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In Their Majesties’ Service: The Career of Francesco De Gratta (1613-1676) as a Royal Servant and Trader in Gdańsk
Södertörn University, School of Historical and Contemporary Studies, History.
2017 (English)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This study analyses the administrative and economic career of Francesco De Gratta (1613–1676) as Royal Postmaster, Royal Secretary, and trader within the postal and fiscal systems of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. This investigation focuses mainly on his network and career strategies and is based on various sources from a number of European archives and libraries, mainly those situated in Italy, Poland and Germany.

The study presents the family De Gratta and the familial social actions that Francesco used in order to root his children and family in the Polish-Lithuanian noble culture. Next, the analysis shows that the career of Francesco De Gratta was inextricably correlated with the establishment of the early modern royal postal system in Gdańsk (the city of Gdańsk fulfilled an important bridging role within the Poland-Lithuanian Commonwealth) as well as his close contacts with different Polish kings and queens.

The career followed distinct stages, tying him ever closer with the Crown, the nobility as well as the merchants in Gdańsk. It all started with his position as Head Postmaster in Gdańsk, in 1654. In 1661, he became Postmaster General of Royal Prussia, Courland, Semigallia and Livonia. After these initial steps, Francesco immersed in creditor activities and close contacts with the Royal Prussian cities, royal authorities, and not the least different Polish mint masters. He also got involved in the potash trade with his later son-in-law Jan Wawrzyniec Wodzicki, first as his factor and later as a co-owner of Wodzicki’s company. The study finally traces his social and economic advancement by the analysis of Francesco De Gratta’s legacies and their importance for his heirs’ social status.

The summary compares the career of Francesco De Gratta with that of other postmasters and mint masters of Italian origin in Poland-Lithuania.

Abstract [sv]

Denna studie analyserar Francesco De Grattas (1613-1676) ekonomiska och administrativa karriär som kunglig postmästare, kunglig sekreterare och köpman i det polsk-litauiska samväldet. Denna undersökning är främst inriktad på nätverks- och karriärsanalys och bygger på olika arkivkällor från en rad europeiska arkiv och bibliotek, främst från Italien, Polen och Tyskland.

Studien presenterar familjen De Gratta och de familjära sociala strategier som Francesco använde för att förankra sin familj i det polsk-litauiska samväldets adelskultur. Därefter visar analysen att De Grattas karriär kan förstås mot bakgrund av upprättandet av det tidigmoderna kungliga postsystemet i Gdańsk (Gdańsk hade en viktig överbryggande roll inom Polen-Litauen), liksom hans nära kontakter med olika polska kungar och drottningar.

Hans karriär följde olika distinkta steg som möjliggjorde för honom att närma sig kronan, adeln och köpmännen i Gdańsk. År 1654 blev han huvudpostmästare i Gdańsk och 1661 fick han ämbetet som huvudpostmästare för Kungliga Preussen, Kurland, Semgallen och Livland. Senare utvecklade Francesco De Gratta sin kreditverksamhet parallellt med utbyggnaden av sitt kontaktnätverk med kungliga preussiska städer, kungliga myndigheter och inte minst olika polska myntmästare. Han blev också involverad i handel med pottaska (kaliumkarbonat) tillsammans med sin svärson Jan Wawrzyniec Wodzicki, först som hans agent och senare som delägare i Wodzickis företag. Slutligen spårar studien Francesco De Grattas sociala och ekonomiska framåtskridande genom en analys av hans arv och dess betydelse för hans arvingars sociala status.

Sammanfattningsvis jämförs Francesco De Grattas karriär med andra postmästare och myntmästare av italienskt ursprung i Polen-Litauen.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Huddinge: Södertörns högskola, 2017. , 363 p.
Series
Södertörn Doctoral Dissertations, ISSN 1652-7399 ; 133
Keyword [en]
De Gratta, Career, Network, Nobility, Merchants, Early Modern Times, Royal Mail, Postmaster, Mint Service, Credit, Potash, Royal Secretary, Poland-Lithuania, Brandenburg-Prussia, Baltic Sea, Italy, Poland, Gdańsk
National Category
History
Research subject
Historical Studies; Baltic and East European studies
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-32304Local ID: 1551/42/2011ISBN: 978-91-87843-85-3 (print)ISBN: 978-91-87843-86-0 (electronic)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:sh-32304DiVA: diva2:1084343
Public defence
2017-04-21, MA624, Alfred Nobels allé 7, Huddinge, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Projects
Information Infrastructure in the Baltic Area. Nodes, News and News Agents, c. 1650 - 1700
Funder
The Foundation for Baltic and East European Studies, A019-11
Available from: 2017-03-30 Created: 2017-03-24 Last updated: 2017-03-31Bibliographically approved

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