Fairs have been important institutions of the
European trade. They can be traced back to the high Middle Ages. The
earliest market places, which can be characterized as exhibitions, have been
founded in the Champagne, France. They have started a continuous development
which lasts to the exhibition industry of today.
The development of the exhibition industry over some hundreds of years can be
divided into several stages.
Medieval fairs = preferred markets
before the 12th century12)
Until the 12th century only few references to fairs and large markets can be
found in the Franconia empire and the adjacent regions.
- Privileges for a town from sovereign, emperors, kings
- Custom and exempt from custom and taxes
- During the fair, strangers also were allowed to open their stands
- Fair courts were established (mediation, contracts)
- Military protection = a free escort
- France 629: Abbey of St. Denis gets privileges from
Dogbert I.: Custom privilege + special protection of the king. Both
were renewed continuously.
- Portugal 12th century: Tax exemption = feiras francas