- The Task of World History
- Theories of World History since the Enlightenment
- World Environmental History
- Nomadic pastoralism
- States, State Transformation, and War
- Religions and World History
- Technology, Engineering, and Science
- Advanced Agriculture
- Trade across Eurasia to about 1750
- Biological Exchanges in World History
- Cultural Exchanges in World History
- Pre-modern Empires
- Modern Imperialism
- East Asia and Central Eurasia
- South Asia and Southeast Asia
- The Middle East in World History
- Africa in World History: The Long, Long View
- Europe and Russia in World History
- Mediterranean History
- The Americas, 1450–2000
- The Atlantic Ocean Basin
- Oceania and Australasia
- The pacific Ocean Basin to 1850
Abstract and Keywords
This article discusses trade across Europe and Asia up to 1750. It describes merchants, towns, and mercantile strategy in ca. 3500–143 bce; trade under the aegis of empire, ca. 560 bce–600 ce; China, Islam, and the Mongols in 589–1500; and Europe in the East, ca. 1100–1750. In Asia Minor, distribution clusters near the source-points, then fall off in proportion to distance. What is clear is that the habit of exchange extends far back into the human past. This article's discussion deals with long-distance traffic in luxury goods, and only for Eurasia and parts of Africa. While evidence of ancient trade is not lacking elsewhere, it is only for Eurasia that one can track the local connections that would eventually be knitted into a global framework. From about 3500 bce, commercial institutions slowly radiated outwards from southern Mesopotamia.
James D. Tracy is Professor Emeritus of History at the University of Minnesota and editor of the Journal of Early Modern History.
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