Raphael Barberini against the English Muscovy Company: the Struggle of International Merchants for Trade Privileges in Russia in 1564—1566
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Raphael Barberini against the English Muscovy Company: the Struggle of International Merchants for Trade Privileges in Russia in 1564—1566
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Alexander Kiselev 
Affiliation: Volgograd State University
Address: Russian Federation, Volgograd

The Italian merchant, officer and diplomat of the second half of the 16th century, Raphael Barberini, became famous as the author of the “Report on Muscovy” — a note on the Muscovy state, based on his journey with three companions to Russia in 1564—1565. This trip was aimed at undermining the monopoly position of the English Muscovy Company in Russian markets, and indeed ended in the receipt of trading privileges from Tsar Ivan IV. Much of this success was based on letters of recommendation from King Philip II of Spain and Queen Elizabeth I of England, which the Italian merchant presented in Moscow, and probably also on his connections in the entourage of Pope Pius IV. The researchers were unable to identify Barberini’s English contacts that provided him with the support of the Protestant queen. The anonymous note of an agent of the Muscovy Company, discovered by the author in the British National Archives, sheds light on this problem. It is now possible to determine the full list of Raphael Barberini’s companions with whom he visited Russia. The study of their connections, taking into account the political situation at the English royal court in the first half of the 1560s, allows us to conclude that the Italian merchant received a letter of recommendation from Queen Elizabeth I thanks to her favourite Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester.

Muscovy, England, Tudors, Barberini, Spinola, Dudley, Cecil, Pius IV, Ivan IV, Muscovy Company
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