Commercial Revolution

Topics: International trade, Capitalism, Europe Pages: 5 (1620 words) Published: May 8, 2013
Commercial Revolution

The discovery of the New World and the creation of its sea routes and the sea routes of the India brought plenty of changes to the whole world; these changes involved the culture, politics, economics and behaviors around the world. Moreover, during the period of the 14th to the 19th century, Europe was economically affected since they experienced the greatest economic changes in history and because of these modifications this period of time was called the Commercial Revolution. This period marked the end of Medieval Europe and the beginning of the modern era of the development. Moreover, it is of great importance to analyze how the discovery of America helped to improve Europe’s economy, how this had also a negative effect on its economy and what were the overall consequences of the commercial revolution.

As mentioned before, the Commercial Revolution was a period of time in which many changes surged. It was characterized by the rise of a capitalistic economy and the transition from a town-centered to a nation-centered economic system (Palmer y Colton); in other words, it was a capitalistic economy because there were private ownerships of the means of production and distribution, and they were implementing new techniques like investing in order to produce more capital. Moreover, it became a nation-centered economic system because it was not only focused in a specific region, but in the entire territory. This began as early as the fourteenth century and lasted until machine industry began to overshadow commerce in the nineteenth century. In order to understand the sequence of these events, it is important to start by pointing out that Europeans rediscovered spices, silk and other commodities in Europe. Therefore, this progress created a desire for trade which increased in the Middle Ages. It can be say that the Europeans had a visionary mind, they could have kept all their goods, but they took the right decision by trading what they rediscovered instead of keeping it for themselves.

Later on, they continued trading, so European nations were looking for new trade routes which led to new explorations. The new sea route to the East and the discovery of America brought a vast increase in trade not only for luxury items, but commodities like rice, sugar, tea, and more consumer goods. This period marked the beginning of the Europeans control over the world’s sea lanes, also it began creating a global market and spreading their culture throughout the entire world. In the Medieval Europe the basis of wealth was land, it means that the owners of the lands had a good life just by renting their lands. However, after the discovery of the America, gold and silver began flooding from the New World back into Europe. By having so much gold and silver, the colonies started trading between them, therefore Europe did not need to purchase from neighbor countries. Furthermore, there are cases in which the nations had power over the mines of the Americas, for example, when the Spanish crown received one fifth of all revenues from mines, they also had a right to the conscripted labor of 13, 300 Indians in the working and in the exploitation of the mines, this brought a tremendous mortality rates among such laborers. New mining techniques made it possible to produce greater quantities of silver, there was a total of ten million ounces of silver arriving in Spain from the Americas (Coffin and Stacey).

Sending ships on the long voyages to Asia or the Americas took large amount of money. As they knew, while profits could be great, so were the risks they decided to take. Unfortunately, many ships could never complete the long and dangerous ocean voyage. Therefore, the individual merchants needed to finance trading voyages, a new type of business arrangement; it was the joint-stock company. It operated in a similar way as Modern Corporation; its function was that investors purchased shares of stock that gave them...
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