Europeans wanted commercial connections with Asia. Christopher Columbus and Vasco da Gama both sought for a route to Asia. Motivation above all was the desire for the spices in Asia, although other Eastern products were also sought after. European civilizations just recovered from the Black Death. The national monarchies were learning ways to govern more efficiently and effectively. During this time some cities were becoming international trade centers.
The Indian Ocean commerce was very rich and diverse. But the Portuguese did not have goods of a quality that was any effective competition. So the portuguese took to the sea lanes. Portuguese ships were more maneuverable than other ships, and they also carried cannons. They established fortified bases at very key locations such as Mombasa, Hormuz, Goa, Malacca, and Macao. The Portuguese created the “trading post empire.” The goal was to control commerce. But not necessarily the territories or populations. They operated by the force of arms, not by the economic competition. At their height the Portuguese controlled about half of the spice trade to Europe. The Portuguese gradually assimilated to the Indian Ocean trade patterns. They carried Asian goods to Asian ports. Infact, many Portuguese settled into Asian or African ports. The Portuguese trade pos...
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...ed male slaves. There was a distinctiveness of slavery in the Americas. The scale and importance of the slave trade in the americas was enormous. It was largely based on plantation agriculture, with slaves denied any rights at all. The slave 's status was inherited. There was little hope of manumission. There was widespread slavery in society that valued human freedom and equality- unlike anywhere else except maybe ancient greece.
A study of global commerce in the early modern period shows both how different and how similar we are to people of the past. Globalization isn 't just the 20th century phenomenon, but early modern globalization was much slower and on a smaller scale. Early modern globalization was not yet centered on Western civilizations. Early modern economic life was mostly pre-industrial. Early globalization was tied to empire building and slavery.
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