Customs History and Records of Trade and Shipping

By E.A. Carson, published November 1972


Customs records provide a rich source of information about individual vessels and their cargoes. The earliest regular information about ships and cargoes trading in English ports is found in such records starting in 1565. This article outlines the types of records that have been kept down to modern times. The bulk of the narrative is a history of customs and excise duties going back to 742 and of the institutions that have collected and recorded these levies. These institutions evolved as the state became more complex. The Custom service itself expanded over the centuries, particularly when the state began creating new levies to finance its operations during the 17th century Civil War in England.

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Filed under: Medieval | Early Modern | Eighteenth Century | Nineteenth Century | Twentieth Century | Other (location)
Subjects include: Administration | Logistics

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