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ECON 3R03 (26)
Jack Leach (26)


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McMaster University
Jack Leach

Course: ECON 3R03 - The History of Economic Growth Section: CO1 Instructor: J. Leach Date: 30-01-13 This was a time when city-states arose in parts of Europe, among them Venice & Genoa. Venice Venice was initially a small town on a swampy lagoon that survived by selling salt. Not far from the city was a supply of timber and they started building galleys from this timber supply. Their big break came when they aligned with the Byzantine empire which provided it protection from the Muslim fleets and the Normans (Norsemen, Vikings, etc). In return for this protection they gained trading privileges and became a central centre of trade for spices, silks and slaves. They were not a self- supporting city so they relied on trade to import anything they couldn’t produce locally. Genoa The Genoans began as pirates in the Mediterranean Ocean against Muslim shipping at sea and even going as far as raiding Muslim ports in North Africa. As a side note, piracy between Muslims and Christians at sea was rampant at this time. Most of the wealthy peoples at this time were middlemen who simply taxed the valuables coming through their hands. The Genoans started trading with Palestine and India sending the merchandise acquired to Italy. The area around the Black Sea is important for two reasons: (1) wheat was grown all around the edge of the Black Sea, (2) overland routes to China ended at the shores of the Black Sea and so control of the Black Sea gave the Genoans control of all trade to China. 1 The Genoans along with the Palaiologos family took control of the Black Sea from the Venetians for a period of around 200 years. The Genoans were the first to establish sea routes to England and Flanders versus the in-land river and land routes as used previously which resulted in the exchange of Eastern goods for cloth and raw wool. The sea routes were so successful that the Champagne Fairs ceased to exist for some years because of the efficacy of the sea routes. This coincided with the Christian Crusades into the Islamic world while the Genoans and the Venetians would trade goods strategically, shipping Christian soldiers into battle and yet selling ships to Muslim forces. Despire the military entanglements Christian and Muslim merchants retained good trade relations. The stationing of clerks and merchants across the Arab world, for the purposes of trade, led to the dissemination of Hindu/Arabic numerals among other knowledge advances (double-entry bookkeeping, sugar cultivation). The arrival of sugar in Europe was a significant development as preiously the only sweet thing the Europeans had had was honey. India India didn’t do anything spectacular from an economic perspective. The one notable exception was the cultivation and trade of black pepper which was exclusive to India at this time and became one of its most important trade commodities. Among the other important commodities were textiles, iron and steel. Prior to British occupation of India it consisted of a patchwork of tiny kingdoms, no one thought of India as one unified country. As we have seen previously this led to excessive warfare amo
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