Sailing on the Baltic Sea

Over the centuries, attempts have been made to determine the size of ships in different ways, which depends on the shipping capacity, that is, the load capacity. In ancient times, there was a ton, that is, a barrel of an appropriate size. In the Baltic Sea, od XIV do XIX w, the carrying capacity of ships was determined in lasztach. Unfortunately, mash was not equal to mash. The Gdańsk hauls were different, other Kołobrzeg, Elbląg, shipbuilding, cereal, herring or salt. The smallest amount in Gdańsk was 60 traffic jams, that is about three thousand liters. Valid from 1819 r. Polish honor equaled 3840 litrom. Ancient measure – tony – was taken over by most European countries. In England, a ton meant a barrel of wine containing 250 gallons, i.e. approx 2240 pounds. W 1835 r. a unified system was introduced: in the case of yachts – the length was taken into account, in the case of merchant ships – capacity was compared, and for passenger ships, the number of seats. In later years, this problem was dealt with by the League of Nations and the United Nations. Currently, the size of merchant ships is determined by their carrying capacity, measured in tonnes by weight, the size of passenger ships – number of seats, and warships - displacement, that is, the weight of the water displaced by the ship when its supplies are full.

Already from the 9th century. Korabism was developing in Pomerania. Ships with a length of 11 do 14 m and width from 2 do 4 m. The ships were equipped with oars, sails and stone anchors. They could take up to forty people and horses, thanks to which, after landing, it was easy to carry out a quick pirate action. W XIII w. Kogi, wooden sailing ships with a flat bottom, floated on the sea, masts with square sails and high castles at the bow and stern. These ships could take to 50 tons of goods.

From the beginning of the Middle Ages, traveling in the Baltic Sea was not a safe undertaking, for corsairs were swimming in the sea (some from Wolin). In fact, in those days, there was not much difference between a commercial and a pirate expedition. In the centuries that followed, not only ports developed, but, unfortunately, also privateering. The union of Hanseatic cities maintained its own navy to defend its interests, who often fought sea battles with pirates. Over time, the Hansa became so powerful, that it even fought entire countries.

In ancient times, traveling by land was not a pleasure. Going to West Pomerania, we had to wade through the marshy areas on the Warta and Noteć rivers. Deep woods stretched to the north – huge trees, dense bushes, overturned branches. During the expedition to Pomerania, the troops of Bolesław Krzywousty had to make some changes, to make your march easier. At that time, there was already a trade route from Poznań to Szczecin, further to Wolin and Kamień Pomorski.

A salt trail ran from Kołobrzeg southwards to Wielkopolska. From the west to the east, the route from Hamburg and Rostov to Wolin ran, Stone, Kołobrzeg, Gdańsk and further east. The roads were of course unimaginably bumpy, not many bridges were built, rivers ford. Some beards were lined with stones, thanks to which the carts did not sink into the sand and get stuck. W 1230 r. a ferry was launched near today's Świnoujście, and from 1270 – ferry in Trzebiatów on the river Rega.

In the Middle Ages, the greatest travelers were merchants and craftsmen. Merchants traveled for commercial purposes, and the craftsmen therefore, that the guild statutes required it. The craftsman's workshop was led by a master, with which apprentices and students apprenticed. After years of study, when the students have mastered all the arcana of art, they were liberated. It was then that the new journeymen had to set off in two, three-year journey, which was to prepare them for the master exam. The journeymen had to learn the secrets of a higher level. They often reached France, Italian, Spain and Portugal. After their return, they prepared a masterpiece, judged by a panel of masters. If the apprentice passed the exam, he became a master and could finally get married and set up his own workshop.

Less wealthy merchants, called stallholders, on market days, they opened their stalls in cities or larger villages. Wealthy merchants formed guilds, that is corporations. In fact, the merchants of the time were just wholesalers today: they brought wine, spices, delicate cloths, ornaments from distant lands. Mostly they had their own ships, they used to take away the grain, and they brought exotic goods.

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