Global Trade and Addiction during the Age of Exploration

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Maritime advances of the 1500s made Western Europe’s ambitions for global trade feasible and thus gave birth to Europe’s Age of Exploration. Through the combined use of caravels, compasses, and astrolabes, Europeans stumbled upon commodities in foreign lands known as “drug foods”. Consequently, this introduction would have a lasting impact on the Europeans, they became drug addicts. Furthermore, this addiction, the demand for these drugs, became permanently embedded into European culture. To please an everlasting demand, Europeans had to decide on how to frugally acquire these commodities. The decision taken was one of regarding profit over ethics. Moreover, this decision not only impacted the culture and economy of the exploiters, European countries, but also, reciprocally, that of the exploited. China and Haiti were two countries that were exploited by Europe’s immoral decision on capitalism.

China, due to its unique environment and legal codes, was the only country that held a monopoly on its “drug food,” tea. As the English sipped on something new for a change they became enlightened since tea actually had benefits unlike their once preferred drink, alcohol. Tea stimulated people to work longer hours, instead of being tired and thus going home early. They also began to gather at coffeehouses that had become the epicenter of the English people’s day to day interactions, whether to discuss business or politics. The daily consumption of tea became

mundane for the English and thus it became embedded in their culture; even presently the English are synonymous with tea. This surge in demand mixed with England’s sense of superiority pushed the English to break down China’s monopoly on tea. For the English, their str...

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...e’s sugar cravings, Portugal not only ruined an entire country, Haiti, but also became an advertisement for sin, slavery.

Prior to the Renaissance, Europeans yearned for religious salvation through moral deeds, however, during the Renaissance and the Age of Exploration, Europeans yearned, instead for profits through immoral business decisions; from the use of slavery to exploiting opium’s illicit uses. Though technological advances are supposed to help people, Europe’s case of maritime advances proved to the contrary. The trade and consumption of “drug foods” benefited the culture and economy of Europe, while it leached the cultural and economic vitality of other nations. Europe’s footprint is still evident in China, where opium is still a social and an economic problem, as well as in Haiti which remains crippled in every aspect of its economy and government.
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