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36

Recognition of independence is different from de facto independence. While the Dutch Republic was officially recognised as independent only in 1648, it was actually founded 80 years earlier by the Union of Utrecht of 1579. The Dutch provinces were largely autonomous even before they entered into open revolt, but the treaty laid down a constitutional ...


36

That would have depended on the ship and your destination. To get a sense of the savings (the travel times are from today), consider the presentation that's referenced on the Suez Canal wiki page. As a point of comparison, London to New York is a bit over 3,300 nautical miles (6,200km) when traveling by sea. So going through Suez when traveling from Hormuz ...


31

The nature of the silk road meant that it had to pass through commercial centres. "The Silk Road was largely fragmented and very few merchants travelled the whole route. Goods were passed from one merchant to another until it reached the final buyers" source So deviation over the steppes wasn't really possible as it was not the intermediaries goal to ...


30

Well there were a few reasons They pretty much had all they needed resource-wise in the country, trade was not a prerogative and even though Zheng He did go out exploring they were not interested in colonies or mercantilism. Mercantilism was pretty much frowned upon within the Confucian system, merchants did not produce goods they moved them around and made ...


28

According to Manuel Moreyra Paz Soldán, El Virreinato de Perú, 1980, p. 79, the coinage embarked on ships corresponded to: Taxes obtained from the provinces and citizens in America: "recaudación para la Real Hacienda". Salaries from workers and sailors: "cajas de soldadas, incluyendo de la tripulación" Money to pay the expenses of the voyage: "talegas ...


25

From "The origin of metallic currency and weight standards" By Sir William Ridgeway (Google books); University Press, 1892 ... We saw that the Arabs of the Soudan down to the present day prefer silver to gold whilst in the earlier part of the present century when Japan was opened to European commerce the Japanese eagerly exchanged gold for silver at the ...


22

During the era when the Phoenicians ruled the Mediterranean sea and surrounding territories (cerca 1550 - 300 B.C.), salt was indeed a highly precious commodity. After this, the Romans became the dominant force in the Mediterranean, though the value of salt did not immediately decline by any means. Whether it was pound-for-pound as valuable as gold, I think ...


22

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. ...


22

I'm hoping that this answer will resonate with your "theory of colonial economy", although it is not based on historical sources. Coins shouldn't be viewed as end products manufactured from a raw material. The metal is minted primarily to provide a standard way to quantize and control the content (amount) of the precious metal during circulation. For that ...


20

All the sources I've perused can, just as Wikipedia does, only surmise on the how and why gunpowder made its way to Europe. The Oxford Encyclopedia of Medieval Warfare and Military Technology offers a nutshell overview of the possible routes that might have been taken: Just how the secret of gunpowder traveled west-ward to Europe will probably never be ...


18

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 goods, ...


18

Three steam ships of the Blue Funnel Line used both routes (round the Cape of Good Hope and via the Suez Canal) between Europe and Asia from 1866 to 1870. Upon switching from round the Cape to through the Suez Canal, these same ships saved between 10 and 12 days. Arthur Holt's Blue Funnel Line sister ships Agamemnon, Ajax and Achilles all sailed on their ...


17

I'm not into proscribing a lot of collective guilt onto modern peoples for acts of their cultural ancestors. In fact, its damn silly. However, if someone else is trying to do this publicly, they should be really careful, because when it comes to slavery almost no culture on earth has clean hands. This includes Muslim society, and local Niger-Congo1 cultures. ...


16

I don't think that gold and salt ever were equal in value, that's an exaggeration. Salt was very valuable however, particularly because of its use for conservation - valuable enough to make one very rich. This allowed cities that sold salt (e.g. Lüneburg) to get very wealthy and influential. The Wieliczka salt mine supposedly was responsible for one third of ...


16

There were a few successful instances of mercantilism by countries that started behind others, and needed to "catch up." These include Russia under Peter the Great in the 18th century, and later, under Count Witte early in the 20th century. Another example was Japan after the Meiji Restoration of 1868, and again, right after World War II. China may be ...


16

Germany lacked raw resources, mostly oil, rubber, manganese, nickel, iron, chrome &c, as well as food. This is what they tried to get from wherever they could. I believe the most important Germany's trade partner in the first third of the war (1939-1941) was the USSR. Everyone knows about the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact and its secret protocols, but the ...


15

I will not interpret intercontinental in modern terms but rather view it as trade among distinct civilisations. Such trade dates back to Ancient Egyptian civilisations, Babylonians and Indus Valley Civilisation. Proofs exists in form of archeological excavations of, for example, potteries of Indus Civilisation in Iran and other parts of central Asia. The ...


15

Just take a look at any political map, let it be Classical period, or early Medieval times. When travelling to China you need water, supplies of food, fodder, etc. Also it's safer to spend a night in a city or some kind of inn instead of open steppe spaces. Then what Joe mentioned, between the cities you've got roads, which again - are safer. South of Black ...


15

It's not a full answer, but if you're interested by medieval Arabic travels, the unavoidable reference is Ibn Baṭūṭah. In his Rihla, he describes three travels he made during the 14th century : from Tangiers to middle-East, with a travel along the East coast of Africa, down to Zanbar and Kilwa. (map here) from Mecca to Beijing, and back, through Eastern ...


15

Many of the coins shipped to Europe were quickly and crudely minted. These were called cobs. According to a page at Notre Dame University, The intention in minting these crude but accurately weighed cobs was to produce an easily portable product that could be sent to Spain. In Spain the cobs would be melted down to produce silver jewelry, coins, bars and ...


14

The question is a bit confusing. The way I read it, you're asking why something expensive has enough demand to sustain a profitable trade ("How did the high price of spices allow such high demand?"). The answer is that it wasn't that expensive. A pound of spices might cost several days' worth of wages for an average craftsman, but a pound of pepper is a lot ...


14

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 from ...


14

In addition to the points already raised by @TomAu and @DevSolar... The Pacific lend-lease route skirted the problem by officially being handled by the Soviets. Supervision and routing was handled by the Soviets. Cargo was loaded into Soviet flagged ships, many US ships were handed over to the Soviets. Since ships on the route might be inspected by the ...


13

Usually islamic banks give loans for a share in the income of the business project as opposed to fixed percent of the loan sum (see mudarabah) The consumer loans may utilize another scheme: the bank buys, for example, a car and it becomes the bank's property, then you use this car and slowly re-buy it from the bank for greater money. Once you finished, the ...


13

The Industrial Revolution resulted in massive gains for worker productivity. The textile industry in particular was a leading and early driver of the industrialisation process. In fact, the importance and impact of the British textile manufacture was such that the Industrial Revolution has been called "mainly the revolution of the cotton industry in Britain"....


13

Gold and Silver are worth so much that their "bulk" is very rarely a problem. Coins make it easier to count them. Their bulk is increased slightly; say by a factor of 2. This makes gold 10 g/cm^3 and silver 5 g/cm^3. Now, a ship's hold has to be significantly under 1 g/cm^3 in order for the ship to float (otherwise the interior of a ship is heavier than ...


12

It's difficult to give a proper answer, because during any century of Middle Ages there could be many reasons for closing trading routes for European merchants as outsiders in various parts of Islamic world (which is huge). And it didn't need to have anything in common with religion - it could be the level of civilization (early medieval Europe), an economic ...


12

Japanese cuisine and culture are very much focused on rice - I don't think you can really call anything else a staple food. However, there are a number of foodstuff that had been introduced into Japan by Europeans, and achieved varying levels of popularity. For example, base foodstuffs that have became important include: Chili pepper, introduced in 1542 - ...


12

Before the Romans took over Egypt, Sicily and Africa were the primary sources of grain. ("Africa" in the Roman context means just the Northwest portion of the continent.) These areas continued to be a major source of grain until the provinces were lost to first the Vandals and later the Muslims after the fall of the Western Empire. Italy itself ceased to ...


11

The first evidence of usage of currency dates back to the code of Lipit-Ishtar, a set of laws dating to about 2000 BC. In this code there is mention of shekels of silver paid in compensation for various infractions. Since this is stated so clearly in a law created by a king, it must be presumed that such currency was in common use already by the people of ...


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