Growth of Regional Trade Networks: c. 1450 - c. 1750

AP Concept: 4.1 Globalizing Networks of Communication and Exchange
Key Concepts
  • Regional trade networks intensified
Trans-Saharan Trade
  • The trans-Saharan trade continued to support the growth of powerful west African states
  • With the Mali Empire weakening in the mid-1400s, the state of Songhay took over and grew in wealth through the trans-Saharan trade
  • Goods such as salt, textiles, and metal flowed into Songhay, which provided gold and slaves in return
Overland Eurasian Trade
  • Caravan trading continued to thrive between the Baltic Sea and China, and on routes that carried goods to China and the Indian Ocean
  • Commercial hubs grew along trade routes
  • Aleppo in Syria became the most important commercial center in the Middle East by the end of the 16th century, as it was located at the end of land routes from India and Baghdad
  • Trading flourished within the Ottoman Empire (1300s - 1923), and government authorities made sure to accommodate trade because of its lucrative tax revenue
  • Built trading inns, or caravanserai, along routes to accommodate merchants and their animals
Indian Ocean Trade
  • Muslims, Indians, Malays, and other traders continued to use the Indian Ocean as an extensive trading network, and European exploration significantly altered it
  • India remained the geographic and economic center of this trade, but other countries played significant roles, and trade expanded to the China Seas
  • Goods such as silk, cotton, rice, porcelain, and spices flowed throughout India, China, and southeast Asia
  • Ming China expanded its economy by trading its highly coveted porcelain for silver and other products, using the China Seas
  • During the 1400s the Portuguese searched for and established footholds in the Indian Ocean trade, thanks to explorers like Vasco da Gama
  • By the mid-1500s, Portugal had established 50 trading posts between west Africa and east Asia, and therefore had cheaper access to Asian spices such as pepper, ginger, cloves, and nutmeg
  • As a result, Indian Ocean trade evolved into part of a global economy

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European Exploration: c. 1450 - c. 1750