Augsburg in the late Middle Ages
Located at the intersection of two main trade routes from Italy to Northern and Eastern Europe, in the 15th and 16th centuries Augsburg was one of the richest and most populous cities in Germany. The Free Imperial City (even if still an episcopal seat) was ruled by patrician families (called Burgers) and the masters of the guilds from 1368, until Emperor Charles V forced the city to adopt an aristocratic constitution.  In the early 16th century Augsburg was not only the home city of the international trade empires of the Fuggers and Welsers but also the scene of several Imperial Diets, City of the Confessio Augustana (1530) and the Religious Peace of Augsburg (1555).
Our project is more interested in the period before this splendour and richness – concentrating on the 15th century, when weavers in Augsburg produced the immensely successful fustian (Barchent), a mixture of linen and cotton. Augsburg’s population and wealth increased within a short period and the city developed its urbanitas. Looking for the key elements of urbanitas, we will start exploring the budget records ( before diving deeper into the rich but heterogenous material, including chronicles, tax registers, guild records and the variety of sources in the Augsburg archives called treasures (Schätze).