Trade Activities of the Convent of Benedictine Nuns in Sandomierz in the 18th and Early 19th Century
The Benedictine convent at Sandomierz was founded in 1615 by Elzbieta Sieniawska. Her generous donation flourished thanks to the nuns' entrepreneurial skills. They successfully joined both local and national trade and maintained busy links with Gdansk, Elblag, Warsaw, Wloclawek and Lwów. The convent had a warehouse on the banks of the Vistula and a small fleet of barges, which were used to send cargo down the river regularly once or twice a year. If the nuns had not enough corn of their own, more was bought on the market or the excess capacity was rented out. Sometimes they rented out a whole boat, and sold their own corn on the local market. In the 18th century the convent usually sold surplus products in the following categories: corn, pea, fruit and vegetables; oxen, mares, sheep and fish; and wool, hides, feathers, cheese. The biggest profits were registered in the last decade of the 18th and the first decade of the 19th century. In Gdansk the captain of the convoy used to buy supplies from a list he had been given at the convent. The nuns usually ordered spices, sweets, coffee, sugar, olive oil, French wine, English beer, as well as various medicines and their components. Overseas trade enabled them to restock on cloth for their monastic dresses, fine linen and silk.
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