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The Commercial Revolution consisted in the creation of a European economy based on trade, which began in the 11th century and lasted until it was succeeded by the Industrial Revolution in the mid-18th century. Beginning with the Crusades, Europeans rediscovered spices, silks, and other commodities rare in Europe. This development created a new desire for trade, and trade expanded in the second half of the Middle Ages. Newly forming European states, through voyages of discovery, were looking for alternative trade routes in the 15th and 16th centuries, which allowed the European powers to build vast, new international trade networks. Nations also sought new sources of wealth and practiced mercantilism and colonialism. The Commercial Revolution is marked by an increase in general commerce, and in the growth of financial services such as banking, insurance, and investing.
The Industrial Revolution was the transition to new manufacturing processes in Europe and the US, in the period from about 1760 to sometime between 1820 and 1840. This transition included going from hand production methods to machines, new chemical manufacturing and iron production processes, the increasing use of steam power and water power, the development of machine tools and the rise of the mechanized factory system. The Industrial Revolution also led to an unprecedented rise in the rate of population growth.
The Crusades were a series of religious wars sanctioned by the Latin Church in the medieval period. The most commonly known Crusades are the campaigns in the Eastern Mediterranean aimed at recovering the Holy Land from Muslim rule, but the term "Crusades" is also applied to other church-sanctioned campaigns. These were fought for a variety of reasons including the suppression of paganism and heresy, the resolution of conflict among rival Roman Catholic groups, or for political and territorial advantage. At the time of the early Crusades the word did not exist, only becoming the leading descriptive term around 1760.
Silk is a natural protein fiber, some forms of which can be woven into textiles. The protein fiber of silk is composed mainly of fibroin and is produced by certain insect larvae to form cocoons. The best-known silk is obtained from the cocoons of the larvae of the mulberry silkworm Bombyx mori reared in captivity (sericulture). The shimmering appearance of silk is due to the triangular prism-like structure of the silk fibre, which allows silk cloth to refract incoming light at different angles, thus producing different colors.
The term itself was used by Karl Polanyi in his The Great Transformation: "Politically, the centralized state was a new creation called forth by the Commercial Revolution...".Later the economic historian Roberto Sabatino Lopez, used it to shift focus away from the English Industrial Revolution. In his best-known book, The Commercial Revolution of the Middle Ages (1971, with numerous reprints), Lopez argued that the key contribution of the medieval period to European history was the creation of a commercial economy between the 11th and the 14th century, centered at first in the Italo-Byzantine eastern Mediterranean, but eventually extending to the Italian city-states and over the rest of Europe. This kind of economy ran from approximately the 14th century through the 18th century. Walt Whitman Rostow placed the beginning "arbitrarily" in 1488, the year the first European sailed around the Cape of Good Hope. Most historians, including scholars such as Robert S. Lopez, Angeliki Laiou, Irving W. Raymond, and Peter Spufford indicate that there was a commercial revolution of the 11th-13th centuries, or that it began at this point, rather than later.
The Italian city-states were a political phenomenon of small independent states mostly in the central and northern Italian Peninsula between the 9th and the 15th centuries.
Walt Whitman Rostow was an American economist and political theorist who served as Special Assistant for National Security Affairs to US President Lyndon B. Johnson from 1966 to 1969.
The Cape of Good Hope is a rocky headland on the Atlantic coast of the Cape Peninsula in South Africa.
Italy first felt huge economic changes in Europe from the 11th to the 13th centuries. Typically there was:
Italy, officially the Italian Republic, is a country in Southern and Western Europe. Located in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, Italy shares open land borders with France, Switzerland, Austria, Slovenia and the enclaved microstates San Marino and Vatican City. Italy covers an area of 301,340 km2 (116,350 sq mi) and has a largely temperate seasonal and Mediterranean climate. With around 61 million inhabitants, it is the fourth-most populous EU member state and the most populous country in Southern Europe.
Genoa is the capital of the Italian region of Liguria and the sixth-largest city in Italy. In 2015, 594,733 people lived within the city's administrative limits. As of the 2011 Italian census, the Province of Genoa, which in 2015 became the Metropolitan City of Genoa, counted 855,834 resident persons. Over 1.5 million people live in the wider metropolitan area stretching along the Italian Riviera.
Bologna is the capital and largest city of the Emilia-Romagna Region in Northern Italy. It is the seventh most populous city in Italy, at the heart of a metropolitan area of about one million people.
Verona is a city on the Adige river in Veneto, Italy, with 258,108 inhabitants. It is one of the seven provincial capitals of the region. It is the second largest city municipality in the region and the third largest in northeast Italy. The metropolitan area of Verona covers an area of 1,426 km2 (550.58 sq mi) and has a population of 714,274 inhabitants. It is one of the main tourist destinations in northern Italy, because of its artistic heritage and several annual fairs, shows, and operas, such as the lyrical season in the Arena, the ancient amphitheater built by the Romans.
In recent writing on the city states, American scholar Rodney Stark emphasizes that they married responsive government, Christianity and the birth of capitalism.He argues that Italy consisted of mostly independent towns, who prospered through commerce based on early capitalist principles and kept both direct Church control and imperial power at arm's length.
Rodney William Stark is an American sociologist of religion who was a long time professor of sociology and of comparative religion at the University of Washington. He is presently the Distinguished Professor of the Social Sciences at Baylor University, co-director of the university's Institute for Studies of Religion, and founding editor of the Interdisciplinary Journal of Research on Religion.
Cambridge University historian and political philosopher Quentin Skinnerhas pointed out how Otto of Freising, a German bishop who visited central Italy during the 12th century, commented that Italian towns had appeared to have exited from feudalism, so that their society was based on merchants and commerce. Even northern cities and states were also notable for their merchant republics, especially the Republic of Venice. Compared to absolutist monarchies or other more centrally controlled states, the Italian communes and commercial republics enjoyed relative political freedom conducive to academic and artistic advancement. Geographically, and because of trade, Italian cities such as Venice became international trading and banking hubs and intellectual crossroads.
Otto of Freising was a German churchman and chronicler. He was Otto I Bishop of Freising as from 1138.
The Republic of Venice or Venetian Republic, traditionally known as La Serenissima was a sovereign state and maritime republic in northeastern Italy, which existed for over a millennium between the 7th century and the 18th century from 697 AD until 1797 AD. It was based in the lagoon communities of the historically prosperous city of Venice, and was a leading European economic and trading power during the Middle Ages and the Renaissance.
Harvard historian Niall Fergusonpoints out that Florence and Venice, as well as several other Italian city-states, played a crucial innovative role in world financial developments, devising the main instruments and practices of banking and the emergence of new forms of social and economic organization.
It is estimated that the per capita income of northern Italy nearly tripled from the 11th century to the 15th century. This was a highly mobile, demographically expanding society, fueled by the rapidly expanding Renaissance commerce.
In the 14th century, just as the Italian Renaissance was beginning, Italy was the economic capital of Western Europe: the Italian States were the top manufacturers of finished woolen products. However, with the Bubonic Plague in 1348, the birth of the English woolen industry and general warfare, Italy temporarily lost its economic advantage. However, by the late 15th century Italy was again in control of trade along the Mediterranean Sea. It found a new niche in luxury items like ceramics, glassware, lace and silk as well as experiencing a temporary rebirth in the woolen industry.
During the 11th century in northern Italy a new political and social structure emerged: the city-state or commune. The civic culture which arose from this urbs was remarkable. In some places where communes arose (e.g. Britain and France), they were absorbed by the monarchical state as it emerged. They survived in northern and central Italy as in a handful of other regions throughout Europe to become independent and powerful city-states. In Italy the breakaway from their feudal overlords occurred in the late 12th century and 13th century, during the Investiture Controversy between the Pope and the Holy Roman Emperor: Milan led the Lombard cities against the Holy Roman Emperors and defeated them, gaining independence (battles of Legnano, 1176, and Parma, 1248; see Lombard League).
Similar town revolts led to the foundation of city-states throughout medieval Europe, such as in Russia (Novgorod Republic, 12th century), in Flanders (Battle of Golden Spurs, 14th century) in Switzerland (the towns of the Old Swiss Confederacy, 14th century), in Germany (the Hanseatic League, 14th–15th century), and in Prussia (Thirteen Years' War, 15th century).
Some Italian city-states became great military powers very early on. Venice and Genoa acquired vast naval empires in the Mediterranean and Black Seas, some of which threatened those of the growing Ottoman Empire. During the Fourth Crusade (1204), Venice conquered a quarter of the Byzantine Empire.
The Maritime Republics were one of the main products of this new civic and social culture based on commerce and exchange of knowledge with other areas of the world outside western Europe. The Republic of Ragusa and the Republic of Venice, for example, had important trade communications with the Muslim and Hindu world and this helped the initial development of the Italian Renaissance.
By the late 12th century, a new and remarkable society had emerged in Northern Italy, rich, mobile, and expanding, with a mixed aristocracy and urban borghese (burgher) class, interested in urban institutions and republican government. But many of the new city-states also housed violent factions based on family, confraternity and brotherhood, who undermined their cohesion (for instance the Guelphs and Ghibellines).
By 1300, most of these republics had become princely states dominated by a Signore. The exceptions were Venice, Florence, Lucca, and a few others, which remained republics in the face of an increasingly monarchic Europe. In many cases by 1400 the Signori were able to found a stable dynasty over their dominated city (or group of regional cities), obtaining also a nobility title of sovereignty by their formal superior, for example in 1395 Gian Galeazzo Visconti bought for 100,000 gold florins the title of Duke of Milan from the emperor Wenceslaus.
In the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, Milan, Venice, and Florence were able to conquer other city-states, creating regional states. The 1454 Peace of Lodi ended their struggle for hegemony in Italy, attaining a balance of power and creating the conditions for the artistic and intellectual changes produced by the Italian Renaissance.
The deterioration of the climate that brought about the end of the medieval warm period (or medieval weather anomaly) caused an economic decline at the beginning of the 14th century (see Great Famine). However, demographic expansion continued until the arrival of the Black Death epidemic in 1347, when ca. 50% of the European population was killed by the plague. The economic effects of a labor shortage actually caused wages to rise, while agricultural yields were once again able to support a diminished population. By the beginning of the 15th century, the economic expansion associated with the Commercial Revolution in earlier centuries returned in full force, aided by improvements in navigation and cartography.
Geopolitical, monetary, and technological factors drove the Age of Discovery. During this period (1450-17th century), the European economic center shifted from the Islamic Mediterranean to Western Europe (Portugal, Spain, France, the Netherlands, and to some extent England). This shift was caused by the successful circumnavigation of Africa, which opened up sea-trade with the east: after Portugal's Vasco da Gama rounded the Cape of Good Hope and landed in Calicut, India in May 1498, a new path of eastern trade was possible, ending the monopoly of the Ottoman Turks and the Italian city-states.The wealth of the Indies was now open for the Europeans to explore; the Portuguese Empire was one of the early European empires to grow from spice trade. Following this, Portugal became the controlling state for trade between east and west, followed later by the Dutch city of Antwerp. Direct maritime trade between Europe and China started in the 16th century, after the Portuguese established the settlement of Goa, India in December 1510, and thereafter that of Macau in southern China in 1557. Since the English came late to the transatlantic trade, their commercial revolution was later as well.
In 1453, the Ottoman Turks took over Constantinople, which cut off (or significantly increased the cost of) overland trade routes between Europe and the Far East,so alternative routes had to be found. English laws were changed to benefit the navy, but had commercial implications in terms of farming. These laws also contributed to the demise of the Hanseatic League, which traded in northern Europe. Because of the Reconquista, the Spanish had a warrior culture ready to conquer still more people and places, so Spain was perfectly positioned to develop their vast overseas empire. Rivalry between the European powers produced intense competition for the creation of colonial empires, and fueled the rush to sail out of Europe.
The need for silver coinage also affected the desire for expanded exploration as silver and gold were spent for trade to the Middle and Far East. The Europeans had a constant deficit in that silver and gold coin only went one way: out of Europe, spent on the very type of trade that they were now cut off from by the Ottomans.
Another issue was that European mines were exhausted of silver ore and gold. What ore remained was too deep to recover, as water would fill the mine, and technology was not sufficiently advanced enough to successfully remove the water to get to the ore or gold.
A second argument is that trade during the youth of the Commercial Revolution blossomed not due to explorations for bullion (gold and silver coinings) but due to a new found faith in gold coinage. Italian city-states such as Genoa and Florence (where the first gold coins began to be minted in 1252) and kingdoms such as the Kingdom of Sicily routinely received gold through such trading partners as Tunisia and Senegal.A new, stable and universally accepted coinage that was both compatible with traditional European coinage systems and serviced the increased demand for currency to facilitate trade made it even more lucrative to carry out trade with the rest of the world.
From the 16th to 18th centuries, Europeans made remarkable maritime innovations. These innovations enabled them to expand overseas and set up colonies, most notably during the 16th and 17th centuries. They developed new sail arrangements for ships, skeleton-based shipbuilding,the Western “galea” (at the end of the 11th century), sophisticated navigational instruments, and detailed charts and maps. After Isaac Newton published the Principia , navigation was transformed, because sailors could predict the motion of the moon and other celestial objects using Newton's theories of motion. Starting in 1670, the entire world was measured using essentially modern latitude instruments. In 1676, the British Parliament declared that navigation was the greatest scientific problem of the age and in 1714 offered a substantial financial prize for the solution to finding longitude. This spurred the development of the marine chronometer, the lunar distance method and the invention of the octant after 1730. By the late 18th century, navigators replaced their prior instruments with octants and sextants.
Significant contributors to European exploration include Prince Henry the Navigator of Portugal, who was the first of the Europeans to venture out into the Atlantic Ocean, in 1420. Others are Bartolomeu Dias, who first rounded the Cape of Good Hope; Vasco da Gama, who sailed directly to India from Portugal; Ferdinand Magellan, the first to circumnavigate the Earth; Christopher Columbus, who significantly encountered the Americas; Jacques Cartier, who sailed for France, looking for the Northwest Passage;and others.
The economy of the Roman Empire had been based on money, but after the Empire's fall, money became scarce; power and wealth became strictly land based, and local fiefs were self-sufficient. Because trade was dangerous and expensive, there were not many traders, and not much trade. The scarcity of money did not help;however, the European economic system had begun to change in the 14th century, partially as a result of the Black Death, and the Crusades.
Banks, stock exchanges, and insurance became ways to manage the risk involved in the renewed trade. New laws came into being.[ clarification needed ] Travel became safer as nations developed. Economic theories[ clarification needed ] began to develop in light of all of the new trading activity. The increase in the availability of money led to the emergence of a new economic system, and new problems to go with it.[ clarification needed ] The Commercial Revolution is also marked by the formalization of pre-existing, informal methods of dealing with trade and commerce.
Spain legally amassed approximately 180 tons of gold and 8200 tons of silver through its endeavors in the New World, and another unknown amount through smuggling,spending this money to finance wars and the arts. The spent silver, suddenly being spread throughout a previously cash starved Europe, caused widespread inflation. The inflation was worsened by a growing population but a static production level, low employee salaries and a rising cost of living. This problem, combined with underpopulation (caused by the Black Death), affected the system of agriculture. The landholding aristocracy suffered under the inflation, since they depended on paying small, fixed wages to peasant tenants that were becoming able to demand higher wages. The aristocracy made failed attempts to counteract this situation by creating short-term leases of their lands to allow periodic revaluation of rent. The manorial system (manor system of lord and peasant tenant) eventually vanished, and the landholding aristocrats were forced to sell pieces of their land in order to maintain their style of living. Such sales attracted the rich bourgeois (from the French word referring to this dominant class, emerging with commerce), who wanted to buy land and thereby increase their social status. Former "common lands" were fenced by the landed bourgeois, a process known as "enclosure" which increased the efficiency of raising livestock (mainly sheep's wool for the textile industry). This "enclosure" forced the peasants out of rural areas and into the cities, resulting in urbanization and eventually the industrial revolution.
On the other hand, the increase in the availability of silver coin allowed for commerce to expand in numerous ways. Inflation was not all bad.
Various legal and religious developments in the late Middle Ages allowed for development of the modern banking system at the beginning of the 16th century. Interest was allowed to be charged, and profits generated from holding other people's money.
Banks in the Italian Peninsula had great difficulty operating at the end of the 14th century, for lack of silver and gold coin.Nevertheless, by the later 16th century, enough bullion was available that many more people could keep a small amount hoarded and used as capital.
In response to this extra available money, northern European banking interests came along; among them was the Fugger family. The Fuggers were originally mine owners, but soon became involved in banking, charging interest, and other financial activities. They dealt with everyone, from small-time individuals, to the highest nobility. Their banks even loaned to the emperors and kings, eventually going bankrupt when their clients defaulted.This family, and other individuals, used Italian methods which outpaced the Hanseatic League's ability to keep up with the changes occurring in northern Europe.
Antwerp had one of the first money exchanges in Europe, a Bourse, where people could change currency. After the Siege of Antwerp (1584-1585), the majority of business transactions were moved to Amsterdam. The Bank of Amsterdam, following the example of a private Stockholm corporation, began issuing paper money to lessen the difficulty of trade, replacing metal (coin and bullion) in exchanges. In 1609 the Amsterdamsche Wisselbank (Amsterdam Exchange Bank) was founded which made Amsterdam the financial center of the world until the Industrial Revolution. In a notable example of crossover between stock companies and banks, the Bank of England, which opened in 1694, was a joint-stock company.
Banking offices were usually located near centers of trade, and in the late 17th century, the largest centers for commerce were the ports of Amsterdam, London, and Hamburg. Individuals could participate in the lucrative East India trade by purchasing bills of credit from these banks, but the price they received for commodities was dependent on the ships returning (which often did not happen on time) and on the cargo they carried (which often was not according to plan). The commodities market was very volatile for this reason, and also because of the many wars that led to cargo seizures and loss of ships.
Trade in this period was a risky business: war, weather, and other uncertainties often kept merchants from making a profit, and frequently an entire cargo would disappear all together. To mitigate this risk, the wealthy got together to share the risk through stock: people would own shares of a venture, so that if there was a loss, it would not be an all consuming loss costing the individual investor everything in one transaction.
Other ways of dealing with the risk and expense associated with all of the new trade activity include insurance and joint stock companies which were created as formal institutions. People had been informally sharing risk for hundreds of years, but the formal ways they were now sharing risk was new.
Even though the ruling classes would not often directly assist in trade endeavors, and individuals were unequal to the task,rulers such as Henry VIII of England established a permanent Royal Navy, with the intention of reducing piracy, and protecting English shipping.
Stock exchanges were developed as the volume of stock transactions increased. The London Royal Exchange established in 1565 first developed as a securities market, though by 1801 it had become a stock exchange.
Historian Fernand Braudel suggests that in Cairo in the 11th-century Muslim and Jewish merchants had already set up every form of trade association and had knowledge of every method of credit and payment, disproving the belief that these were invented later by Italians. In 12th century France the courratiers de change were concerned with managing and regulating the debts of agricultural communities on behalf of the banks. Because these men also traded with debts, they could be called the first brokers. In late 13th century Bruges commodity traders gathered inside the house of a man called Van der Beurse, and in 1309 they became the "Bruges Beurse", institutionalizing what had been, until then, an informal meeting. The idea quickly spread around Flanders and neighboring counties and "Beurzen" soon opened in Ghent and Amsterdam.
"In the middle of the 13th century Venetian bankers began to trade in government securities. In 1351 the Venetian government outlawed spreading rumors intended to lower the price of government funds."Bankers in Pisa, Verona, Genoa and Florence also began trading in government securities during the 14th century. This practice was only possible, because these independent city states were not ruled by a duke but a council of influential citizens. The Dutch later started joint stock companies, which let shareholders invest in business ventures and get a share of their profits - or losses. In 1602, the Dutch East India Company issued the first shares on the Amsterdam Stock Exchange. It was the first company to issue stocks and bonds.
The Amsterdam Stock Exchange (or Amsterdam Beurs) is also said to have been the first stock exchange to introduce continuous trade in the early 17th century. The Dutch "pioneered short selling, option trading, debt-equity swaps, merchant banking, unit trusts and other speculative instruments, much as we know them."
Insurance companies were another way to mitigate risk. Insurance in one form or another has been around as far back as there are records. What differed about insurance going into the 16th and 17th centuries was that these informal mechanisms became formalized.
Lloyd's of London came into being in 1688 in English coffee shops that catered to sailors, traders, and others involved in trade. Lloyd's coffeehouse published a newspaper, which gave news from various parts of the world, and helped the underwriters of the insurance at the coffeehouse to determine the risk.This innovation was one of many that allowed for the categorization of risk. Another innovation was the use of ship catalogs and classifications.
Other forms of insurance began to appear as well. After the Great Fire of London, Nicholas Barbon began to sell fire insurance in 1667.
Laws were changed to deal with insurance issues, such as l'Ordonnance de la Marine (by Colbert in 1681).
As the economy grew through the Commercial Revolution, so did attempts to understand and influence it. Economic theory as a separate subject of its own came into being as the stresses of the new global order brought about two opposing theories of how a nation accumulates wealth: mercantilistic and free-trade policies. Mercantilism inflamed the growing hostilities between the increasingly centralized European powers as the accumulation of precious metals by governments was seen as important to the prestige and power of a modern nation. This involvement in accumulating gold and silver (among other things) became important in the development of the nation-state. Governments' involvement in trade affected the nobility of western European nations, because increased wealth by non-nobles threatened the nobility's place in society.
Governments became involved in trade directly through the granting of royal trade monopolies. For example, Walter Raleigh had been granted a trade monopoly by Queen Elizabeth, for the export of broadcloth and wine.Ironically, competition between colonial powers led to their granting of trade monopolies to the East India Companies.
A triangular trade occurred in this period: between Africa, North America, and England; and it worked in the following way: Slaves came from Africa, and went to the Americas; raw materials came from the Americas and went to Europe; from there, finished goods came from Europe and were sold back to the Americas at a much higher price.
Because of the massive die-off of the indigenous people, the Atlantic Slave Trade was established to import the labor required for the extraction of resources (such as gold and silver) and farming.
Laws began to change to deal with commerce, both internationally, and locally within individual countries.
In France, for example, the Ordinance of Marine of Louis XIV was published under the auspices of Colbert in 1691, and was the first complete code of maritime and commercial law; and "when we consider the originality and extent of the design and the ability with which it is executed, we shall not hesitate to admit that it deserves to be ranked among the noblest works that legislative genius and learning have ever accomplished."
In England, the Navigation Acts were among the British effort to regulate trade.
The Commercial Revolution, coupled with other changes in the Early Modern Period, had dramatic effects on the globe. Christopher Columbus and the conquistadors, through their travels, were indirectly responsible for the massive depopulation of South America. They were directly responsible for destroying the civilizations of the Inca, Aztec, and Maya in their quest to build the Spanish Empire. Other Europeans similarly affected the peoples of North America as well.
An equally important consequence of the Commercial Revolution was the Columbian Exchange. Plants and animals moved throughout the world due to human movements. For example, Yellow fever, previously unknown in North and South America, was imported through water that ships took on in Africa.Cocoa (chocolate), coffee, maize, cassava, and potatoes moved from one hemisphere to the other.
For more than 2000 years, the Mediterranean Sea had been the focus of European trade with other parts of the world. After 1492, this focus shifted to the Atlantic Ocean by routes south around the Cape of Good Hope, and by trans-Atlantic trade.
Another important change was the increase in population. Better food and more wealth allowed for larger families. The migration of peoples from Europe to the Americas allowed for European populations to increase as well. Population growth provided the expanding labor force needed for industrialization.
Another important outcome of Europe's commercial revolution was a foundation of wealth needed for the industrial revolution.Economic prosperity financed new forms of cultural expression during this period.
Dutch West India Company was a chartered company of Dutch merchants as well as foreign investors. Among its founders was Willem Usselincx (1567–1647). On June 3, 1621, it was granted a charter for a trade monopoly in the Dutch West Indies by the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands and given jurisdiction over Dutch participation in the Atlantic slave trade, Brazil, the Caribbean, and North America. The area where the company could operate consisted of West Africa and the Americas, which included the Pacific Ocean and the eastern part of New Guinea. The intended purpose of the charter was to eliminate competition, particularly Spanish or Portuguese, between the various trading posts established by the merchants. The company became instrumental in the largely ephemeral Dutch colonization of the Americas in the seventeenth century. From 1624 to 1654, in the context of the Dutch-Portuguese War, the WIC held Portuguese territory in northeast Brazil, but they were ousted from Dutch Brazil following fierce resistance.
Mercantilism is a national economic policy that is designed to maximize the exports of a nation. Mercantilism was dominant in modernized parts of Europe from the 16th to the 18th centuries before falling into decline, although some commentators argue that it is still practiced in the economies of industrializing countries in the form of economic interventionism.
Trade involves the transfer of goods or services from one person or entity to another, often in exchange for money. A system or network that allows trade is called a market.
Commerce relates to "the exchange of goods and services, especially on a large scale." It includes legal, economic, political, social, cultural and technological systems that operate in a country or in international trade.
The Dutch East India Company was an early megacorporation founded by a government-directed amalgamation of several rival Dutch trading companies (voorcompagnieën) in the early 17th century. It was established on March 20, 1602 as a chartered company to trade with India and Indianised Southeast Asian countries when the Dutch government granted it a 21-year monopoly on the Dutch spice trade. It has been often labelled a trading company or sometimes a shipping company. However, VOC was in fact a proto-conglomerate company, diversifying into multiple commercial and industrial activities such as international trade, shipbuilding, and both production and trade of East Indian spices, Formosan sugarcane, and South African wine. The Company was a transcontinental employer and an early pioneer of outward foreign direct investment. The Company's investment projects helped raise the commercial and industrial potential of many underdeveloped or undeveloped regions of the world in the early modern period. In the early 1600s, by widely issuing bonds and shares of stock to the general public, VOC became the world's first formally-listed public company. In other words, it was the first corporation to be listed on an official stock exchange. It was influential in the rise of corporate-led globalisation in the early modern period.
A businessperson is a person involved in the business sector – in particular someone undertaking activities for the purpose of generating cash flow, sales, and revenue utilizing a combination of human, financial, intellectual and physical capital with a view to fuelling economic development and growth. An entrepreneur is an example of a businessperson.
Financial services are the economic services provided by the finance industry, which encompasses a broad range of businesses that manage money, including credit unions, banks, credit-card companies, insurance companies, accountancy companies, consumer-finance companies, stock brokerages, investment funds, individual managers and some government-sponsored enterprises. Financial services companies are present in all economically developed geographic locations and tend to cluster in local, national, regional and international financial centers such as London, New York City, and Tokyo.
Euronext Amsterdam is a stock exchange based in Amsterdam. Formerly known as the Amsterdam Stock Exchange, it merged on 22 September 2000 with the Brussels Stock Exchange and the Paris Stock Exchange to form Euronext.
The history of capitalism has diverse and much debated roots, but fully-fledged capitalism is generally thought to have emerged in north-west Europe, especially in the Low Countries and Britain, in the sixteenth to seventeenth centuries. Over the following centuries, capital has accumulated by a variety of different methods, in a variety of scales, and associated with a great deal of variation in the concentration of economic power and wealth, and capitalism has gradually become the dominant economic system throughout the world. Much of the history of the past five hundred years is, therefore, concerned with the development of capitalism in its various forms.
A financial centre is a broad term the IMF define as encompassing: International Financial Centres (IFCs), such as New York City, London, and Tokyo; Regional Financial Centres (RFCs), such as Boston, Frankfurt, and Sydney; and Offshore Financial Centres (OFCs), such as The Cayman Islands, Dublin, and Singapore.
The maritime republics of the Mediterranean Basin were thalassocratic city-states which flourished in Italy and Dalmatia during the Middle Ages. The best known among the maritime republics are Venice, Genoa, Pisa, and Amalfi. Less known are Ragusa, Gaeta, Ancona, and Noli.
Archaic globalization is a phase in the history of globalization, and conventionally refers to globalizing events and developments from the time of the earliest civilizations until roughly 1600. Archaic globalization describes the relationships between communities and states and how they were created by the geographical spread of ideas and social norms at both local and regional levels.
Money is any item or verifiable record that is generally accepted as payment for goods and services and repayment of debts, such as taxes, in a particular country or socio-economic context. The main functions of money are distinguished as: a medium of exchange, a unit of account, a store of value and sometimes, a standard of deferred payment. Any item or verifiable record that fulfils these functions can be considered as money.
The Byzantine economy was among the most robust economies in the Mediterranean for many centuries. Constantinople was a prime hub in a trading network that at various times extended across nearly all of Eurasia and North Africa. Some scholars argue that, up until the arrival of the Arabs in the 7th century, the Eastern Roman Empire had the most powerful economy in the world. The Arab conquests, however, would represent a substantial reversal of fortunes contributing to a period of decline and stagnation. Constantine V's reforms marked the beginning of a revival that continued until 1204. From the 10th century until the end of the 12th, the Byzantine Empire projected an image of luxury, and the travelers were impressed by the wealth accumulated in the capital. All this changed with the arrival of the Fourth Crusade, which was an economic catastrophe. The Palaiologoi tried to revive the economy, but the late Byzantine state would not gain full control of either the foreign or domestic economic forces.
The Champagne fairs were an annual cycle of trading fairs held in towns in the Champagne and Brie regions of France in the Middle Ages. From their origins in local agricultural and stock fairs, the Champagne fairs became an important engine in the reviving economic history of medieval Europe, "veritable nerve centers" serving as a premier market for textiles, leather, fur, and spices. At their height, in the late 12th and the 13th century, the fairs linked the cloth-producing cities of the Low Countries with the Italian dyeing and exporting centers, with Genoa in the lead. The fairs, which were already well-organized at the start of the 12th century, were one of the earliest manifestations of a linked European economy, a characteristic of the High Middle Ages. From the later 12th century, the fairs, conveniently sited on ancient land routes and largely self-regulated through the development of the Lex mercatoria, the "merchant law", dominated the commercial and banking relations operating at the frontier region between the north and the Mediterranean.
The financial history of the Dutch Republic involves the interrelated development of financial institutions in the Dutch Republic. The rapid economic development of the country after the Dutch Revolt in the years 1585–1620 accompanied by an equally rapid accumulation of a large fund of savings, created the need to invest those savings profitably. The Dutch financial sector, both in its public and private components, came to provide a wide range of modern investment products beside the possibility of (re-)investment in trade and industry, and in infrastructure projects. Such products were the public bonds, floated by the Dutch governments on a national, provincial, and municipal level; acceptance credit and commission trade; marine and other insurance products; and shares of publicly traded companies like the Dutch East India Company (VOC), and their derivatives. Institutions like the Amsterdam stock exchange, the Bank of Amsterdam, and the merchant bankers helped to mediate this investment. In the course of time the invested capital stock generated its own income stream that caused the capital stock to assume enormous proportions. As by the end of the 17th century structural problems in the Dutch economy precluded profitable investment of this capital in domestic Dutch sectors, the stream of investments was redirected more and more to investment abroad, both in sovereign debt and foreign stocks, bonds and infrastructure. The Netherlands came to dominate the international capital market up to the crises of the end of the 18th century that caused the demise of the Dutch Republic.
This article covers the Economic history of Europe from about 1000 AD to the present. For the context, see History of Europe.
The Amsterdam Entrepôt is the shorthand term that English-language economic historiographers use to refer to the trade system that helped the Dutch Republic achieve primacy in world trade during the 17th century.
Duecento was the Italian word for the Italian culture during the 13th century.