The Economy of Ancient Greece

Direct taxation was not well-developed in ancient Greece. Introduction The economy of ancient Greece was defined largely by the region’s dependence on imported goods. As a result of the poor quality of Greece’s soil, agricultural trade was of particular importance. The impact of limited crop production was somewhat offset by Greece’s paramount location, as its[…]

The Gold Trade of Ancient and Medieval West Africa

The trade of gold in West Africa goes back to antiquity. By Mark CartwrightHistorian Introduction West Africa was one of the world’s greatest producers of gold in the Middle Ages. Trade in the metal went back to antiquity but when the camel caravans of the Sahara linked North Africa to the savannah interior, the trade[…]

Trade, Diplomacy, and Transformation in China in the 19th and 20th Centuries

Exploring how China’s economic and diplomatic ties to the outside world shaped its modern history. Introduction For centuries, China’s encounters with the foreign lands and peoples involved the commercial exchange of goods. The Chinese attitude towards trade viewed it as desirable, within a structured and regulated framework. Prior to the establishment of the People’s Republic[…]

How Did a Cockatoo Reach 13th-Century Sicily?

Images of a cockatoo in Frederick II of Sicily’s falconry book reveal how trade routes around Australia’s north were flourishing as far back as medieval times. Introduction Among the hand-written documents, books, and ancient artefacts in the Vatican Library is a 13th century manuscript on falconry written in Latin by or for the Holy Roman[…]

The North Carolina Trucker Who Brought the World to America in a Box

How Malcolm McLean’s shipping containers conquered the global economy by land and sea. On April 26, 1956, a crane lifted 58 aluminum truck bodies onto the deck of an aging tanker ship moored in Newark, New Jersey. Five days later, the Ideal-X sailed into Houston, Texas, where waiting trucks collected the containers for delivery to local factories[…]

Pierre Poivre, the French Spice Quest and the Role of Mediators in Southeast Asia, 1740s to 1770s

Examining the connectedness and transnational interactions in the French spice project through the lens of Poivre’s informal networks. “One of these rare men, who reflect about things which are really useful, and who does not abandon a project until it is finished, had decided to bring wealth to France, his homeland, with the help of[…]

Technological Transfer and Innovation in Ancient Eurasia

Cultural, economic, and knowledge transfer occurred in spite of a seemingly long series of hurdles that had to be overcome. Introduction The pre-modern transfer of knowledge within Eurasia had to contend with a complex set of both physical and mental obstacles. Deserts, mountains and oceans had to be crossed, but so too did language barriers[…]

Ancient and Medieval China’s Silk Road

The European explorer Marco Polo (1254-1324 CE) traveled on these routes and described them in depth in his famous work. Introduction The Silk Road was an ancient network of trade routes, formally established during the Han Dynasty of China, which linked the regions of the ancient world in commerce between 130 BCE-1453 CE. As the Silk Road was not[…]

Trade in Medieval Europe

The full range of consumer goods of the period was set out to tempt the shopper and small retailer. By Mark CartwrightHistorian Introduction Trade and commerce in the medieval world developed to such an extent that even relatively small communities had access to weekly markets and, perhaps a day’s travel away, larger but less frequent[…]

North Africa’s Place in the Mediterranean Economy of Late Antiquity

The Mediterranean Sea was the economic focal point of the Roman Empire. By Michael GoodyearJ.D. CandidateUniversity of Michigan Law School Introduction The Mediterranean Sea was the economic focal point of the Roman Empire. Rome’s armies first established an empire across these waters beginning back in the times of the Roman Republic. In 200 CE, the Mediterranean[…]

The Economy of Ptolemaic Egypt

The wealth of Egypt was owed in large part to the unrivaled fertility of the Nile. By Arienne KingHistorian Introduction Ptolemaic Egypt rapidly established itself as an economic powerhouse of the ancient world at the end of the 4th century BCE. The wealth of Egypt was owed in large part to the unrivalled fertility of[…]

Free Trade in the Ancient Middle East

For a long time, Baghdad was one of the wealthiest cities in the world. Today many people believe that free markets and industrialization are new inventions. In fact, during the early Middle Ages a market model developed in the Islamic world. Europeans envied the economic, scientific and intellectual progress taking place in the Middle East[…]

The Prehistoric Origins and Historic Growth of the Silk Road

The Silk Road provided a conduit not only for silk, but also offered a very important path for cultural, religious and technological transmission. Introduction The Silk Road was an extensive interconnected network of trade routes across the Asian continent connecting East, South, and Western Asia with the Mediterranean world, including North Africa and Europe. These trade routes enabled[…]

Safavid Trade during the 17th Century: Iran’s Transit Economy

Analyzing the role that the Safavid economy played within the rapidly developing global economic system. By Connor J. HamelCompetitive Intelligence AnalystAccenture Federal Services Introduction The seventeenth century ushered in a plethora of changes in global trade patterns. These fluctuating trade patterns began to generate nascent economic, political, and social trends the likes of which had[…]

The End of China’s Canton Trade System

Despite their common interests, relations between the foreigners and the Chinese community grew more tense during the early 19th century. Despite their common interests, relations between the foreigners and the Chinese community grew more tense during the early 19th century. The increasing amount of trade and larger number of ships inevitably brought more conflict. The[…]

The Canton Trade System in China in the 18th and 19th Centuries

Canton’s foreign quarter, sited between the city wall and the river, fit comfortably into the classic design of south Chinese cities. Canton Trade Introduction During the passage from Macau up the Pearl River foreigners passed through densely populated agricultural lands and market towns, but they never saw a major city until they reached Guangzhou. We[…]

Economic Relations Between Europe and the World in the Medieval and Early Modern Eras

A vivid picture of the emergence of the global market and the beginnings of global competition. Introduction This article sketches the beginnings and central trends in the development of economic ties between Europe and regions outside Europe from 1450 to 1950. The focus is on the increasing diversity and volume of goods exchanged, and the[…]

Transport, Tourism, and Technology in Portugal in the Late 19th and Early 20th Centuries

Examining historic economic links with Portugal and its relationships abroad. By Dr. Ana Cardoso de Matos (left), Dr. Maria Ana Bernardo (right), and Dr. Maria Luísa F.N. dos Santos (not pictured)Professors of HistoryUniversidade de Évora Tourism and Transport: Interconnected Journeys In recent years[1], tourism has experienced increasing interest from researchers in various areas, a fact[…]

Globalization’s Sixteenth-Century Origins

Globalization began when all heavily-populated land masses began interacting in a sustained manner with deep consequences for all interacting regions. By Dr. Dennis O. Flynn and Dr. Arturo GiráldezFlynn: Alexander R. Heron Distinguished Professor of EconomicsGiráldez: Professor of SpanishUniversity of the Pacific Abstract Globalization began when all heavily-populated land masses began interacting – both directly[…]

China’s Early Modern Commodities Trade

The search for a commodity that the Chinese wanted to buy led the British to develop opium plantations in Bengal. Luxury exports from Canton—fine porcelain, furniture, lacquer, paintings, and figurines—attracted the most attention as art objects but were not the primary goods of trade. The original China trade was a simple bulk exchange of commodities.[…]

China’s Trade with the West in the Early Modern World

From early times China engaged in extensive trade relations with other countries, From early times China engaged in extensive trade relations with other countries until the mid-19th century. Introduction From early times China engaged in extensive trade relations with other countries, and until the mid 19th century Chinese officials directed by the imperial court in[…]

The Hanseatic League: Medieval Trade and Immigration in Europe

The League aimed to protect trade, which meant that maintaining peace was also a major concern. Introduction The Hanseatic League (also known as the Hansa) was an alliance of trading guilds that established and maintained a trade monopoly along the coast of Northern Europe, from the Baltic to the North Sea, during the Late Middle Ages and Early modern period (circa thirteenth–seventeenth centuries). Rival cities[…]

Venice as the Ancient Source of Europe’s Commercial Roots

In the tumultuous aftermath of the fall of the Roman Empire, the newly founded Republic of Venice boasted its maritime and commercial eastward mission. By Dr. Vera CostantiniLecturer in Turkish Language, Ottoman History, and Paleography Ca’Foscari University of VeniceUniversity of Palermo In one of his articles, Carlo Dionisotti analyzed the literary topos of war in the East[…]