Continuity and Change in Trade Patterns from 1450-1914

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Continuity and Change in Trade from 1450-1914 2/22/13 East Asia The years 1450 to 1914 were a volatile time for trade. In 1450, trade was based mostly on the Silk Road, with a majority of goods coming from the Middle and Far East. The New World still wasn’t explored and the slave trade had not started yet. A new era of European expansion and dominance was just around the corner. Many things changed and new goods, even human ones, were traded across the globe from 1450 to 1914. But while many things changed some stayed the same. Two changes were the shift in world dominance from East Asia to Western Europe and China closing itself off from the world. Two continuities are that China remained a major exporter of several invaluable goods and that China stuck to its agricultural roots and never industrialized, even while the world around them was doing so. Even though China was in a rapidly changing time, it still tried to stay to its roots. One important part of Chinese life was agriculture; almost 70% of the people were farmers in 1500 because of the large population. While Europe, India, and Japan industrialized sometime from 1450 to 1914, China never did. Even after China’s self-imposed isolation ended, several periods of widespread famine, and the disaster known as the Opium Wars in the 19th century, which allowed the Europeans and their ships to travel anywhere in China, and made the Chinese pay tribute. After all of this, China still did not industrialize until the 1960’s. In the early 16th century, China had largely isolated itself from the outside world. But it still remained a large exporter of many goods, such as tea, silk, cotton, ore, and porcelain as it had been for centuries. These goods remained the last vestige of the once seemingly unshakeable Chinese influence on global trade. The Chinese also only accepted silver as payment for their

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