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18

Mentions of Bandits and robbers: Bandits and robbers were a constant threat on the Silk Road. Xuanzang mentions several encounters with bandits. Near Dunhuang, the Silk Road split in two to skirt the rim of the Taklamakan Desert. The roads met again 1400 miles west at Kashgar. But between these two oases lay the Silk Road's most dangerous terrain. ...


16

Laws requiring county-of-origin labels seem to have been a response to German industrialization and protectionism. According to a report by the U.S. International Trade Commission: Country-of-origin marking laws were first enacted in the 1880s in various European countries* to distinguish imported goods (particularly German goods) from domestic ...


10

The question is commonly asked (Google the question and you get 446,000,000 answers). BBC News has an excellent answer that mirrors my answer below, but in far more depth and with much less withering sarcasm. The summary is the last two sentences, " . . . to paraphrase Churchill, out of all the elements, gold makes the worst possible currency. Apart ...


6

We can safely assume that Polo wasn't motivated by greed or monetary compensation when he undertook his voyage but rather by spirit of adventure and curiosity. There are several reasons why money was not an issue when he decided to propagate his knowledge, but first and foremost it wasn't an issue because his family was already well-off else he wouldn't ...


6

Polo was already fantastically wealthy, so he may have been ambivalent about money. The operant issue was that at the time he wrote the book he was in a prison in Genoa. Writing the book had the advantage of improving his reputation with the Genoese and thereby helping him get out of prison, which he eventually did. As far as the benefits of the knowledge ...


6

I would recommend a read through Janet Abu-Lughod's book, Before European Hegemony. This covers trade routes and practices in different areas of the world during the late 14th through early 16th centuries. The remainder of this answer is pulled in great part from what I understood of the book. Water ways are preferred due to a lower rate of banditry. While ...


5

Silk, being a fragile fabric, is going to be lost in virtually any archaeological context. THIS article says: SE′RICUM (σερικόν), silk, also called bombycinum. The first ancient author who affords any evidence respecting the use of silk, is Aristotle (H.A. V.19).a After a description, partially correct, of the metamorphoses of the silkworm (bombyx, ...


5

From a practicality perspective; Gold shared the same an early advantages that Copper did for developing societies. It can be worked by being beaten and by being cast, so the technology requirements to begin working with gold is lower than even bronze. In it's natural state gold is malleable and shiny, making it an obvious candidate for cultures and artists ...


4

Here is my main source for the following answers. EDIT 6/4/2015: I have expanded this answer to elaborate on a number of things. How much, in today terms, were they worth? Around the year 1500, a quintal of pepper in Lisbon was worth up to 38 ducats. A ducat was 3.5g of gold and a quintal was only 60 grams of pepper... So, pepper was worth a bit more ...


3

There is also Sugar Cane, which grows well in tropical wet areas. Assuming you don't count Mexico, Central America is primarily tropical jungle (with a bit of wet highland areas, good for growing coffee). Not many people ventured into the jungle interior. Even today with modern tools and methods, efforts to exploit the resources in jungle areas tend to ...


2

I have a great interest in the history of salt, mainly because of looking to the uncertain future, and can confirm that Salt was essential to soldiers during warfare. If was the main way to preserve meat, fish and vegetables, and without it long marches were untenable. Salt mines were few and far between and taking it from the sea was only practical in ...


2

Nemesis was sold in 1852, and I would presume (but can't confirm) that it was sold for scrap. I can't locate any indications that it was ever re-registered though. See Warships of the World to 1900 by Lincoln P. Paine, p 115-6


2

To add to @Mark's answer, we may venture that in early times, gold was both rare and amenable to be crafted into jewels that thus displayed the wealth of their owner. As such, gold is a key to an elevated social status, making it highly desirable everywhere. Gold was not the first metal to serve in that role; e.g. some late neolithic tombs have yielded ...


1

The Manila Galleon might be a contender if you add the overland and transatlantic parts of the trip. Manila to Acapulco or Panama, Panama to Havana, Havana to Seville. Do you count the round trip, if each leg waits for once-a-year seasonal winds?


1

During this time, the Native Americans traded mainly furs and sometimes food. In exchange, the Europeans gave them items like horses, alcohol, and manufactured goods such as guns, metal cooking utensils, and cloth. The Indians made good use of the trade goods they received, specifically the axes, knives, and guns. They had quite a good source of income for ...


1

First of all, peasants were not slaves or anything like that. They were essentially renting a given lend, and most often than not they came into this relationship volunteerly as free men. In many if not most lands and eras getting free from this relationship was actually possible, and peasants could move to another landlord. After bigger wars or diseases ...


1

Salt was much in demand, it is true; but is it very difficult to produce? I have a friend who used to make it on the beach in Sestri Levante in WWII, as a teenager and then walk inland selling it. It's not rare, just much in demand - unlike gold, which is scarce. If the price was that of gold ,surely more people would boil up seawater on the beach [unless ...



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