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What is the Castilian wool trade?

The Castilian wool trade played a crucial role in the economy and politics of Castile during the Middle Ages and the Modern Age, contributing significantly to the kingdom's wealth and its position on the international stage.

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The Castilian wool trade refers to the wool trade in the Kingdom of Castile during the Middle Ages and the Modern Age. Wool was one of the most important products of the Castilian economy during that period, and its trade had a significant impact on the European economy in general.

The breeding of merino sheep in Castile, mainly in Extremadura and Old Castile, boosted the export of quality wool.

Economic importance

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Wool was one of Castile's main exports. Merino sheep farming, especially in regions such as Extremadura and Old Castile, provided a large amount of high-quality wool.


Castile exported high-quality wool to England, Flanders and northern Europe, and was appreciated for its quality in the manufacture of fine fabrics.

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Castile exported large quantities of wool to other European countries, especially England, Flanders and northern Europe. Castilian wool was highly prized for its quality and was used in the production of fine fabrics.

Trade routes

The Castilian wool trade was carried out by land and sea routes to European textile centres, where fabrics were made for international sale.

The purple arrow is the wool trade route

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The Castilian wool trade was carried out through various land and sea trade routes. The wool was transported to textile production centers in Europe, where fabrics were manufactured and then sold on international markets.

Encouragement by the crown

During the reigns of the Catholic Monarchs, the Castilian monarchs encouraged the wool trade through commercial privileges and the encouragement of merino sheep breeding.

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The Castilian monarchs, especially during the reigns of the Catholic Monarchs, actively promoted the wool trade as part of their economic policy. Trade privileges were granted and the expansion of merino sheep breeding was encouraged.

Social and political impact

The wool trade strengthened the power of the Castilian monarchy by generating significant tax revenue and had an impact on the social structure by being associated with the landed nobility.

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The wool trade contributed to the consolidation of the power of the Castilian monarchy, as it provided significant tax revenues. It also had an impact on social organization, as sheep farming and the wool trade were closely linked to the landed nobility.

The wool trade has been and continues to be important for its ability to generate income, stimulate the economy, contribute to local development and foster cultural exchange.

Why was the Castilian wool trade important?