Economic Growth in Medieval China

During this period, China’s huge cities dwarfed the cities of medieval Europe. Introduction The Song period was a time of great prosperity in China. Changes in agriculture, especially a boom in the production of rice, fueled the growth of the economy. Trade and business flourished. These developments had started during the Tang dynasty. Under the[…]

Medieval China’s Contacts with the Outside World

Exploring how the Chinese both welcomed and rejected foreign contacts. Introduction At times, the Chinese welcomed foreign contacts. Great cultural exchange resulted as new ideas and products flowed into and out of China. Buddhism, which originally came from India, reached its height of influence during the Tang dynasty. A Chinese monk, Xuan Zang (zhwoo-AN ZANG),[…]

Guilds: Skilled Privilege in the Middle Ages

Introduction A guild is an association of artisans or merchants who oversee the practice of their craft/trade in a particular area. The earliest types of guild formed as confraternities of tradesmen, normally operating in a single city and covering a single trade. They were organized in a manner something between a professional association, a trade[…]

Guilds from the Ancient to Medieval Worlds

Guilds secured the monopoly and the commerce of the cities, controlling the various activities and selling all kinds of goods. Already in the Roman era, associations of people practicing the same trade are attested: in the first century, they actively participated in the political life of the city (as shown by the electoral graffiti of[…]

The History of Loans and Their Importance

There are dozens of different ways to view history. You can see history from the perspective of technologies, in which case you read the world in terms of the Agricultural Revolution, and the Industrial Revolution. You can think biologically, in Darwinian terms of evolution and survival of the fittest. You can think militarily, comparing the[…]

Russia and the Medical Drug Trade in the Seventeenth Century

Examining what drugs were available in Russia and the great diversity of drugs traded in early modern Europe. Summary This article deals with the trade in medicines into Russia in the seventeenth century. Both the early modern medical drug trade, and Russian medicine, have previously received substantial attention, but no work has thus far been[…]

Travel, Transport, and Communications in Victorian England

During Queen Victoria’s reign Britain was the most powerful trading nation in the world. Introduction Victorian advances in transport and communications sparked a social, cultural and economic revolution whose effects are still evident today. The railway network flourished between 1830 and 1870. By 1852 there were over 7,000 miles of rail track in England and[…]

North American Trade and Transformation in the 18th Century

How did extraction, production, and exchange shape the physical and cultural landscape of North America? Introduction The contemporary North American landscape of cities, suburbs, and malls; highways, rails, and controlled rivers; fields, and fences; and factories, mines, and ports is the product of a long process of extraction, production, and exchange of natural resources: their[…]

Trade in Ancient Greece

The earliest written sources of Homer and Hesiod attest to the existence of trade (emporia) and merchants (emporoi) from the 8th century BCE. Introduction Trade was a fundamental aspect of the ancient Greek world and following territorial expansion, an increase in population movements, and innovations in transport, goods could be bought, sold, and exchanged in[…]

The Importance of Foreign Trade after the American Revolution

In the years following the American Revolution, speed was the most important consideration for ships. Introduction The world that the former British colonies entered as the newly independent United States was one in which countries closely controlled their domestic and international economies. European countries had been practicing mercantilism from the 16th century on as each[…]

Exports for Precious Metals: Mercantilism in the Early Modern World

Mercantilism was a political movement and an economic theory, dominant in Europe between 1600 and 1800. Introduction Mercantilism is an economic system that dominated the major European trading nations during the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries. This “mercantile system” was based on the premise that national wealth and power were best served by increasing exports[…]

Ancient “Poop Sticks” Offer Clues to the Spread of Disease along the Silk Road

The parasites found within the 2,000-year-old-feces smeared on bamboo suggest more than commodities made the trip. By Jason Daley The Silk Road was a network of ancient commerce, connecting China with central Asia, the Middle East and the Mediterranean. It was established by the Han Dynasty in 130 B.C. and operated until 1453 when the Ottoman Empire[…]

Oxyfuel Cutting – The Best Way to Form Accurate Sized Material

Let’s make us familiar with an industrial process of cutting different metals – Oxyfuel Cutting. This thermal process is considered highly economical across the globe for several reasons. One can understand it by delving into the entire procedure and getting known of everything related to oxyfuel flame cutting. The process takes the help of oxygen[…]

An Historical Overview of Ancient Economic Thought

Discussions of economics have existed since ancient times but it was not a separate discipline until the nineteenth century. Introduction In the history of economic thought, early economic thought refers to ideas from before and during the Middle Ages. The earliest discussions of economics date back to ancient times, such as Chanakya’s Arthashastra or Xenophon’s[…]

Ctesiphon: Urban Trade Center in Ancient and Early Medieval Persia

The city became an important center for trade along the Silk Road. Introduction Ctesiphon was an ancient city and trade center on the east bank of the Tigris River founded during the reign of Mithridates I (the Great, 171-132 BCE). It is best known in the modern day for the single-span arch, Taq Kasra, which[…]

A History of Guilds from the Medieval Era

Guilds started as small associations of skilled artisans, experienced and confirmed experts in their field of handicraft. Introduction A guild is an association of craftspeople in a particular trade. The earliest guilds may have been formed in India circa 3800 B.C.E., and certainly existed in Roman times. They particularly flourished in Medieval Europe, where they[…]

Medieval Trades

Trades and trading practices varied over time and place throughout the Middle Ages. By Mark CartwrightHistorian Introduction Many trades in medieval times were essential to the daily welfare of the community and those who had learned a skill through apprenticeship could expect to make a higher and more regular income than farmers or even soldiers.[…]

International Trade and Institutional Change: Medieval Venice’s Response to Globalization

Starting in 1297, a small group of particularly wealthy merchants blocked political and economic competition. Abstract International trade can have profound effects on domestic institutions. We examine this proposition in the context of medieval Venice circa 800–1600. Early on, the growth of long-distance trade enriched a broad group of merchants who used their newfound economic[…]

China’s Ancient Silk Road

The Silk Road was a vast trade network connecting Eurasia and North Africa via land and sea routes. Introduction In the first century CE, during the reign of Emperor Tiberius, silk had become a big problem. The luxury fabric, imported at great cost from China, had become a symbol of decadence and excess among Romans.[…]

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[…]