights, Helsingborg in 1414 and Elsinore in 1426. In addition Landskrona was founded in 1414, first of all to trade with Holland and England.
In 1429 the Sound duty was introduced, which was to compensate for the lost income form the Scanian market. It was natural that the charging of the duty was placed in the narrowest part of the Sound and therefore the fortification Krogen was built in Elsinore.

The Growing Elsinore
Helsingborg had for a long time been the most important and the largest town in the north Sound, but because the Sound duty was to be handled from Elsinore, this town grew past Helsingborg i size and importance and became the third largest city in Denmark next to Copenhagen and Malmo.
Elsinor
Elsinor

Helsingborg and Malmø
Helsingborg receives market town rights in 1414. Special provisions deal with the sale of herring in the autumn and the ferry passage between Helsingborg and Zealand. Helsingborg was, with its good situation and strong fortification, which was one of the royal fortifications along the coast, originally much larger than Elsinore, but in time Elsinore becomes, mainly because of its affiliation with the Sound Duty and the foreign trade, the third largest town in the realm after Copenhagen and Malmo. Malmo is a relatively new town and its original name, Elbogen, testifies to the hanseatic influence in the area.
Helsingborg
Helsingborg
Landskrona
Landskrona
Malmo
Malmo
Helsingborg in the Year 1400
Helsingborg in the Year 1400

Mutal Competition
More market towns also means increasing competition. Around the year 1500 King Hans (1481-1513) must mediate between a number of towns. According to a provision from March 1506 the citizens in Lund and Væ o none side and Malmø on the other are not allowed to trade on each others markets and the citizens of Lund and Væ can only trade with foreign merchants in Malmo on the autumn market.
The coastal towns importance increase, but they also have mutual controversy, as when it is decided in September that same year, that the citizens of Lund, Helsingborg and Landskrona are not allowed to trade with each other and that Lund and Helsingborg are not allowed to trade with foreign merchants in Landskrona. The foundation of Landskrona was aimed at trade with Holland and England.

Helsingborg-Elsinore
Helsingborg and Elsinore had most in common of all the towns in the Sound region as the two towns had a joint market trade. Traders from Helsingborg were allowed to sell goods in Elsinore and vice versa. This was impossible in other towns. Traders from Lund, Landskrona and Helsingborg were not allowed to trade in each other´s towns.
That this was allowed in Helsingborg and Elsinore was due to the fact that they were dependant on each other. The accession of meat, butter and milk was larger in northwestern Scania than in North Zealand and thus the Helsingborg citizens needed customers and the Elsinore citizens needed these goods.

Competition and Conflicts
But it was not only the local trade that was interesting. Even foreign merchants played a big part, especially in Elsinore. The competition with the Hanseatic towns continued, but new players entered the scene, for instance the Dutch, who had the same privileges and the Hanseates in 1490.

The Danish policy of concentrating the efforts on the market towns and trying to outcompete the Hanseatic towns became costly and brought with it increases of taxation among the peasants. Sweden reacted most violently. Here the mountain men (part farmer, part mine owner) lost great income in connection with the boycott of the Hanseates, as the possibilities of the sale of iron products lessened.. The result was that an uprising started under the leadership of the Swede Engelbreckt Engelbrecktsson.
The rebellion spread to large parts of Sweden and Erik of Pommern felt threatened. He sent a Scanian troop against Engelbreckts´s troops in southern Halland. But the Scanians went over to Engelbreckt´s side and made peace with him. In 1436 they refused to pay a tax, which Erik of Pommern demanded. The Scanians once again showed their dissatisfaction by taking the side of the Swedish rebels. This was a contributing cause to the fact that Erik was dethroned as a union king and had to leave the North.

©  Øresundstid 2009