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Shetland’s Trade with Northwest German Territories during the Seventeenth and Early Eighteenth Century
Kathrin Zickermann

Journal of the North Atlantic, Special Volume 4 (2013): 43–51

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43 K. Zickermann 2013 Journal of the North Atlantic Special Volume 4 Introduction From the early twentieth century, historians highlighted the important commercial links which existed between Shetland and the cities of Bremen and Hamburg during the early modern period (Fig. 1). Based on contemporary reports and trade records, scholars such as Ernst Baasch, Klaus Friedland, and Hance D. Smith established the general trade pattern that evolved around the export of whitefish like cod and ling caught in the inshore waters of the Scottish Northern Isles.1 This pattern saw German ships sailing to Shetland in early spring before returning in late August or early September. The merchants, who were either acting as individuals or were organized in companies, exchanged goods directly from their ship or set up booths on the shore where they offered commodities consisting of fishing equipment, household items, essential foodstuffs like meal and wheat as well as non-essentials such as beer and tobacco (Friedland 1963:91, Shaw 1980:173, Smith 1984:15–17).2 Some merchants also arrived with bullion. Shetland exports of white and other sea fish were complemented by hides, skins, tallow, and feathers, or butter and fish oil that had been paid in kind by the Shetlanders to the landowners (Friedland 1963:91, Shaw 1980:173, Smith 1984:15–17). The trade developed from the fifteenth century when Bremen merchants started to visit the islands. Hamburg traders began to travel to Shetland on a regular basis from 1547. They had previously focused on commercial exchange with Faroe, but regulations imposed by the Danish crown had affected this trade and directed the Hamburgers towards Shetland (Friedland 1963:90–91, Smith 1984:12). After the Danish monarch Christian IV prohibited Bremen’s and Hamburg’s trade with Iceland in 1602, trade with the islands increased even further (Baasch 1894:312). While these observations on the Shetland-German trade are generally correct, scholars engaging with the topic have overlooked the complex transactions pertaining to this commercial exchange. In particular, they omitted the involvement of Scottish merchants in the trade process, implying Shetland’s dependency on the appearance of the German merchants each year. In doing so, they failed to comprehensively analyze the question of who profited from the commercial exchange. Furthermore, the impact of international conflict and the importance of the complex political situation of Northwest Germany have so far not been taken into account. This article seeks to address some of these gaps in our knowledge by drawing on old and new sources maintained in German and Scottish archives. It especially emphasizes the involvement of Scottish merchants and raises the question if previous scholarship has underestimated Shetland’s contacts with the outside world. Shetland and the Northwest German Territories The analysis of Shetland’s commercial exchanges necessitates an understanding of the complex political situation in Northwest Germany. The territories in this geo-political region consisted not only of the cities of Bremen and Hamburg, but also of the counties of Holstein and Holstein-Pinneberg, the Stifte3 of Bremen and Verden (duchies under Swedish administration from 1648), the county of Oldenburg, and the duchy of Braunschweig-Lüneburg (Fig. 2). The lower parts of the rivers Elbe and Weser and their tributaries connected these territories with each other and the North Sea, facilitating contacts across political borders. Shetland’s Trade with Northwest German Territories during the Seventeenth and Early Eighteenth Century Kathrin Zickermann* Abstract - Throughout the early modern period, significant commercial links existed between the Shetland Islands and the cities of Bremen and Hamburg. These links, which predominantly evolved around the export of whitefish and herring from Shetland, have received some scholarly attention in the past. However, older research tends to reduce the commercial exchange to a simple bilateral affair and to marginalize the involvement of Scottish merchants. This article aims to address some of these misconceptions by highlighting the complexity of Shetland-German trade relations. In particular, the article analyzes the significance of territories bordering the cities of Bremen and Hamburg, the participation of Scottish traders, and the use of Scandinavian flags of convenience. In doing so, it offers a fresh perspective on Shetland’s commercial exchange, based on old and new sources maintained in German and Scottish archives. Across the Sólundarhaf: Connections between Scotland and the Nordic World Selected Papers from the Inaugural St. Magnus Conference 2011 Journal of the North Atlantic *University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI), Centre for History, Burghfield House, Cnoc an Lobht, Dornoch IV25 3HN, UK; kathrin.zickermann@uhi.ac.uk. 2013 Special Volume 4:43–51 K. Zickermann 2013 Journal of the North Atlantic Special Volume 4 44 Figure 1. Map of Shetland with the location of Burra Voe. © Department of Prehistory and Historical Archaelogy, University of Vienna. 45 K. Zickermann 2013 Journal of the North Atlantic Special Volume 4 Free access to the rivers was fiercely contested. Various conflicts in Northwest Germany evolved around the control of the waterways, which were vital for trade and military supplies. Those local and Scandinavian powers who were ruling Bremen Stift, the southern parts of Holstein, or Oldenburg could furthermore exercise control over the cities of Bremen and Hamburg, depending on their own military and political force. The rulers of Holstein (Christian IV of Denmark-Norway, 1588–1648)4 and Oldenburg (Anton Günther, 1603–1667), for example, erected toll stations at Glückstadt (Elbe) and at Elsfleth (Weser) and thus profited indirectly from the cities’ trade, including their commercial exchanges with Shetland (Loose 1963, Mammen 1998).5 However, as will become clear, the proximity of ports under foreign control was not always a hindrance to Bremen and Hamburg merchants, but could be turned into an advantage. Both Bremen (city) and Hamburg formed commercial hubs within Northwest Germany, supplying their hinterland with vital commodities but also trading with places further afield (Lindberg 2008, Prange 1963, Reißmann 1975, Witzendorff 1955). Hamburg merchants in particular developed an entrepôt system in which commodities from Scandinavia and the British Isles were traded through their city to the Iberian Peninsula and vice versa. These commercial contacts were to a large degree developed and maintained by three groups of foreigners—the English Merchant Adventurers, Portuguese Jews, and Dutch Calvinist and Lutheran migrants—who received extensive privileges from the city's authorities (Lindberg 2008:265–287). Exports from Shetland had to be integrated into the cities’ trade systems, either serving the local, the regional, or the international market. It is here that we find one of the biggest gaps in our knowledge of the commodity exchange between the Shetland Islands and Northwest Germany. We know very little about the precise market conditions for whitefish or other Shetland commodities in Bremen and Hamburg. For example, scholars have established that cod was the most important fish species imported Figure 2. Map of the Bremen and Verden, © Swedish Riksarkivet (Kart. o. ritn. utan hand proveniens, No. 517). K. Zickermann 2013 Journal of the North Atlantic Special Volume 4 46 to Bremen in the first half of the seventeenth century (Witzendorff 1955:154). However, it not only arrived from Shetland, but also from Bergen and— until 1602—from Iceland. Norwegian cod traded via Bergen was considered to be of premium quality and thus must have represented strong competition to the Northern Isles. As the extant excise registers do not normally record the origin of fish imports, it is, however, impossible to come to a conclusion on the significance of Shetland fish compared to that from other destinations.6 Furthermore, it is unknown which quantities of fish were consumed within the city. Contemporary documents suggest that Shetland fish was sometimes re-exported into Bremen’s hinterland. In 1619, Bremen’s senate ordered quality checks on cod which was due to be sent from the city following complaints about the quality of Shetland fish.7 However, conclusive research that demonstrates the consumption and destination of Shetland commodities after they had entered Bremen or Hamburg is so far missing. The Involvement of Scottish Merchants The exact number of Bremen merchants trading with Shetland also remains unclear. The analysis of sample years of the Weser toll registers reveals that in 1654, 1664, and 1673 two to three Bremen ships engaged annually in the Shetland trade.8 They thus seem to have formed a relatively small group of merchants, at least for most of the seventeenth century, which may have contributed to the fact that they—unlike their Hamburg counterparts—were not organized in a mercantile society, although Bremen’s merchants trading with Shetland made united requests to the senate for specific purposes (Prange 1963:39). Like their counterparts in Bremen, Hamburg’s merchants depended more strongly on imports of whitefish from the Northern Isles after trade with Iceland became prohibited. Between 1604 and 1624, three to eight ships returned annually from the islands as opposed to one to two in previous years (Baasch 1894:312). Between 1644 and 1646, no fewer than 21 Hamburg merchants engaged in Shetland trade (eleven of whom sailed their own ships to the islands), and in 1647, fourteen others were recorded as leaving Hamburg with Shetland stated as their destination (Smith 1984:14). Hamburg’s merchants trading with Shetland (Hitlandfahrer) were organized within the society of merchants trading with Iceland (Islandfahrer). During the seventeenth century, this organization (which was merged with the mariners’ poor house in 1657) was purely concerned with poor relief of its members, financed by contributions of merchants and crew members engaged in the Shetland trade (Reißmann 1975:182–183). Its records reveal that contact between Hamburg traders and Shetland merchants did not solely occur within the islands and exceeded simple commercial exchange. Some of the Hamburg ships sailing between the city and the islands were partly crewed by Scots like Laurence Sinclair who sailed with the Hamburg skipper Hans Meier in 1593 and paid a small sum to the society’s poor box.9 Given the trading pattern with Shetland, such men would most likely have spent the winter months in Hamburg. Going by their comparatively large payments to the poor box, Andrew and James Mowat engaged themselves to a larger scale than their fellow countrymen and even several Hamburgers, indicating that their role went beyond that of mere sailors. The contributions to the poor box signify the involvement of several Scots with what was essentially a Hamburg institution (Reißmann 1975:182–183). It is, however, unclear whether they—as non-citizens— qualified for poor relief or whether their payments were simply a compulsory fee. However, James Mowatt’s engagement at Hamburg went further than his payments to this organization. On 7 May 1631, he received communion in the church of the English Merchant Adventurers, signifying a close connection to the company.10 The engagement of Scots in the maritime labor market, occasioned by fishing, may have led to further limited permanent migration to Northwest Germany. For example, in 1624, Peter Sinclair, almost certainly a relative of Laurence Sinclair, acquired citizen rights in Hamburg, though which profession he took up and how long he stayed is unclear.11 Two years later, James Murray married Margaret Davidson (almost certainly also a Scot) within the Adventurers’ church. Although he was not among the contributors to the poor box, his relatives Angus Murray (contributing in 1617, 1618, 1624, and 1625) and John Murray (contributing in 1624 and 1625) were.12 We can thus assume that James Murray arrived, like them, on board a ship from Shetland, and his marriage indicates that he was planning to stay in Hamburg. Another Scot from Shetland, Andrew Spence, also acquired citizenship in Bremen in 1636 and remained in the city at least until the mid-1640s, when he twice paid taxes as a pearl embroiderer in the guard district called Unserer Lieben Frauen.13 Migration from Shetland to Northwest Germany, albeit very limited (especially when compared with Bergen), thus occurred nevertheless (Pedersen 2005:147). German merchants trading in Shetland participated in financial transactions between Scottish merchants as well as with them. In November 1639, the Bremen citizen Cort Warnke reported that he had 47 K. Zickermann 2013 Journal of the North Atlantic Special Volume 4 received 500 Imperial dollars from John Sinclair of Rapnes (in Orkney) in Shetland which he had paid to the secretary of the Merchant Adventurers in Hamburg, Joseph Averie, on behalf of Sinclair and a merchant called Andrew Smith.14 Averie was to transfer this sum to William Stirling in Scotland who was then to pay it to the Edinburgh merchant William Dick or to another trader, Peter Smith, Andrew Smith’s brother.15 It is not entirely clear why the money had to take this circuitous route to Scotland though the instabilities of financial exchange during the Covenanting Revolution (which broke out in opposition to Charles I’s interference in the affairs of the Presbyterian Church of Scotland) cannot be ruled out. It is most likely that Warnke had sold commodities on behalf of John Sinclair and Andrew Smith and was thus in possession of the 500 Imperial dollars at Bremen. This transaction is clearly an example of Scottish-English- German commercial interaction. We find further examples of Scottish involvement in the Shetland trade from the 1680s. By this period, the Scottish merchant Robert Jolly had settled in Hamburg. From 1685, he and his brother Alexander Jolly, then skipper of the ship Alison of Prestonpans, took part in the Shetland trade. The latter spent the summer of 1685 at Burravoe in Yell, from where he traded with Andrew Bruce of Muness and Andrew Mowat of Garth, exchanging tobacco and other commodities for fish.16 Alexander Jolly undertook two further journeys to Burravoe in 1686 and 1687, where he exchanged commodities with a merchant called Stewart and again Andrew Bruce of Muness.17 These transactions also involved Robert Jolly in Hamburg. Two thirds of the goods shipped to Shetland by Alexander Jolly in 1687 belonged to his brother as did two thirds of the freight from Shetland to Hamburg.18 Importantly, the Shetland network of Robert and Alexander Jolly had a branch in Scotland. Muness and his brother Gilbert traded with Alexander Jolly’s brother-in-law, the skipper Stephen Touch junior. Alexander Jolly became involved in their financial transactions when in Burravoe.19 Furthermore, Muness exchanged correspondence with Robert Jolly, transferred by the Edinburgh merchant William Dick and George Jolly at Prestonpans.20 It was either Alexander Jolly or Stephen Touch who facilitated this communication channel from Hamburg to Shetland via Scotland, which differed significantly from the usual bilateral exchanges between the islands and Northwest Germany.21 The Impact of International Warfare Both Scottish and German merchants engaging in the Shetland-German trade were seriously affected by international conflict. Sending commodities to and from the Northern Isles in Hamburg or Bremen ships proved to be especially risky during the Nine Years’ War (1688–1697) in which several Hamburg vessels were lost to French capers off Shetland (Smith 1984:38–39). Sweden and Denmark remained neutral in this conflict and sealed a treaty of mutual defence on 10 March 1691 (renewed in 1693) (Tiedemann 1970:35). Thus, Hamburg skippers turned to Altona and Glückstadt to receive Danish passes and flags of convenience. This strategy required them to find Danish citizens who were willing to become, officially at least, owners of part of their vessels (Tiedemann 1970:36). However, it was not only Hamburg citizens who operated in this way. In 1693, Robert Jolly sent the ship Resolution of Altona under the Scottish captain James Bruce with a Royal Danish pass to Shetland.22 Bruce was without doubt a relative of Jolly’s business partner Andrew Bruce of Muness (Grant 1893:23).23 His Danish flag did not prevent attack by a French privateer on his voyage to Shetland and a costly ransom of 1000 Imperial dollars. Worse, his ship sank on its return journey on 22 August, only half a mile away from Shetland.24 Despite this loss, Bruce continued to engage himself in the Shetland trade as evidenced by ongoing factoring duties on behalf of Robert Jolly in 1698.25 After 1692, Hamburg and Bremen skippers relocated to Swedish-administered Stade (situated at the southern banks of the river Elbe) in search of alternative protection to Danish sea passes.26 This shift was in response to the attempt by Christian V of Denmark to force them to become citizens for ten years and to unload their imports on his territory once they had acquired Danish protection. Hamburg’s senate had to free their citizens from this requirement by paying a heavy ransom (Tiedemann 1970:36, 160).27 Thereafter, the Hamburg skipper Claus Fasche received a Swedish pass (12 November 1694) to travel to Shetland, which required some negotiations as the Stade authorities knew that he had previously sailed under a Danish flag (Tiedemann 1970:160). However, it was only during the War of the Spanish Succession (1701–1714) that sailing under a Swedish flag became safer than under an Imperial one. The majority of Hamburg and Bremen skippers trading with Shetland became citizens of Stade from 1703, which was the precondition for receiving a Swedish sea pass (Tiedemann 1970:39–41). In most cases, this citizenship was only a token, with the acquiesence of Stade’s senate (and the Swedish government), who profited from the presence of the skippers (Tiedemann 1970:41– 46). Between March 1704 and July 1707, no fewer than 26 ships left Stade for Shetland.28 Six of these were under the command of Hermann Bardewisch K. Zickermann 2013 Journal of the North Atlantic Special Volume 4 48 ships as well.35 The latter traded with Robert Hamilton (brother of George Hamilton, Earl of Orkney), whom his relative, Johann Otto Bossow, described as his acquaintance.36 Unfortunately, we do not know how many ships sailed from Hamburg and Bremen or from Glückstadt and Altona to Shetland throughout the time in question and are thus unable to gauge the complete number of merchants engaged in the trade during this period. Nevertheless, the Stade records reveal that several Bremen and Hamburg merchants were commercially active in Shetland and in contact with a Scottish merchant in Hamburg at the beginning of the eighteenth century who was dealing in whitefish and other commodities. Conclusion The Northwest German territories undoubtedly provided an important outlet for Shetland export, in particular for whitefish. Previous scholarship has claimed that during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries Shetland’s trade was firmly in the hands of German merchants. However, while it is true that Bremen and Hamburg traders dominated the commercial exchange, Scottish merchants and mariners also participated in and profited from this trade. Moreover, Shetland’s relations with Northwest Germany were less bilateral than previously assumed, but rather featured at least a triangular exchange involving the Scottish mainland. Thus, the outside contacts of the Shetland Isles were far more complex than has previously been assumed. This insight raises the question as to who profited from the commercial exchange. The general German- Shetlandic trade pattern implies the dependence of the Scottish Northern Isles on the appearance of the German merchants each year. However, it can be argued that the cities of Bremen and Hamburg likewise depended on the intake of whitefish and other commodities to feed the urban and regional population. Although we are unable to quantify the extent to which Shetlandic commodities covered the cities’ essential food supply, the fact that German ships sailed to and from Shetland throughout the seventeenth and early eighteenth century demonstrates that the islands provided an important market for some local merchants. Given the risk involved for ships during times of international conflict, it can further be argued that the Shetlanders were in the advantage, leaving the German merchants to deal with the dangers of shipping. Indeed, one Swedish source confirms that some contemporaries thought that the described trade pattern was a choice of the Shetlanders, rather than a charity act of the Bremen and Hamburg merchants. A description of the Shetland (1704, 1706), Hinrich Goosmann (1704, 1705), and Helmke Hartmann (1706, 1707) of Bremen (Tiedemann 1970:166–189). The other twenty journeys were undertaken on behalf of the Stade registered merchants Fredrick and Johann Otto Bossow, Nicolaus and Joachim Sauke, as well as Daniel Thomsen, who all originated in Hamburg (Tiedemann 1970:41, 166–189). Contrary to their Bremen counterparts, Hamburg traders thus did not sail the ships that carried their commodities to and from Shetland during this period. However, Johann Otto Bossow (1703, 1704, 1705) and Nicolaus Sauke (1704, 1705, 1706, 1707) frequently accompanied the vessels (Tiedemann 1970:166–189).29 Scottish traders also remained involved in the Shetland trade during this period. By 1701, Robert Jolly had returned to Hamburg from an unsuccessful trip to the Scottish colony in Darien, Panama. In January of the same year—before the outbreak of war—he suggested the establishment of a Scottish company trading with Shetland to his business partner, the Edinburgh merchant Alexander Pyper. This company was to gain an estimated profit of 40 percent per voyage (Smith 1984:19, Smout 1958).30 The subsequent move of Hamburg traders to Stade and their continued independent activity in Shetland reveals that Jolly’s project did not materialize, possibly leading to his departure from the city. Nonetheless other Scots arrived: the Lerwick merchant Arthur Nicolson of Bullister and Lochend visited Hamburg after having traded with the city since 1699.31 He and Charles Mitchell of Uresland (writer in Edinburgh), had jointly sent a ship to Hamburg using Frederick Bossow as their local contact.32 In 1705, Nicolson corresponded with Charles Mitchell, for whom he was to sort out problems which had occurred when Joachim Sauke protested against two bills Mitchell had drawn on him on behalf of his brother James Mitchell of Girlesta (Jolly’s former business partner).33 According to Mitchell, Bremen and Hamburg’s trade with Shetland had become threatened by the fact that German merchants had not bought the expected quantity of butter and oil in the previous year. The Chamberlain of Orkney and Shetland, George Robertson of Newbigging, resolved to set up a trade connection with Leith instead. In order to prevent this, Nicolson was to persuade Hamburg merchants to buy the commodities on their return to the islands.34 Nicolson replied that Joachim and Nicolaus Sauke as well as two Bremen merchants called Bardiens and Helmke Lachmann (almost certainly Bardewisch and Hackmann) were the only traders resolved to trade with Shetland during this year, but that he hoped to convince Mrs. Thomsen (a relative of Daniel Thomsen) and Frederick Bossow to send 49 K. Zickermann 2013 Journal of the North Atlantic Special Volume 4 ties expressed massive doubts over the real origin of “Swedish” vessels calling at their ports, causing the Swedish government to demand more scrutiny from the Stade officials when issuing sea passes (Shaw 1980:180–181). This tightening led to a drastic decline in Swedish passes for Bremen and Hamburg merchants, including those trading with Shetland. However, the fact that Shetland-German trade links survived well into the eighteenth century demonstrates once again the importance of Shetland commodities for Bremen’s and Hamburg’s markets and highlights the ability of Shetland traders when taking over the role of their German counterparts. Literature Cited Baasch, E. 1894. Hamburgs Seeschiffahrt und Waarenhandel vom Ende des 16. bis zur Mitte des 17. Jahrhunderts. Zeitschrift für Hamburgische Geschichte 9:295–420. Brill, E.V.K. 1982. Whalsey and the Bremen connection. Shetland Life 17:10–17. Forte, A.D.M., E.M. Furgol, and S. Murdoch. 2004. The Burgh of Stade and the Maryland Court of Admiralty of 1672. Forum Navale 60:94–112. Friedland, K. 1963. Hanseatic merchants and their trade with Shetland. Pp. 86–95, In Donald J. Withrington (Ed.). Shetland and the Outside World 1469–1969. Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK. Grant, F. 1893. The County Families of the Zetland Islands. T and J Manson, Lerwick, UK. Lindberg, E. 2008. The rise of Hamburg as a global marketplace in the seventeenth century: A comparative political economic perspective. Comparative Studies in Society and History 50/3:265–287. Loose, H.-D. 1963. Hamburg und Christian IV. von Dänemark während des Dreißigjährigen Krieges: Ein Beitrag zur Geschichte der hamburgischen Reichsunmittelbarkeit. Christians, Hamburg, Germany. Mammen, T. 1998. Schiffahrt auf der Weser in der 2. Hälfte des 17. Jahrhunderts. Niedersächsisches Jahrbuch für Landesgeschichte 70:73–92. Pedersen, N. 2005. Scottish Immigration to Bergen in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries. In A. Grosjean and S. Murdoch (Eds.). Scottish Communities Abroad in the Early Modern Period. Brill Academic Publishers, Leiden, Holland and Boston, MA, USA. Prange, R. 1963. Die bremische Kaufmannschaft des 16. und 17. Jahrhunderts in sozialgeschichtlicher Sicht. Schünemann, Bremen, Germany. Reißmann, M. 1975. Die hamburgische Kaufmannschaft des 17. Jahrhunderts in sozialgeschichtlicher Sicht. Christians, Hamburg, Germany. Rössner, P.R. 2008. Scottish Trade with German Ports 1700–1770. Franz Steiner Verlag, Stuttgart, Germany. Shaw, F.J. 1980. The Northern and Western Isles of Scotland: Their Economy and Society in the Seventeenth Century. John Donald Publishers, Edinburgh, UK. Smith, H.D. 1984. Shetland Life and Trade. John Donald Publishers, Edinburgh, UK. Islands by the Swedish chancellor in the Swedish State council in 1640 reads: She lies beside islands called Orkney, has five good harbors and outlets; the people there speak mostly Norwegian and are lazy and unused to work; they only feed themselves on what they earn from foreigners who fish off their land, whose nets they mend and dry.37 Due to the complex political situation in Northwest Germany and other, external factors, Shetland’s trade with Bremen and Hamburg featured a Scandinavian dimension, which has also been neglected by previous scholarship. Danish-Norwegian competition determined the increase or decrease in trade with Shetland whitefish. It was only after the Danish monarch, Christian IV, prohibited Hanseatic trade with Iceland that German merchants increasingly went to Shetland. Furthermore, cod arriving through Bergen competed with the produce of the Shetland Isles. Rivalry from Scandinavian commodities probably extended to the re-sale of commodities from Bremen and Hamburg to the cities hinterlands. It has to be assumed that Holstein was at least partially supplied with Danish fish arriving from Iceland via Glückstadt or Altona (a port situated just a few miles outside Hamburg), whereas the Swedish-administered territories were probably more dependent on the intake of Scottish fish via Bremen and Hamburg. However, this hypothesis is impossible to prove until further research has been conducted. Furthermore, Danish monarchs indirectly profited from Scotland’s trade with the city of Bremen and Hamburg by collecting tolls on the rivers Weser and Elbe. Last but not least, the issuing of Danish and Swedish sea passes in alternative ports such as Glückstadt or Stade facilitated the trade between the German ports and Shetland in the later decades of the seventeenth century when Bremen and Hamburg ships were at risk from French privateers. After the Anglo-Scottish Parliamentary union of 1707, the distribution system of the Shetland-German trade changed drastically, with Shetland merchants taking over the role of the German merchants after a short cessation of trade (Rössner 2008:119– 120). Scholars have argued that the reasons for the changing trade pattern predominantly lay in the application of the English Navigation Acts, which hindered German mercantile activity within the islands (Shaw 1980:181, Smith 1984:38–39). They also referred to the complicating factor of the ongoing War of the Spanish Succession (Shaw 1980:180–181). While these factors undoubtedly had an impact, the unavailability of Swedish sea passes after 1708 also took its toll. During that year, Portuguese authoriK. Zickermann 2013 Journal of the North Atlantic Special Volume 4 50 Smout, T.C. 1958. An old scheme for Shetland: Opposition to the Hansa. Shetland News. Tiedemann, C. 1970. Die Schiffahrt des Herzogtums Bremen zur Schwedenzeit (1645–1712). Selbstverlag des Stader Geschichts- und Heimatvereins, Stade, Germany. Witzendorff, H.J. von. 1955. Bremens Handel im 16 und 17. Jahrhundert. Bremisches Jahrbuch 44:128–174. . Endnotes 1The Hamburg historian Ernst Baasch (1894) was one of the first historians to notice the commercial exchange between Shetland and Northwest Germany. Historians who have since engaged with the topic include E.V.K. Brill (1982), Klaus Friedland (1963), Frances Shaw (1980), and Hance D. Smith (1984). 2For a contemporary description of this trading pattern see John Brand, A Brief Despription of Orkney, Zetland, Pightland Firth and Caithness (Edinburgh, 1701), pp. 131–133, or Thomas Gifford of Busta, Historical Description of the Zetland Islands in the Year 1733 (Edinburgh, 1879), pp. 25–26. 3The term “Stift” describes a secular territory under the rule of a bishop. 4Christian IV ruled Holstein as duke of the Holy Roman Empire. 5The Danish monarch collected duties on the river Elbe from 1628 until the peace of Brömsebro (1645) (which ended the Torstenson war between Sweden and Denmark- Norway) forced him to abandon the toll. The count of Oldenburg received an Imperial privilege to collect a toll on the river Weser in 1623. However, it was only after 1654 that he was able to efficiently control all ships sailing up and down the river. In 1667, Oldenburg fell under Danish control, enabling the Danish monarchs to claim part of the Weser toll. 6An exception is the (almost complete) excise toll register of 1539, which reveals that 78,199 pounds, 1 last, and 1 “Packen” fish arrived at Bremen from Iceland, as against to 40,400 pounds from Shetland (according to Witzendorff’s [1955:167] analysis). A comprehensive analysis of the Weser toll registers (1653/4–1679) in regard to fish imports is so far missing. 7Staatsarchiv Bremen (StAB), Hitlandfahrer, R.11.kk., Instruction, Bremen Senate, 30 September 1619. 8Staatsarchiv Oldenburg (StAO), Weserzollregister, Best. 20-AB-D2, Elsfleth, 22 May, 8 June, 5 November 1654; Best. 20-AB-D10, Elsfleth, 24 July, 17, 23 October 1664; Best. 20-AB-D18, Elsfleth, 2, 3 and 8 May 1673. The Wesertoll registers survive for the years between 1653/4–1679. 9Staatsarchiv Hamburg (StAH), Genealogische Sammlungen, 741–742, Verzeichnis der Hamburger Hitland-Fahrer 1547–1646. The same source reveals that a dozen other Scots have similarly been identified as crew on Hamburg ships. Laurence Sinclair’s relative Andrew Sinclair sailed on several Hamburg ships between 1607 and 1616. Other Scots sailing on Hamburg ships to Shetland included Angus Murray (1617, 1618, 1624, 1625), John Murray (1624, 1625), Gilbert Harde (1625), Thomas Sinclair (1626). Other individuals such as Henrich Manneken (1630, 1632), his relative Hans Manneken (1630), Andrew and James Mowat (1628, 1630, 1631) as well as another unidentified individual (1643) were on the other specifically registered as Shetlandic. In addition the Hamburg registers list further individuals who are likely to have been Scots such as Andreas Kraffert (Andrew Crawford) (1635). For a list of these individuals see appendix. 10StAH, Kirche des English Court, 512–516, 7 May 1631. The church of the English Merchant Adventurers was the only place in Hamburg where reformed services could legally be held. However, it was a private institution and the Adventurers had agreed with the Hamburg senate that only members of the company could attend such services. StAH, Senat, III-I Cl. VI. No. 2 vol. 5 Fasc. 1 Inv. 1b, Contract Hamburg Senate/ Merchant Adventurers, 1618. 11StAH, Genealogische Sammlungen, 741–742, Register zum Bürgerbuch 1618–1628, 8 July 1624. 12StAH, Genealogische Sammlungen, 741–742, Verzeichnis der Hamburger Hitland-Fahrer 1547–1646. 13StAB, Bürgerbuch der Altstadt 1622–1642, 2-P.8.A.19.a.2.c., 17 November 1636. Spence’s origin was specifically stated as being Shetlandic. Although named after Bremen’s churches, the guard districts were not quite identical with the parishes. Spence’s son Jacob Spence received his citizen rights in 1669, having been a cord maker’s apprentice in 1656 and living in 1668 in the district of St Stephani. StAB, Bürgerbuch der Altstadt 1643–1683, 2-P.8.A.19.a.3.d., 13 April 1669. 14National Archives of Scotland (NAS), Smythe Papers, GD190/3/151/3, Averie to Warnke, Hamburg, 29 November 1639; GD190/3/234/3, Warnke to William Stirling, Bremen, 18 March 1640. 15Ibid. 16NAS, Jolly Papers, RH15/140, Muness to Alexander Jolly, without place, 2 September 1685. 17“Stewart” was probably Laurence Stewart of Bigtoun. See Francis Grant, The County Families of the Zetland Islands (Lerwick, 1893), 295; NAS, Jolly Family, RH15/140, Stewart to Alexander Jolly, without place, 12 August 1686; RH15/140, Bruce to Stephen Touch junior, Ulsta, 18 November 1687. 18NAS, Jolly Papers, RH15/140, Account Robert Jolly to Alexander Jolly, September 1687. 19NAS, Jolly Papers, RH15/140, Muness to Stephen Touch junior, Ulsta, 18 November 1687. 20Ibid. 21Alexander Jolly died in January 1688 leaving his brother to arrange alternative transport. NAS, Jolly Papers, RH15/140, Robert Jolly to Isobel Touch, Hamburg, 17 February 1688. 22StAB, Hitlandfahrer, 2-R.11.kk., Robert Jolly to Bremen Senate, without date/place; Friedland, “Hanseatic Merchants”, 92. A vessel from Altona, also called Resolution, had sailed between Altona and Leith or Kircaldy respectively in 1690 and 1691 under the skipper Dirk Jansen. See NAS, Exchequer Records, E72/15/44, Leith, 29 December 1690; E72/9/32, Fife, 13 February 1691; E72/15/44, Leith, 7 July 1691; E72/15/48, Leith, 2 September 1691. 51 K. Zickermann 2013 Journal of the North Atlantic Special Volume 4 35NAS, Mitchell Papers, RH15/93/16, Arthur Nicolson to Charles Mitchell, Hamburg, 19/30 January 1705. 36Orkney Archives, Earldom of Orkney (Morton), D38/2544, Johann Otto Bossow to George Hamilton, Hamburg, 4 and 5 October 1712 (two letters of identical content but different wording). 37Svenska Riksrådets Protokoll, Vol. 8 (1640/41) (Stockholm, 1898), 85, 4 July 1640. I would like to thank Dr Alexia Grosjean for providing this reference. 23Andrew Bruce had a brother called James. This was possibly the same man. 24StAB, Hitlandfahrer, 2-R.11.kk, Robert Jolly to Bremen Senate, without date/place. 25One task included retrieving outstanding debts from various business partners in Orkney and Shetland, including James Mitchell of Girlesta, Hugh Sinclair of Brugh, Andrew Bruce of Muness and William Craige. See NAS, Register of Deeds, RD2/81/1, Bond, Robert Jolly/ James Bruce, Edinburgh, 22 February 1698. 26Swedish Stade had long been used as a flag of convenience port (Forte 2004). 27As a non-citizen of Hamburg, Jolly was almost certainly exempted from Christian V’s demands, explaining his use of Altona as a port of origin in 1693. 28Based on Tiedemann’s analysis of sea passes issued by the city of Stade. 29Interestingly, Frederick and Johann Otto Bossow did not simply specialise in trade with Shetland but also traded with France and—to a far greater extent—with Portugal probably re-exporting Scottish fish to this destination (Ibid.:164–203). Between 1703 and 1708, 11 skippers applied at least 26 times for sea passes to Portugal (23) or France (3) whose ships were owned by either Frederick or Johann Otto Bossow. Although none of the passes register fish exports, it is inconceivable that the Bossow family did not integrate their Shetland link into their trade pattern with the Iberian Peninsula. 30NAS, Pyper Papers, RH15/101/15, Robert Jolly to Alexander Pyper, Hamburg, 10 January 1701. 31NAS, Mitchell Papers, RH15/93/16, Charles Mitchell to Arthur Nicolson, without place, 2 January 1705; RH15/93/16, Arthur Nicolson to Charles Mitchell, Hamburg 19/30 January 1705. 32NAS, Mitchell Papers, RH15/93/14, Charles Mitchell to Johann Otto Bossow, 12 December 1699. 33NAS, Mitchell Papers, RH15/93/16/13, Charles Mitchell to Arthur Nicolson, Edinburgh, 2 January 1705. 34Ibid. Appendix 1. Scottish crew members on Hamburg ships. Name Year(s) Stated origin Laurence Sinclair 1593 Scotland Andrew Sinclair 1607, 1609, 1613, 1614, 1615, 1616 Angus Murray 1617, 1618, 1624, 1625 Scotland John Murray 1624, 1625 Peter Sinclair 1624 Gilbert Harde 1625 Scotland Thomas Sinclair 1626 Andrew Mowat 1628, 1630, 1631 James Mowat 1628, 1630, 1631 Shetland Hans Manneken 1630 Shetland Henrich Manneken 1630, 1632 Andreas Kraffert (Andrew Crawford?) 1635 Hinrich Martens 1637, 1640 Shetland Hans Bruess (John Bruce?) 1641 N.N. 1643 Shetland Archive Reference: StAH, Genealogische Sammlungen, 741–742, Verzeichnis der Hamburger Hitland-Fahrer 1547–1646.