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The City-State in Europe, 1000-1600Hinterland, Territory, Region$
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Tom Scott

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199274604

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199274604.001.0001

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Survival and transformation, 1450–1600

Survival and transformation, 1450–1600

(p.193) 6 Survival and transformation, 1450–1600
The City-State in Europe, 1000-1600

Tom Scott

Oxford University Press

City‐states after 1500 were not a spent force; rather, they survived by transformation and adjustment, even if their increasingly aristocratic governments have been denounced as oligarchies which betrayed republican liberty. The Swiss Confederation continued to exert a political pull, though sometimes by overt aggression (Bernese conquest of the Vaud). The Dutch United Provinces display some similarities with city‐states. Many cities bargained with their rulers (especially capital cities and ports as outlets of commercial empires) to carve out autonomy. Others adapted to foreign rule internally or entered into new commercial/financial alliances externally. In Italy, the attraction of the city‐state encouraged lesser towns to emulate them, even acquiring their own small contadi (quasi‐città). Only a very few city‐states disappeared, in the sense of being stripped of territory and autonomy.

Keywords:   city‐state survival, oligarchy, Dutch United Provinces, Bern, Vaud, ‘bargaining cities’, quasi‐città

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