King Dinis, by royal letter dated 10th May 1293, approves a Merchants Exchange (mutualism) to support losses resulting from the use of ships in maritime trade
This first form of insurance in Portugal of 10th May 1293, determined that “…all Portuguese ships or not – carrying in Portuguese ports, bound for Flanders, England, Normandy, Brittany, and La Rochelle – would pay, to a common Exchange, 10 sterling wages if they had less than 100 tons and 20 wages if they had 100 or more. Destined for North Africa (beyond the sea), Seville or other parts, but ending up contributing to the above-mentioned regions would pay the same.
From the common fund resulting from the successive payments, 100 silver marks (i.e. 23 kg) or the cash equivalent of another species would be kept in Flanders, with the remaining part in Portugal being distributed to the places that the merchants understood.
This fund was intended to finance Portuguese trade ventures in Flanders, or the other regions mentioned, also “those things that they (the merchants) see to harnessing and honouring for the land.”
Anyone who opposed the agreement would pay a fine of 10 pounds sterling to the merchants’ commune. It was not, therefore, a question of maritime insurance as such, but only an Exchange set up in the “commune” of merchants-shippers as a kind of institution or bank to finance new ventures.
“A Companhia de Seguros Bonança – Notícia Histórica” by José Hermano Saraiva
”Para a História dos Seguros em Portugal, notas e documentos” by A. H. de Oliveira Marques
“Carta de confirmação dada por D. Dinis aos mercadores”, Gaveta 3, maço nº 5, doc 5
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