In Roman times, large quantities of honey were exported from Turdetania in Southern Spain. Ligurian people on the North-West coast of
carried their honey to Genoa.
“Inhabitants of Carnic Alps exchange wax, honey, and other natural products for
necessities of life” (Crane 1999, p491)
Honey and beeswax were traded out of Russia by the 900’s, along the trade route via the Neva and Volga to the Caspian Sea and then to Asia (Crane 1999, p 491) Beeswax was traded to Byzantium, Venice, and Genoa, before Christianity came to Russia in the 900’s (Galton 1971, p15) In 1555, Olaus Magnus reported that Europe exported much wax, but “honey they reserve to themselves in great supply.”
Spanish Arabs were important in the honey and sugar trades during the Muslim period (711AD-1492). In the 1500’s there were still Arab traders in
who specialized in buying honey from beekeepers. They would sell to merchants
for use in the retail market.
Records survive of export and import of honey within
the Middle Ages and following periods. After 989 AD, an Irish ship partially
loaded with honey sailed to South Wales.
”Norse merchants maintained a brisk trade in Welsh slaves, horses, honey, malt,
and wheat in exchange for Irish wines, furs,….butter, and coarse woolen cloth.”
(Crane 1999, p491) Five Russian monasteries purchased several tons of honey
each between the years of 1569 and 1599.