commercial revolution


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commercial revolution,

in European history, a fundamental change in the quantity and scope of commerce. In the later Middle Ages steady economic expansion had seen the rise of towns and the advent of private banking, a money economy, and trading organizations such as the Hanseatic LeagueHanseatic League
, mercantile league of medieval German towns. It was amorphous in character; its origin cannot be dated exactly. Originally a Hansa was a company of merchants trading with foreign lands.
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. Under the new national monarchies, most notably those of Portugal, Spain, the Netherlands, and England, markets grew wider and more secure. Commercial expansion was supported by technical improvements in seafaring, and from about 1450 explorations were made, first to Africa, then to the Asia and the New World. By the mid-16th cent. the Asia carrying trade had been wrested from the Arabs, and Eastern goods poured into Europe. From the New World came gold and silver, which in less than a century more than doubled European prices and greatly stimulated economic activity.

The focus of commerce shifted from Mediterranean to Atlantic ports, chartered companieschartered companies,
associations for foreign trade, exploration, and colonization that came into existence with the formation of the European nation states and their overseas expansion. An association received its charter from the state and sometimes had state support.
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 were organized, and continued improvements in navigation and ship construction sped long voyages. As a worldwide trade evolved, the principles of mercantilismmercantilism
, economic system of the major trading nations during the 16th, 17th, and 18th cent., based on the premise that national wealth and power were best served by increasing exports and collecting precious metals in return.
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 were adopted, and local trade barriers were abrogated, stimulating internal commerce. Modern credit facilities also appeared; new institutions included the state bank, the bourse, and the futures market, and the promissory note and other new media of exchange were created. Quickened commercial activity brought economic specialization, thus leading to the transformations in production associated with modern capitalism. By 1700 the stage was set for the Industrial RevolutionIndustrial Revolution,
term usually applied to the social and economic changes that mark the transition from a stable agricultural and commercial society to a modern industrial society relying on complex machinery rather than tools.
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.

Bibliography

See H. A. Miskimin, The Economy of Early Renaissance Europe, 1300–1460 (1969); J. Gies, Merchants and Moneymen (1972); M. M. Postan, Medieval Trade and Finance (1973); P. Spufford, Power and Profit: The Merchant in Medieval Europe (2003).

References in periodicals archive ?
First session - April 15 Digital driven performance Change for any business can be a daunting and sometimes costly venture, however digital technologies, software applications and connectivity are helping shape a UK wide commercial revolution with regard to business efficiencies and productivity benefits.
That decade would mark the beginning of an ongoing commercial revolution in fabrics-many of which would weave their way into the uniforms worn by workers everywhere.
com)-- Birmingham, Alabama - Since 2008 the Cotton State has seen its share of manufacturing jobs leave the area to businesses overseas, so it's no surprise local manufacturers are showing an interest in a commercial revolution started by the American Machine Shops Network at http://MFGpartners.
It was the dawn of the commercial revolution spearheaded by BRMB, which also made stars out of Tony Butler and Les Ross.
Selling Sounds: The Commercial Revolution in American Music.
Some say that it was the commercial revolution and the rise of the middle class that brought us to the brink of victory over scarcity.
The first container voyage using standardised steel boxes on April 26, 1956, initiated by entrepreneur Malcolm McLean, began another commercial revolution leading to fantastic efficiencies, compared to loading loose cargoes in nets by crane.
The Law Merchant was indispensable to the Commercial Revolution, which would have been impossible without the lex mercatoria's development.
At the time of the Commercial Revolution during the 17th and 18th centuries, there were several notable episodes of economic volatility associated with growing international trade--the most infamous of which was the South Sea bubble.
Whichever way you look at it - by counting the ever present cranes, by adding up the figures invested or simply by walking around the city centre - the only conclusion to be drawn is that Liverpool is in the midst of a commercial revolution.
As a historian I also want to point out that "globalization" is to some degree an expansion and acceleration of a process that has been going on world-wide since about the thirteenth century with the commercial revolution.
Madrid host Roma in the Champions League tomorrow in one of their most crucial games for years with the credibility of president Florentino Perez's commercial revolution now at stake.

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