Chapter 1. The Making of Market Conventions
1.4 When Asia was the World Economy
When the Portuguese reached India by sea in the 1490s they set up the foundation of trade around the Indian Ocean. Islamic rule of the Byzantine world and the Sassanid lands made it safe for all traders to travels between the Mediterranean and the Indian Ocean. As their rule expanded further to parts of Europe, Africa, and Indonesia the trading business between countries prospered. Once fees were paid almost all traders of any religion were allowed to move and trade from place to place. Though this caused many wars, trade still went on. Goods weren’t the only thing being traded around the world, with the exchanging of items; knowledge of foreign things was also spread. Rice-growing was spread from Asia, to Africa and Europe. Other crops and good were also introduced to new parts of the world such as sorghum, paper, and Greek medicine. The Portuguese soon claimed the right to sink any ship that didn’t have permission which caused angry rulers and merchants to join together and ignore the Portuguese rules. In the 1600s the Portuguese rule was almost no more and instead of an Asia-centered world economy it was a Europe-centered world economy thanks to the Dutch and English.
1.5 Treating Good News as No News
A trader from Venice, named Marco Polo, traveled to Asia with his father and uncle. They came home with a fortune. Polo told many of his adventures that occurred in the 25 years he spent in Asia. But because of European beliefs about Asia he was not believed. Out of all the people he told one of them was a romance writer, the writer then went on to make a book of Polo’s stories. After 1324, a clown mocked Polo in carnivals telling audiences about Marco’s unbelievable ‘tales’. Things such as a paper money based economy and cities with a population of 2 million just could not be understood by the Venetians. But just because the people of Venice would not believe Polo doesn’t mean that everyone thought that his stories were a bunch of lies. A map was made in Catalonia based on Polo’s words. Prince Henry of Portugal and Christopher Columbus used these books as guides rather than amusement.
1.8 A British Merchant in the Tropics
Now that foreign traders are able to go to Brazil you have considered traveling there with some of your friends who are in the same profession as you. Since 1810, you have been given special privileges; you also have many connections to people who can give you big opportunities. Even though the economy is not doing well in Brazil you still decide it is a good place for someone like you to start a coffee market. With a lot of hard work and quick thinking you and your fellow merchants prevail in running a coffee market. Chapter 2. The Tactics of Transport
2.1 Woods, Winds, Shipbuilding, and Shipping: Why China Didn’t Rule the Waves Surprisingly, treasure ships made for the Chinese navy were once the largest ships in the world. These ships were able to cover distances that no other ship at the time could. But in the 1400s support from the Ming dynasty was no more. Instead they began to put more attention to other things that seemed more important to the well-being of their country. Once they decided to no longer build treasure ships, certain markets such as timber were not a concern for the Chinese government anymore. To save money China built smaller to trade, this increased profits and made it safer for merchants to trade among others. The Chinese decided to play it safe while Europe took big risks that ended up opening an eye for the world of trade.
2.2 Better to Be Lucky than Smart
It probably wasn't a surprise to those who knew him when he became a slave trader; he had always wanted to be wealthy and didn't care what he had to do to succeed. After constant rejection from people to pay for his to the 'Indies' queen Isabel and King Ferdinand decide to take a leap of faith with him. But because of...
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