Breed and ”Booze”, naval demand and early modern production

Document type: Conference Papers
Peer reviewed: No
Full text:
Author(s): Karl Bergman
Title: Breed and ”Booze”, naval demand and early modern production
Translated title: Bröd och brännvin, flottans efterfrågan tidigmodern produktion
Conference name: European Urban History Conference
Year: 2012
City: Prague
Organization: Blekinge Institute of Technology
Department: School of Planning and Media Design (Sektionen för planering och mediedesign)
School of Planning and Media Design S-371 79 Karlskrona
+46 455 38 50 00
Authors e-mail:
Language: English
Abstract: This investigation discusses the connection between military supply needs, or more specific the navy capability to supply, primarily bread and alcohol, and the transformation from small-scale to large-scale production during the early modern period. Three questions are addressed: the significance of the relationship between burghers and military representatives to this transformation; the significance of military experience, including military techniques, to this transformation; and finally, whether or not early modern military production can be linked to modern industrialization. Together these questions can begin to answer the question about the connection between the nations military past and the shape of the modern industrial and political landscape.
The period after the founding of the naval base Karlskrona in the south east of Sweden in the 1680´s was marked by repeated negotiations, disputes and severe production problems. The burghers could not always meet the growing demands of the Navy. This situation is investigated as an incentive for the Navy to begin the production of foodstuffs. In 1752, a Crown bakery could produce 100 000 pieces of so-called “succarie-breds” a day. The creation of a Crown distillery is another example of a state-operated manufacture at the time. Some of the ventures could be described as more successful than others. The Success and failures of these examples is studied in relation to the experience of military administration, the technical skills developed at the Naval base, as well as the importance of an “institution” that could mobilize labour forces and economic resources, to early modern Swedish production. At another level those questions is related to the Navy as a modernization force in confrontation with older forms of production in the hands of the guilds – and the Naval city as a possible “nod” for modernization in general.
The connection between the early modern military production pattern and the long-term impact for the modern industrial landscape in the region is discussed in relation to the fact that this region became the leading industrial producer of alcohol and the leading grower of potatoes needed for this industry. Later on the potatoes became the base for the modern starch industry in the region.
Subject: The Humanities\History
Keywords: Naval cities, early modern production, Karlskrona