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Japan trade

(797 words)

Author(s): Häberlein, Mark
Within a few years of the discovery of the sea route to India by Vasco da Gama in 1497/98, the Portuguese had built an extensive network of bases in the Indian Ocean stretching as far as the Strait of Malacca in the east. Although word of the wealth of China and Japan had fired the imaginations of Europeans since the reports of Marco Polo, forging commercial relations with these empires initially proved difficult.When the first Portuguese arrived in Japan in 1543, the country was riven by conflicts between regional princes ( daimyo). Some of them welcomed the Portuguese as tradin…
Date: 2019-10-14

Trade diaspora

(10,787 words)

Author(s): Häberlein, Mark | Freitag, Ulrike | Nagel, Jürgen G. | Lang, Heinrich | Zürn, Martin
1. Introduction 1.1. Structural features and problems of researchThe specialization of ethnic and religious minorities in particular branches of trade, within which they attained a strong and sometimes dominant position amounting to a “trade diaspora” or a “middlemen minority,” is a phenomenon observable since the Middle Ages. Jewish merchants, for instance, already had an important position in trade on the European continent and in the Mediterranean by the High Middle Ages, and the Jewish trade diaspor…
Date: 2022-11-07

American indigenous peoples, trade with

(1,231 words)

Author(s): Häberlein, Mark
1. The beginnings of trade-relations between native Americans and Europeans After the Spaniards had subjugated the great indigenous empires of continental Central and SouthAmerica (Conquista), they set up a colonial government and secured for themselves the control over productive land as well as the affiliated trade monopolies (Colonial empire); the trade with the native population was more or less restricted to barter in hard-to-access frontier regions. In pre-1600North America, however,  all European a…
Date: 2019-10-14

World economic centers

(12,407 words)

Author(s): Häberlein, Mark | Lang, Heinrich | Weller, Thomas | Lesger, Clé | Schulte Beerbühl, Margrit | Et al.
1. Introduction 1.1. Definition“A world economy,” wrote Fernand Braudel, “always has an urban pole, a city at the logistical hub of its trade. Information, goods, capital, credit, people, orders, and commercial correspondence flow into it and out from it. Great merchants, often rich to excess, call the shots there” (“Une économie-monde possède toujours un pôle urbain, une ville au centre de la logistique de ses affaires; les informations, les marchandises, les capitaux, les crédits, les ho…
Date: 2023-11-14


(2,183 words)

Author(s): Häberlein, Mark | Hofer, Sibylle
1. Terminology and subjectToday the German term  Wucher (usury) denotes the profiteering of a market participant in commodity or credit transactions or in employment contracts, exploiting the plight, carelessness, or market ignorance of the disadvantaged party; it is a punishable offence in both civil and criminal law. The modern definition assumes a distinction between usury and interest – in principle justified – that came about only in the course of the early modern period (Interest [banking]). The OT forbids both usury and interest without distinction as exploi…
Date: 2023-11-14

Factory (trading post)

(1,564 words)

Author(s): Denzel, Markus A. | Häberlein, Mark
1. Europe The term  factory was much more common in Europe in the high and late Middle Ages than in the early modern period. The Italian word  fattoria, the etymon of the loanword, first appears in connection with the great Tuscan trading companies of the high Middle Ages; it denoted a fortified outpost or “branch” of a trading company in a foreign commercial center, headed by a factor (Italian  fattore) [6]. The network of factories of the great South German companies (Fugger family; Welser) with permanent offices in the major European commercial centers (A…
Date: 2019-10-14


(899 words)

Author(s): Häberlein, Mark
Pearls (probably from Vulgar Latin  pernula; “haunch,” “sea-mussel”) - accretions of mother-of-pearl, generally around the size of a pea and spherical or pear-shaped, that form in response to irritation in freshwater and seawater bivalves, became exceedingly popular jewelry items and status symbols for the social elites of Europe and Asia in ancient times and have remained so ever since (cf. also Crown [symbol of sovereignty]). Until the early modern period, oriental pearls from the Gulf of Persia an…
Date: 2020-10-06

Plantation (estate)

(2,399 words)

Author(s): Häberlein, Mark
1. DefinitionPlantations are large agricultural operations, found mostly in the tropics and subtropics, that produce commodities for trans-regional markets. In contrast to haciendas, which mostly produced grain and cattle for regional markets, early modern plantations concentrated on cash crops like sugar, tobacco, cotton, and coffee, whose production was usually highly labor-intensive; they also contributed little to self-sufficiency. Also in contrast to haciendas, it was unusual on plantations …
Date: 2020-10-06

Production, global areas of

(2,109 words)

Author(s): Bley, Helmut | Häberlein, Mark
1. IntroductionIn discussions of the evolution of early modern global interaction, the emphasis as a rule has been on trade territories and relationships (World economy). Trade in raw materials (e.g. cotton, silk, dye, or wood), finished goods (e.g. textiles or metalware), colonial goods (especially coffee, cocoa, tobacco, and sugar), and precious metals (gold, silver, and copper) tied existing global production into new commercial exchange relationships and led to the emergence of new global pro…
Date: 2021-03-15


(1,060 words)

Author(s): Häberlein, Mark
1. Africa In the late Middle Ages, the high material and symbolic value of gold in Europe, helped by a generally low price point, led to rising demand that the Central- and Eastern-European deposits could no longer supply. This shortage made the search for gold deposits outside of Europe attractive; the centuries-long phenomenon of African gold arriving in the Mediterranean from the Sahara via the caravan trade was an important motivation for the Portuguese voyages of discovery (see Expansionism) …
Date: 2019-10-14


(3,203 words)

Author(s): Häberlein, Mark | Reith, Reinhold | Antonin, Daniela
1. TradeUntil the early 18th century, porcelain was an exclusively Chinese commodity that had played an important role in trade for centuries before the arrival of the Europeans and the advent of the Asia trade. It was in the early 14th century, under the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368), that China began production of blue-and-white porcelain, which was intended specifically for export. Archaeological finds show that the main export regions in the 14th and early 15th centuries were India and the Near Ea…
Date: 2021-03-15


(756 words)

Author(s): Häberlein, Mark
1. DefinitionThe term  enclosure denotes the allocation of agricultural land formerly worked in common to individual property owners and the associated transformation of the English countryside by the erection of fences, walls, and hedges, along with the layout of new roads and paths. Enclosure also superseded tithes;  the beneficiaries were compensated with land.Mark Häberlein2. HistoryIn England enclosure began in the late Midle Ages; in the southern Midlands, by the late 17th century a third of the agricultural land had already been enclosed.…
Date: 2019-10-14


(2,708 words)

Author(s): Häberlein, Mark | Tschopp, Silvia Serena | Keazor, Henry
1. Counterfeiting 1.1 Criminal aspectsThe theory of criminal law and legislation of European states in the early modern era defined and sanctioned crimes of counterfeiting in very different ways. In German criminal-law theory from the 16th to the 19th century, the application of Roman law (Ius commune) was of primary importance, which recognized a series of  crimina falsi such as false witness, falsification of documents (charter), falsified boundaries, counterfeit coin, and falsification of weights and measures. The medieval Italian jurisprudence…
Date: 2019-10-14

Animal trade

(1,197 words)

Author(s): Häberlein, Mark
1. Introduction The great importance of animals to humans, as food, means of transport and propulsion, and prestige objects and status symbols, was reflected in a complex animal trade in the early modern period. Distinctions can be made between the trade in animals for slaughter (Cattle, Sheep, Pig) to supply urban populations (Livestock), the trade in horses as a versatile riding, draft, and working animal (see below, 3.), and the trade in exotic animals in the context of elites’ appetite for lux…
Date: 2019-10-14
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