Danzig in the 16th century
With passage through the Sound the separating Sweden and Denmark increasing in the late 14th century Scottish trade with the eastern Baltic, especially Danzig and Königsberg, grew quickly. Dendrochronology shows, for example, that timbers in Queen Mary's House in St Andrews, came from this area in the 14th century.
As the records on this demonstrate (largely transcriptions of the Wedderburne's Compt Buik showing ships arriving at Dundee), by the 16th century a wide range of goods were being traded with Danzig.
Danzig was an autonomous city during most of the 16th century and, as the Hansa declined and the power of the various Teutonic orders waned, it prospered especially as a result of its massive grain trade. With the counter-reformation came pressure to reduce the power of the protestant city council and King Sigismund of Poland tried to impose the Statuta Karnkowiana upon the city. This was largely ignored until Sigismund was succeeded by Stephan Bathory. Danzig City Council refused to pay homage to the Polish throne until the city's old autonomy was recognised. This was too much for Bathory who laid siege to the city in 1577. The siege was resisted and a negotiated settlement in which the city paid 200,000 Gulden to the Polish crown saw the autonomy of the city continue.
It was in the 16th century that the settlment of New Scotland appeared in Danzig. Entries in the Mariners and Voyages section of the site show many entries for Tayside emigrants in the Bürgerbuch. The city still has two districts called Stare and Nowe Szkoty, Old and New Scotland.
The map, which hangs in the Central Maritime Museum in Gdansk (Centralne Muzeum Morskie) showing early Polish trade routes has a mark where Dundee should be although it is labelled Edinburgh.
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© Douglas MacKenzie, 1994
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