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Abstract: This paper challenges the conventional wisdom in European economic history that long-distance maritime transport was always more cost-effective than overland trade routes. Thus the majority of historians in the past century have attributed the rapid decline of the medieval Champagne Fairs, governing the textile trades between the Low Countries, northern France, and Italy, to the establishment of an effective and permanent' direct sea-route between Italy and north-west Europe from the early 14th century (though the first, a Genoese galley, can be dated to 1277). The paper concludes by examining the various factors and forces that led to a fall in transport and transaction costs in the international textile trades, via the overland routes, including river routes, between north-west Europe and the Mediterranean basin from the later 15th to early 17th centuries.
JEL Classification: F1;F2;L1;N6;N7