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Economic Success and Political Influence of the Fuggers and Medicis

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In the late fifteenth, and early sixteenth centuries the first economic Golden Age began. Two families, the Fugger's and Medici's were of immense wealth and power. Both helped to finance projects for certain people and institutions of power, like the Pope, English Monarchy and the Holy Roman Empire. Their economic success and political influence caused much turmoil then, and even more in the future. Because of the Fuggers' and Medici's wealth and power in society they easily influenced politics, especially ecclesiastical governance by usury and sale of indulgences.

In the early sixteenth century the Fugger family of Augsburg, was the wealthiest and most influential financial organization in Europe. They started making money by importing raw cotton from Mediterranean ports. The Fugger family then moved into more lucrative trades such as silk and herbs, controlling most of Europe's pepper market. "The Fuggers virtual monopoly on all gold, silver, and copper mining in central Europe endowed its leaders with great political influence" (Encarta Encyclopedia).

Jacob Fugger the son of a weaver also known as "Jacob the Rich," realized how to capitalize on family partnerships. By age fourteen he started working with his brothers trading spices, silks and wool. He had major trading ventures with the port of Venice where he learned how to use double entry bookkeeping. This type of bookkeeping was a skill in which the majority of people were not aware existed, or how to use it. Fugger's popularity was widespread, "in every kingdom and every region, even among the heathens. Emperors, kings, princes and lords sent emissaries to him; the pope hailed him and embraced him as his own dear son; the cardinals stood up when he appeared" (Merr...

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...y brought in many Greek sources. The Medici's also started the Platonic Academy which supported Renaissance artists by feeding, educating, and providing them with necessities to live. Some of these were well known artists such as Michelangelo, Donatello, and Raphael. Because of the Medici family Florence became known as the cultural center of Europe and cradle of New Humanism. For a century they maintained total authority in Florence behind the popular forms of a republic.

During the first economic Golden Age the Fugger and Medici families proved to have major monetary and political influence. Though both did have some negative impacts on the ecclesiastical life, they also had some positive impacts. Fuggers double entry bookkeeping was the unofficial start of accounting. The Medici's are credited with giving birth to the Humanist movement in Florence and the world.
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