The Impact of the English Civil War on the Economy of London, 1642–50
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When the English Civil War broke out, London’s economy was diverse and dynamic, closely connected through commercial networks with the rest of England and with Europe, Asia and North America. As such it was uniquely vulnerable to hostile acts by supporters of the king, both those at large in the country and those within the capital. Yet despite numerous difficulties, the capital remained the economic powerhouse of the nation and was arguably the single most important element in Parliament’s eventual victory. For London’s wealth enabled Parliament to take up arms in 1642 and sustained it through the difficult first year and a half of the war, without which Parliament’s ultimate victory would not have been possible. In this book the various sectors of London’s economy are examined and compared, as the war progressed. It also looks closely at the impact of war on the major pillars of the London economy, namely London’s role in external and internal trade, and manufacturing in London. The impact of the increasing burden of taxation on the capital is another key area that is studied and which yields surprising conclusions. The Civil War caused a major economic crisis in the capital, not only because of the interrelationship between its economy and that of the rest of England, but also because of its function as the hub of the social and economic networks of the kingdom and of the rest of the world. The crisis was managed, however, and one of the strengths of this study is its revelation of the means by which the city’s government sought to understand and ameliorate the unique economic circumstances which afflicted it.
Table of Contents
Contents: Preface; Introduction; London on the eve of the English Civil War; Parliamentary taxation and levies; Parliamentarian finance; Supplying Parliament’s armed forces and privateering; Economic warfare; Domestic trade and consumer spending; International trade and shipping; Manufacturing industry; Economic fluctuations 1642-50; Index.
'This is an important book, and deserves a wide readership.' Economic History Review '... an important book for scholars interested in the English Civil War or seventeenth-century London.' EH.NET '... an important contribution to our understanding of the impact of war on the early modern urban environment.' Urban History Newsletter '... this useful little book will prove of lasting value to historians of early modern London.' The London Journal 'Ben Coates has provided an excellent survey of London's - indeed, all of England's - economic journey during the decade of the 1640s.' Sixteenth Century Journal