In these Flemish cities the early oligarchic form of municipal government speedily gave way to a democratic. The great mass of the townsmen organized in trade gilds - weavers, fullers, dyers, smiths, leather-workers, brewers, butchers, bakers and others, of which by far the most powerful was that of the weavers - as soon as they became conscious of their strength rebelled against the exclusive privileges of the patricians and succeeded in ousting them from power.
The bark, very dark externally, is an excellent tanning substance; the inner layers form the quercitron of commerce, used by dyers for communicating to fabrics various tints of yellow, and, with iron salts, yielding a series of brown and drab hues; the colouring property depends on a crystalline principle called quercitrin, of which it should contain about 8%.
Of the vegetable oils, in addition to cotton-seed and coco-nut, olive oil is the basis of soaps for calico printers and silk dyers; castor oil yields transparent soaps (under suitable treatment), whilst crude palm oil, with bone fat, is employed for making brown soap, and after bleaching it yields ordinary pale or mottled.
The oxymuriate of tin used by dyers is SnCl4.5H20.
Gall nuts, gathered on the neighbouring Kurdish mountain slopes, are mostly exported, but are also made use of by native dyers; and hides, wax, cotton and gum are sold.