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

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

If you get rich in a business you soon find that you have no reasonable 'line of work' for your money, or in other word: capital. So you get essentially too rich for meaningful expansion in your core ...
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33 votes
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What's the rationale for shipping coins back to Spain from its colonies?

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

According to this database (specifically the spreadsheet file, column D) a 100kg of rye bread cost 8.22 guilder in the western Netherlands in 1645, which should at least give you a rough idea to ...
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26 votes

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

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 ...
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25 votes
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How was security on the Silk Road between China and the West maintained?

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

"Banning harmful imports" was often done. Prime example being the satanic brew. Coffee was banned in Mecca, Italy, Contantinople/Ottoman Empire, Prussia. Similarly: tea was banned in East Frisia, ...
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20 votes
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Why was the spice trade so profitable in the 15th century?

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?...
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20 votes

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

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 ...
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19 votes

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

I don't think you're going to find anything close to the precision you are asking for here. And as DevSolar has commented I think you are way off the mark by specifying prices in gold. I do have one ...
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18 votes
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When were country of origin labels (e.g. Made in France) introduced?

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-...
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  • 17.9k
18 votes

Were there any well-established land trade routes in the US colonies around 1700? What did they look like?

In 1700, the population of the British North American colonies was concentrated mainly along the coast. Roads were terrible and dangerous, and most people would have used the natural highways, the ...
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17 votes
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What goods did Germany trade during World War II, and with whom?

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 ...
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17 votes
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What did parchment and papyrus cost in the Roman Empire?

TL;DR: There is no good answer to this question, because (1) we are missing reliable sources, (2) because there was no market price for any certain commodity, not for one and the same time and ...
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17 votes
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Where did the Roman money involved in the spice and luxury trade end up?

The evidence available suggests that much of the gold and silver coinage which came to India from Rome was (1) melted down to produce local coins and jewelry, (2) defaced by local rulers and used ...
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16 votes

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

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

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 ...
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15 votes

Why did Japan fail to interfere with shipping from America to Vladivostok from 1941-1945?

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 ...
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15 votes
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Did the Axis engage in trade with other countries during the war?

Germany Germany's international trade was largely restricted to overland routes due to the allied blockade. In 1942, Germany's main exports consisted of engineering products, metals and fuels. In ...
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14 votes
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How were taxes collected for traveling merchants in the middle ages?

I will try to answer this question beginning beyond its set time scope by including trade practices that were instituted in the late Roman/early Byzantine period and the Muslim world. In their work &...
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13 votes
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Was there a Japanese Exchange, à la Columbian Exchange?

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

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 ...
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  • 96.2k
13 votes

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

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 ...
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  • 360
13 votes

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

Assuming you accept books as an answer (and your comment suggests that you do) there are at least two wiki pages that list books that have been banned by governments: List of books banned by ...
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12 votes
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Did the food economy of the late Roman republic rely on foreign imports, or was it more localized?

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 ...
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12 votes

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

This article (emphasis mine) discusses the Canton System and its silver requirement: But it wasn’t just any kind of trade: China deliberately (and exclusively) exported value-added, refined ...
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12 votes

What are the three major differences between the first and second silk road?

Short Answer There is support among some historians for identifying three periods of major activity along the Silk Road. Some list only two, others four (by dividing one of the three into two halves)...
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11 votes

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

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 ...
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11 votes
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Were Christian Mediterranean ports open to Muslim traders in the middle ages?

Generally speaking, Christian ports were not closed to Muslim traders per se. While Muslim traders were relatively rare outside of Iberia in the Middle Ages, they were not unheard of either. For ...
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  • 96.2k
11 votes

Before WW2, how did Japan pay for imported US oil?

Before 1930, Japan had a "considerable (see quote below if link is broken)" trade surplus with the US, much of this stemming from exports of silk. Japan also had a substantial trade surplus ...
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