Small towns in early modern Europe


Small towns in early modern Europe

edited by Peter Clark

(Themes in international urban history)

Cambridge University Press, 1995

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Includes bibliographical references(p. 295-301) and index



Despite the great wave of publications on European cities and towns in the pre-industrial period, little has been written about the thousands of small towns which played a key role in the economic, social and cultural life of early modern Europe. This collection, written by leading experts, redresses that imbalance. It provides the first comparative overview of European small towns from the fifteenth to the early nineteenth century, examining their position in the urban hierarchy, demographic structures, economic trends, relations with the countryside, and political and cultural developments. Case studies discuss networks in all the major European countries, as well as looking at the distinctive world of small towns in the more 'peripheral' countries of Scandinavia and central Europe. A wide-ranging editorial introduction puts individual chapters in historical perspective.


  • Editorial preface
  • 1. Introduction Peter Clark
  • 2. The mainstays of the urban fringe: Norwegian small towns 1500-1800 Finn-Einar Eliassen
  • 3. Small towns in the periphery: population and economy of small towns in Sweden and Finland during the early modern period Sven Lilja
  • 4. Small towns in eastern central Europe Vera Bacskai
  • 5. Small towns in England 1550-1850: national and regional trends Peter Clark
  • 6. The cultural role of small towns in England 1600-1800 Michael Reed
  • 7. Small towns in early modern Ireland Raymond Gillespie
  • 8. In search of the small town in early nineteenth-century France Bernard Lepetit
  • 9. Small towns in early modern Germany: the case of Hesse 1500-1800 Holger Graf
  • 10. Demography and hierarchy: the small towns and the urban network in sixteenth-century Flanders Peter Stabel
  • 11. Domestic demand and urbanization in the eighteenth century: demographic and functional evidence from the small towns of Brabant Bruno Blonde
  • 12. The small towns of northern Italy in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries: an overview Peter Musgrave
  • 13. Cities, towns and small towns in Castile 1500-1800 Juan Gelabert
  • Bibliography
  • Index.

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