Malta in the 19th Century

The island of Malta is situated in the Mediterranean Sea, south of Italy. It comprises three islands: Malta, Comino, and Gozo, of which Malta is the biggest island. Malta is a popular tourist destination that is well known for its breath-taking landscapes and warm climate. However, Malta hasn’t always been a popular tourist resort. In[…]

The Spice Trade and the Age of Exploration

Some of Europe’s elite began to ponder how they could get direct access to the spices of the East without paying Eastern and Arab merchants. Introduction One of the major motivating factors in the European Age of Exploration was the search for direct access to the highly lucrative Eastern spice trade. In the 15th century, spices[…]

The Eastern Trade Network of Ancient Rome

Silk became so popular that the Roman Senate periodically issued proclamations to prohibit the wearing it on both economic and moral grounds. By Dr. James HancockProfessor Emeritus of HorticultureMichigan State University Introduction The life of wealthy Romans was filled with exotic luxuries such as cinnamon, myrrh, pepper, or silk acquired through long-distance international trade. Goods from the Far East[…]

Trade in Ancient Celtic Europe

Typical goods traded by the Celts included salt, slaves, iron, gold, and furs. Introduction Trade in raw materials and manufactured goods in ancient Celtic Europe was vibrant and far-reaching, particularly regarding the centre of the continent where there was a hub of well-established trade routes. As the Celts’ territory expanded, so their trade networks encompassed the Mediterranean cultures (Greeks, Etruscans, and Romans), Iberia, and Britain.[…]

The Medieval West African Trading Empire of Ghana

The early West African societies of Ghana, Mali, and Songhai all created empires that gained much of their wealth from trade. Introduction The kingdom of Ghana lasted from sometime before 500 C.E. until its final collapse in the 1200s. It arose in the semidesert Sahel and eventually spread over the valley between the Senegal and[…]

Ancient Trade Connections between West Africa and the Wider World

The archaeological evidence is clear, but the mechanisms of diffusion are still not entirely understood. By Dr. Sonja Magnavita Research Associate Commission for the Archaeology of Non-European Cultures (KAAK), Bonn, Germany Abstract The long-standing, more mythical than fact-based assumptions about ancient trade contacts between West Africa and the wider world prior to the Arab conquest[…]

Trade in the Ancient Phoenician World

A Phoenician-Punic ship from a relief carving on a 2nd century CE sarcophagus / Photo by NMB, Wikimedia Commons The Phoenicians established themselves as one of the greatest trading powers in the ancient world. By Mark Cartwright / 04.01.2016 Historian Introduction The Phoenicians, based on a narrow coastal strip of the Levant, put their excellent seafaring skills to good[…]

Beyond Frontiers: Ancient Rome and the Eurasian Trade Networks

Examining interactions and the exchanges in the Eurasian networks during the first centuries of the Roman Empire. By Dr. Marco Galli / 12.16.2016 Associate Professor of Classical Archaeology Sapienza University of Rome Abstract This research focuses on four relevant points. From a historiographical perspective, the reconstruction of the trading routes represented a central theme in the[…]

Kamares Ware and Trade in Ancient Minoa

Kamares wares in the Archaeological Museum of Heraklion (photo: Bernard Gagnon, CC BY-SA 3.0) Kamares ware helps us map the trading relationships of the Minoans with the Mediterranean at large. By Dr. Senta German / 08.20.2018 Faculty of Classics Andrew W Mellon Foundation Teaching Curator, Ashmolean Museum University of Oxford Look closely at the jug on the top shelf at[…]

Travel, Trade, and Exploration in the Middle Ages

‘Liber secretorum fidelium crucis’ by Marino Sanudo with maps by Pietro Vesconte. This map of the world was made by the Genoese navigator Marino Sanudo in c. 1321. / British Library, Public Domain Medieval Europeans were fascinated by the lands that lay beyond their own continent. Josephine Livingstone looks at the real and imaginary travels of[…]

Technologies of Medieval Towns and Trade

Medieval townsfolk needed very different sorts of technologies than did rural farmers, and they eagerly adopted tools of all sorts when they became available. By Dr. Hans Peter Broedel Graduate Director, Associate Professor of History University of North Dakota Together with generally good weather and the rapid clearing of arable land, the new modes of[…]

Spices and Ceramics Found Aboard 400-Year-Old Portuguese Shipwreck

Divers are seen during the discovery of a centuries-old shipwreck, in Cascais in a photo released Monday. / Augusto Salgado/Cascais City Hall/Handout via Reuters A 400-year-old shipwreck that signified a time when the spice trade between Portugal and India was booming has been uncovered 40 feet below the water’s surface during a dredging project. By[…]

Bayesian Analysis and Free Market Trade within the Roman Empire

Mosaic of amphorae being unloaded from a ship, Ostia / Southampton University, Creative Commons The trade networks of the Roman Empire are among the most intensively researched large-scale market systems in antiquity,       By (left-to-right) Dr. Xavier Rubio-Campillo, María Coto-Sarmiento, Jordi Pérez-Gonzalez, and Dr. José Remesal Rodríguez Rubio-Campillo: Lecturer in Archaeology; Computational Archaeology, The[…]

Ages of Commerce in Southeast Asian History

A brief critical survey of the development, implications, and limitations of the Age of Commerce paradigm in Southeast Asia. By Dr. David Henley Professor of Contemporary Indonesia Studies Leiden University Introduction Fernand Braudel classically proposed three interlocking historiographic time frames: the ‘history of events’, the history of cycles, and the longue durée or long duration.[…]

Ancient Economic Thought

Mysia Islands off Troas, Tenedos. Circa 100-70 BC. Tetradrachm (Silver, 16.27 g 12). / Photo by Exekias, Wikimedia Commons The earliest discussions of economics date back to ancient times, such as Chanakya’s Arthashastra or Xenophon’s Oeconomicus Edited by Matthew A. McIntosh / 08.19.2018 Historian Brewminate Editor-in-Chief Introduction In the history of economic thought, early economic[…]

Ancient Human Activity and the Necessary Conditions for Indirect Exchange

The historical emergence and use of money is an important question. By Dr. Alexander W. Salter / 12.07.2017 Comparative Economics Research Fellow Assistant Professor of Economics Texas Tech University The historical emergence and use of money is an important question. It is important in its own right as academic history and because it highlights the[…]

Lost Norse of Greenland Fueled the Medieval Ivory Trade

New DNA analysis reveals that, before their mysterious disappearance, the Norse colonies of Greenland had a “near monopoly” on Europe’s walrus ivory supply. An overreliance on this trade may have contributed to Norse Greenland’s collapse when the medieval market declined. 08.08.2018 The Icelandic Sagas tell of Erik the Red: exiled for murder in the late[…]

Labor and Trade in Colonial America

Wikimedia Commons (click image to enlarge) By Dr. Catherine Denial Associate Professor of History Knox College Common Misconceptions When textbooks discuss colonial labor practices, they most often associate the concept of labor with male work done outside the physical boundaries of the home—in fields; on docks; in warehouses; on ships. Labor is associated with creating[…]