In this chapter Villani and Frattarelli present the specific case of Livorno, an Italian port city newly founded in early modern times, which drew inhabitants of many kinds: marginal people, artisans and great merchants, not exclusively Catholic. The growth of the city and the port and the presence of various “nations” made Livorno in the modern age a particularly dynamic place for international exchange, an important hub that connected the Mediterranean trade with the macro-economies of the European colonial powers. Fundamental studies conducted on sources preserved in European and Italian archives have provided a detailed picture of its importance for the trade of the northern powers in the Mediterranean and shown the constitution of “foreign” economic groups that maintained networks of relations with the commercial centers of their countries of origin. Moreover Livorno was also a centre from which intercultural relations were projected out over the Mediterranean and beyond, since merchants from Livorno traded even with Hindu merchants in India. The opportunities for peaceful co-existence established by the Privileges for Eastern and Western Merchants, which are known because of their success with the name of the Livornina or Leghorn privileges, guaranteed in fact a certain degree of ‘tolerance’ and supported the development of trade and the growth in the city of a population of immigrants from both neighbouring regions and distant countries. The history of the population of Livorno is in fact the history of growth, politically planned and assisted; just as the formation of an urban elite and the organisation of foreigners in nations was the result of the pragmatic policy of the Grand Dukes of Tuscany and their interest in developing merchant networks. The particular case of the English community of Livorno illustrates concretely how the immigration of populations of different faiths and cultures created conflicts and divisions, and allows us to discuss the controversial topos of cosmopolitism and tolerance towards non-Catholic minorities, the privileges of the Jewish population, the mixing of languages and ethnic groups. The documents of the Medici Grand Duchy and the records of the tribunal of the Inquisition throw into relief how in an Italian port city in the ‘confessional age’, thanks to the protection of state mercantilism, it was possible to establish a regime of co-existence including Catholics, Protestants and Jews, which allowed individuals to establish business and sometimes friendly relations, although it was not possible, except in cases of formally leaving one’s original faith, to cross the barriers of religious denomination and enter fully into the ranks of citizens
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