This article argues that the business alliance between the Polish nobility and the Jews was central to the Polish Lithuanian Commonwealth’s overcoming the economic crisis of the mid-seventeenth following the decline of grain exports. The leaseholding agreements by which the nobles entrusted the management of their landed property and monopoly rights to the Jews allowed the exploitation of local markets as the main outlet for grain production while the reshaping of the river trade’s organisation supported new products’ exports as well as those of grain. In contrast, the article explains how, by virtue of their integration into the management of the nobles’ estates, Jewish communities remained entangled in the meshes of the Polish feudal system, and exposed, as a symbol of its oppression, to antisemitic attacks. The ‘philosemitic mercantilism’ pursed by the nobles did not come to guarantee the Jews a tolerance based on the rule of law. The price was a brake on economic growth.
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