Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.

Free Port

Free Port is a port at which all vessels may load or unload without being subject to any customs or other duties, except harbour dues. They were established in the Middle Ages by France, Spain, Austria, Portugal, and the Italian States, and in the 18th century, when protective tariffs had become frequent, were of particular importance. The system of bonding soon, however, took their place. and few Free Ports survived long in the 19th century. Trieste and Fiume on the Austrian shores of the Adriatic, and Hamburg and Bremen on the North Sea, were free ports till quite recently. Hong-kong, Singapore, Amboyna, St. Thomas, and a few other places are still centres of this kind, their chief use being as entrepots where commodities destined for distant markets may be more easily exchanged.