Tuesday, 17 February 2009

In the worst possible moment


"What you are proposing is impossible, Pietro," admonished Luigi Alvise, shaking his head. "Many have tried before and no one has succeeded. It's better if we wait until the market recovers."

Pietro Alvise looked at his father and took in a deep breath. It was imperative that he found the right words.
If he could not convince his own father, how would he be able to convince anyone else?

"That's the point, father," emphasized Pietro. "The market is not going to recover. Don't you see the rising interest rates? Aren't our friends going bankrupt one after the other?"

Undecided, the old Alvise stared at his son. Who could deny that the economic situation was catastrophic? For decades, a 20% interest rate had been the norm in Venice, but in 1314, it was almost impossible to find anyone to lend you money at any rate.

Since the King of France had forbidden Flemish merchants to take part in the Fairs of Champagne, imports of cloth into Venice had stopped altogether. Without Flemish cloth, Venetian dyers had been forced to fire hundreds of workers, pushing the whole economy into a deep recession.

"I know that it can be done, father," insisted Pietro. "We don't need the Fairs of Champagne. We can build a larger ship, a galley able to sail around Spain and France.
We will take leather, spices, and glassware to Bruges and then return with a full cargo of cloth."

During the next weeks, Luigi and Pietro Alvise called relentlessly on other merchants in Venice until they managed to line up 100 investors ready to fund the construction of a double-deck galley.

The new ship had two masts and weighed 500 tons, something unheard of. Until that moment, Venetian galleys had possessed only one deck and had rarely exceeded 200 tons.

Pietro Alvise's double-deck galley was funded, designed, and built in the middle of the worst economic recession that the Serenissima Republic had ever experienced. In June of 1314, the ship sailed away from the Venetian Lagoon, arriving two months later in Bruges.

The trade expedition was a resounding success and served as a basis for Venetian domination of world commerce during the following two hundred years.

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by Ipiepiora under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

In the worst possible moment


"What you are proposing is impossible, Pietro," admonished Luigi Alvise, shaking his head. "Many have tried before and no one has succeeded. It's better if we wait until the market recovers."

Pietro Alvise looked at his father and took in a deep breath. It was imperative that he found the right words.
If he could not convince his own father, how would he be able to convince anyone else?

"That's the point, father," emphasized Pietro. "The market is not going to recover. Don't you see the rising interest rates? Aren't our friends going bankrupt one after the other?"

Undecided, the old Alvise stared at his son. Who could deny that the economic situation was catastrophic? For decades, a 20% interest rate had been the norm in Venice, but in 1314, it was almost impossible to find anyone to lend you money at any rate.

Since the King of France had forbidden Flemish merchants to take part in the Fairs of Champagne, imports of cloth into Venice had stopped altogether. Without Flemish cloth, Venetian dyers had been forced to fire hundreds of workers, pushing the whole economy into a deep recession.

"I know that it can be done, father," insisted Pietro. "We don't need the Fairs of Champagne. We can build a larger ship, a galley able to sail around Spain and France.
We will take leather, spices, and glassware to Bruges and then return with a full cargo of cloth."

During the next weeks, Luigi and Pietro Alvise called relentlessly on other merchants in Venice until they managed to line up 100 investors ready to fund the construction of a double-deck galley.

The new ship had two masts and weighed 500 tons, something unheard of. Until that moment, Venetian galleys had possessed only one deck and had rarely exceeded 200 tons.

Pietro Alvise's double-deck galley was funded, designed, and built in the middle of the worst economic recession that the Serenissima Republic had ever experienced. In June of 1314, the ship sailed away from the Venetian Lagoon, arriving two months later in Bruges.

The trade expedition was a resounding success and served as a basis for Venetian domination of world commerce during the following two hundred years.

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by Ipiepiora under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]