Questions tagged [trade]

Trade deals with transactions for goods and services. Trade has historically been one of the chief ways in which individuals have interacted with each other. Trade is one of the main ways that countries interact with each other, as well as individuals interact with each other.

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42
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7answers
109k views

Why did China shut itself out of the world in the 15th century?

After a period of maritime explorations (see Zheng He) in the early 15th century, the Ming Dynasty started shutting the Middle Kingdom out of the rest of the world. This of course continued with the ...
38
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7answers
9k views

What's the rationale for shipping coins back to Spain from its colonies?

Since the days of Pirates! the thought of capturing the Spanish treasure fleet on its way back somewhere in the Spanish Main was a primary target because of all the gold and silver it transported to ...
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3answers
15k views

When was Silver ever more valuable than Gold?

These days we pretty much take it as a given that gold is more valuable than silver. The obvious example is the Olympics and other such competitions that give "gold" medals for first place and "silver"...
31
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6answers
2k views

Why didn't the silk road run north of the Black Sea?

I have read many times that the only way for Europeans to get to China, or vice versa, was through Anatolia and Persia. This gave Istanbul an advantage in throttling trade, as well as Mesopotamia and ...
30
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3answers
24k views

How did Europeans first acquire gunpowder?

I know that gunpowder was first invented in China around the 10th century, and it seems that gunpowder likely made its way to Europe via the "Silk Road." However, there doesn't seem to be a ton of ...
25
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4answers
4k views

Why were so many of the earliest banks founded by cloth merchants?

I recently noticed that a lot of early banks, including Metzler and Berenberg, were founded by cloth merchants. Any idea why this particular line of trade was most conducive to setting up investment ...
25
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4answers
33k views

When and where was salt as valuable as gold?

I have often heard that gold and salt were sometimes considered of equal value. When and where did that occur?
25
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3answers
2k views

How did Muslim traders raise investments given Islam's prohibition of usury?

During early caliphate era (7th-13th century), Muslim traders dominated trade in Indian Ocean and the Mediterranean (see here and here for example). I think Islam's prohibition of interest or usury ...
24
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2answers
6k views

What would have been the price of a loaf of bread in 1645 Amsterdam?

I want to know how much a loaf of bread would cost in Amsterdam in the year 1645. Preferably I'd like the pricing of a bakery near the harbor but a comparison of the bread prices between the harbor ...
23
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2answers
3k views

Has mercantilism ever been successful?

Mercantilism, which includes protectionism, industrial policy, capital controls, and other distortions to trade, is generally viewed by economists today as unsound economic policy. An overwhelming ...
22
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2answers
4k views

Had there been instances of national states banning harmful imports before the mid-19th C Opium Wars?

Background To my current understanding, James Matheson in his »The British trade with China« argued that China might have originally had the right to refuse trading with Britain, but that they lost ...
21
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3answers
5k views

What goods did Germany trade during World War II, and with whom?

I have scoured the internet for numerical figures and an actual list of raw materials to no avail. Moreover, I am reasonably certain that many of you are very knowledgeable upon this subject matter, ...
21
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3answers
4k views

What was the value of the spice trade during the age of exploration?

One of the initial motivations for the Europeans in sending exploration voyages was to find cheap spices. To be worth such expensive and risky mission, spices must have been worth a lot and must have ...
20
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2answers
6k views

Approximately how much travel time was saved by the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869?

Understanding that there were a few variables involved, approximately how much travel time was saved by no longer having to travel around Africa after the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869?
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3answers
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What were the first local currency systems in history?

What were the first local currency systems in history we have detailed information on? I don't think it was gold/silver or other hard to produce materials. Probably these became more important ...
19
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4answers
4k views

Why was gold so popular and valuable back when it did not have many real world uses?

I'm talking about back when it was first starting to get discovered, like 2000 B.C. (roughly). Gold was being used for coins, jewellery and more. It was a very well known commodity and accepted ...
19
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3answers
2k views

Did Greek traders visit the Philippines in the 1st century AD?

According to the article Cebu, a Port City in Prehistoric and in Present Times, The Visayan Islands had earlier encounter [sic] with the Greek traders in 21 A.D. This is repeated in the ...
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2answers
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How was security on the Silk Road between China and the West maintained?

From the 2nd century BC to the beginning of the 15th century the Silk Road (or more correctly roads, as there were alternative routes) was the primary trade route between China and the West. One ...
17
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2answers
9k views

When were country of origin labels (e.g. Made in France) introduced?

I am interested in knowing when, where, and by whom "country of origin" labels (e.g. "Made in France") were first used on consumer goods.
16
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1answer
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Where was the furthest extent of Arabian trade explorations?

Traders from Arabia travelled to and traded with Roman and Asian empires and this Nabataean Sea Merchants article. How far did Arabian traders travel - where was the furthest extent of their ...
16
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1answer
330 views

How were taxes collected for traveling merchants in the middle ages?

I've done research on taxation in the middle ages. I found this answer particularly helpful. (What was the average percentage of taxes in Europe during the Middle Ages?). It mentions that merchants ...
15
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2answers
668 views

Where did the Roman money involved in the spice and luxury trade end up?

In the book "The Roman Empire and the Indian Ocean" by McLaughlin, which is a very interesting read, he states that annual bullion going to buy luxuries in India was around 50-100 million sesterces ...
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2answers
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Medieval Saharan Caravan Navigation

During the medieval times, trade caravans using camels criss crossed the Sahara and Meghreb. For example, salt caravans from the Empire of Mali to the near east. I've wondered for a long time how ...
13
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8answers
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First evidence of intercontinental or cross-cultural trade?

Probably this happened several times and maybe even failed and broke up in different regions. What hints and proofs do we have of the earliest succesful intercontinental trade relations? I assume ...
13
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2answers
947 views

In the 18th c., did/would China accept gold from Europe as trade payment? Why / why not?

In reading about the historical Opium situation in China, the silver trade is mentioned again and again. I get the impression that China only accepted silver, even though I have never seen gold ...
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2answers
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What did parchment and papyrus cost in the Roman Empire?

How much do we know of the costs of parchment and papyrus in Roman Empire? I'm especially interested in their cost ratio. So far I found some accounts for the other ends of the antiquity: in 301 a ...
13
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1answer
844 views

When did retailers stop wrapping purchases in paper and twine?

Listening to stories from relatives, it sounds like it was a near-universal practice (in the US, before the 1970s) to wrap retail purchases with brown paper and twine. Searching for information about ...
13
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3answers
866 views

What effect did the Bronze Age collapse have on India?

There was direct trade between Mesopotamia and India from the 3rd millennium BCE, and indirect trade as far back as the 9th millennium BCE. I'm wondering what effect the Bronze Age collapse (c. 1200 ...
12
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7answers
3k views

Was there a Japanese Exchange, à la Columbian Exchange?

After the European (re-)discovery of the Americas, there was a widespread transfer of animals, plants, culture, human populations, communicable diseases, technology and ideas between the Americas and ...
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1answer
1k views

Was there an export industry of papyrus from ancient Egypt?

While researching the orphism question I came across a mention of the Derveni Papyrus. While its content is highly interesting, I got curious as to how a papyrus showed up in 4th century BCE Macedonia ...
12
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3answers
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How extensive and developed was the ancient Kushite (Nubian) horse trade?

In 1997 there was a fascinating paper published called The Horses of Kush by Lisa A. Heidorn in the Journal of Near Eastern Studies which summarized some finds about the popularity of horses from Kush ...
11
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1answer
1k views

Who invented psychological pricing?

Psychological pricing sets price to slightly below a round value, (e.g. $19.99 instead of $20) The seller reduces the price by the smallest possible unit, but relies on the customer to perceive a ...
11
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2answers
233 views

When was grass seed first imported specifically for aesthetic reasons?

Wikipedia states that the term lawn dates to no earlier than the 16th century, and that in early 17th century Europe the concept of a closely cut lawn was born. I understand that certain luxuries were ...
11
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1answer
580 views

What kinds of goods were commonly smuggled in the Roman Empire up to the end of the 3rd century AD?

In April 2012, LIVESCIENCE reported on the discovery of a 3rd century AD ship which sank near Trapani, Sicily. According to the report, Her cargo, officially consisting of assorted jars once ...
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0answers
246 views

How did the Hansa organize river trade in the 14th and 15th centuries?

How did the Hansa accommodate the transition from sea to river trade along a trade route? Would river travel have been controlled by one group of people, e.g., Guild of the River Oder Merchants? Would ...
10
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5answers
13k views

Why was the spice trade so profitable in the 15th century?

During the 16th century, the Portuguese captured Melaka to dominate the lucrative spice trade; other city states such as Aceh, Banten, Brunei and Pegu also sprung up by exporting and trading spices. ...
10
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2answers
3k views

How did the Dutch East India Company (VOC) have so much revenue when they only control small part of Indonesia?

According to this, the VOC only controlled some ports, cities (like Batavia/Jakarta) and its surrounding. Yet, it seems to be a very successful corporation, mostly benefiting from the natural ...
10
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5answers
2k views

Where is the Nemesis?

Where is the Nemesis today? Is it simply 'lost at sea', at a museum somewhere, or more likely (as it was an EIC vessel), was it sold for scrap? I did a brief search (of the web), but couldnt find it. ...
10
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1answer
360 views

How did (riverine) toll castles operate?

Toll Castle A toll castle (WP) was a castle built either on a river, lake, or road intended to guard that trade route: Such castles were usually placed at strategic locations, such as border ...
9
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2answers
986 views

How did the US abolition of slavery affect the cotton exports?

Plantations in Southern US produced cash crops, including cotton. How was the price and output of cotton in the Southern US affected shortly after the abolition of slavery at the end of the American ...
9
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1answer
245 views

Was Rome exporting its trash to Egypt as an early example of recycling?

During the time that Egypt was a Roman province, it shipped large quantities of grain to Rome until 330 AD. The article Trade Routes and Commercial Products of Roman Pompeii says: Egypt was ...
9
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3answers
8k views

Status of merchants in feudal Europe

What was the status of merchants during the feudal age in Europe? Did they, like peasants, serve/have allegiance to certain land owning lord? If yes, do they have different status or privileges from ...
9
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1answer
191 views

How big was the kapa trade out of Hawaii?

The production of kapa bark cloth was a major industry in premodern Hawaii. Once Hawaii was opened to the outside world (1778 and onwards), was kapa exported from Hawaii? Was it a significant trade ...
8
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3answers
1k views

How did people acquire things in the pre-Roman Celtic world?

Today, when you want to acquire something that you don't make yourself, you buy it with money. How did people acquire things in the pre-Roman Celtic world? Let's say you wanted to acquire something ...
8
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2answers
841 views

Did the food economy of the late Roman republic rely on foreign imports, or was it more localized?

I'm curious to what degree Rome of the late republic was fed by imports as opposed to local goods. (Rome in this case meaning the city and the Italian peninsula, as opposed to her client states and ...
8
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2answers
3k views

Where did the demand for textiles during the industrial revolution come from?

A lot of the technological developments in the early-ish industrial revolution in Britain were about increasing the rate and efficiency of textile manufacture. It's easy to find material about what ...
8
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4answers
7k views

Spain's tributary empire vs. Portugal's seaborne empire

While the Spanish built a huge colonial empire in the Americas, why didn't Portugal colonize the South Asian coast and only aimed at controlling trade? Why did these empires pursue such different ...
8
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5answers
737 views

Is there a link between national debt/trade deficit and starting a war?

I saw in an article mentioning that there is a link between national debt and starting wars I don't recall where I've seen it mentioned to look for further references on the matter. Are there known ...
8
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3answers
2k views

What motivated Marco Polo to share his trade knowledge?

In his book written with the help of Rustichello da Pisa, The Travels of Marco Polo, Marco Polo (c. 1300) spent much time describing the various products available at different places. Such knowledge ...
8
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2answers
306 views

What is the earliest archaeological evidence of silk presence in Ancient Rome?

And are there any archaeological data about silk in pre-Imperial Rome?