Monday, May 29, 2023

The term ‘Black Market’ is widely used all over the world, all with a similar meaning refering to the illegal, undeclared economies and trades. But what is the origin of the term?

Different countries probably have different versions of its origin. And no, it is not market day in Soweto. black market knight

In Ye Olde England, this is how the story went. Medieval England spawned nomadic mercenaries (hardened fighters who lived solitary lives and wandered the country side). They would sell their services to the highest bidder. Without the luxury of squires to polish their armour, it oxidized to a blackish hue, and they came to be known as the ‘Black Knights’.

At local town festivals, there was often exhibition jousting matches in which the winner earned the right to the loser's weapons and armour. The local gentry, softened by the good life, invariably lost to the Black Knights. The nomadic knights didn't have much use for an extra set of armour and would secretly sell it back to their defeated opponents after the fight. The losing nobility readily bought back their armour and this trade came to be known as the ‘Black Market’.

A fable perhaps, who knows, but it does make for an interesting yarn.

Courtesy of: South Africans in Portugal