Borders and Freedom of Movement in the Holy Roman Empire

One argument in my first book is that practices and infrastructures for controlling movements of goods and people in the Old Reich were not anchored at the outer borders of a territory for much of the early modern period. Customs and toll stations were situated along roads and rivers, and travelers could pass by several such posts within the same territory. In the second half of the eighteenth century the geography of governed mobility in the Holy Roman Empire began to change: the levy of duties was now increasingly relocated to the outer borders and the major commercial hubs within a territory.

Bavaria offers a textbook example for this process. A reform in 1764 drastically reduced the formerly 400 toll stations across the Bavarian territory.
The capillary network of secondary toll stations along the territory’s outer boundaries reveals the new concern for controlling the traffic of goods along this perimeter.