TAMH: Trading Ports

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Elsinore in the 16th century

(Helsingør, Denmark)

From the Tayside ports there were two main routes to the Baltic (as described in the 15th century Hanseatic Segelhandbuch): the Belt route following the east coast of Jutland through the Great Belt or, alternatively, the Sound, along the west coast of what is now Sweden, through the Sound by Elsinore. The Belt route made navigational sense for voyages to Rostock and other Western ports, the Sound for Danzig and the East. Another reason for the popularity of the Belt route in the early sixteenth century was that, although custom tolls were to be paid on both routes, this was far easier to avoid on going through the Belt. The placing by the Danes of a Man-of-War in the Belt in 1555 changed this and the time lost in awaiting clearance at Elsinore was balanced by the market information which could be gleaned there. The Scottish influence in the town was already considerable by the 16th century. The Scottish merchant, Alexander Lyall, was borgmester (mayor) twice and in charge of the Sound Toll. A memorial was erected to him in Sankt Olai's church and his house at 70 Stengade still stands. His influence extended to being adviser to the King and godfather to one of his sons. Descendants of his were also mayors of the town and one was governor of Denmark's colony in India, Trankebar.

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