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, city, United States
Commerce, city (2020 pop. 12,459), Los Angeles co., S Calif., a suburb of Los Angeles; inc. 1960. An important transportation hub for S California, Commerce is the home of several large corporations. There is food processing and diverse manufacturing. In 1927, Charles A. Lindbergh landed The Spirit of St. Louis at the old Vail Field in Commerce while on a nationwide tour following his transatlantic flight.


, in economics
commerce, traffic in goods, usually thought of as trade between states or nations. Engaged in by all peoples from the earliest times, it has been carried on in some areas and by some peoples more than others, because of special geographical, technological, or economic advantages. The Egyptians, the Sumerians and later inhabitants of Mesopotamia, the Cretans, the Syrians, the Phoenicians, the Greeks, the Arabs, and the Western Europeans have excelled in commerce, tapping the resources of the East, Oceania, the Americas, and Africa.

The Rise of Commerce in Europe

The Crusades did much to widen European trade horizons and prefaced the passing of trade superiority from Constantinople to Venice and other cities of N Italy. In the 15th and 16th cent. with the sudden expansion of Portugal and Spain the so-called commercial revolution reached a climax. In N and central Europe, the earlier supremacy of the Hanseatic League, the Rhenish cities, and the cities of N France and Flanders was eclipsed by the rise of national states. Antwerp began its long career of glory when the Spanish were losing hegemony, and the Dutch briefly triumphed in the race for world commerce in the 17th cent. The Dutch in turn gave way to a British-French rivalry that by 1815 left Great Britain paramount.

The rise of the chartered company under the auspices of the national state had much to do with the expansion of trade, as did the modern corporation, which later displaced the chartered company. The Industrial Revolution of the 18th and the 19th cent. also fostered the development of commerce, generating both products for trade and the means for trading them. World commerce was aided materially by the invention of the astrolabe, the mariner's compass, and the sextant; by the development of iron and steel construction; by the application of steam to both land and water transport; and by the more recent development of the telephone, telegraph, cable, radio, and the Internet, and of inventions such as refrigeration, the gasoline engine, the electric motor, the airplane, and the computer.

International Trade Today

The theory of commerce as imposed by the national state has varied from the mercantilism of the 17th and 18th cent. and the protective tariff of the 19th and 20th cent. to the free trade that Britain long upheld. After World War II the cold war limited trade between Communist and capitalist countries until the late 1980s, but the need for commercial expansion led to the creation of a number of international and regional systems designed to remove trade barriers. The International Monetary Fund was established in 1944 to help nations finance temporary trade deficits. The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), signed in 1947 by 23 major industrial countries to reduce tariffs, evolved into an ongoing mechanism for reducing trade barriers, and after eight rounds of negotiations, the Uruguay Round (the last round, 1995) created the World Trade Organization.

In 1957 the European Economic Community was created, and in the 1980s and early 90s European leaders signed a series of agreements that created a unified West European economy in 1993 (see European Union). In 1992 leaders from the United States, Canada, and Mexico signed the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA); Mercosur was established a year earlier in South America. Nonetheless, national economic interests have been difficult to overcome, and a number of countries, including the United States, passed protectionist legislation and enacted retaliatory tariffs in the 1980s and 90s.


See M. Beard, A History of Business (2 vol., 1938; repr. 1962–63); C. S. Belshaw, Traditional Exchange and Modern Markets (1965); W. Culican, The First Merchant Venturers (1967); R. S. Lopez, The Commercial Revolution of the Middle Ages (1971); R. Rosencrance, The Rise of the Trading State (1986); W. Gill, Trade Wars against America (1990); A. K. Smith, Creating a World Economy (1991); J. J. Schott, ed., The World Trading System (1996).

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the activity embracing all forms of the purchase and sale of goods and services
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
At the end of the Baxter poem, after the commercial traveller's pronouncement that a real barman would probably have grunted and said, "Yes, you can put a ring rotund that."
In his early years in Australia he worked as a wheat lumper, timber getter, commercial traveller, and as a flour miller in various places.
One Stockton commercial traveller on a fixed salary of [pounds]250 a year plus a further commission of [pounds]150, a local preacher, who was so trusted by his employer that he allowed him to make donations to charitable causes on his behalf, embezzled some [pounds]1,700 before being discovered.
Already in 1904 the days of the old-style British commercial traveller were numbered.
*** Mr John Baird, commercial traveller, 3 Millar Place, Stirling, learned their second son, John, a private in the Cameron Highlanders, was killed in action on December 14, 1917.
The film finds Det Insp Harry Martineau (Stanley Baker) pursuing a dangerous escaped convict through 1960s Manchester and across Saddleworth Moor, encountering on the way a superior cast of character actors, from Donald Pleasance's genteel bookmaker to George A Cooper's cynical pub landlord and Warren Mitchell's nervous commercial traveller.
He became a commercial traveller for the Educational Supply Association for five years, during which time he took up amateur dramatics with the St Pancras People's Theatre in London.
The report stated: "Sergeant Frank C D'Auvergne, a former commercial traveller, now of the DLI, whose home address is Borden, Clifton, Morpeth, ran forward 50 yards with a Bren and caused a German crew to abandon their tank.
(14) This commercial function distinguished the commercial traveller from hawkers, pedlars, or 'Scotch drapers, who carried small items for sale directly to consumers either by calling door to door or by selling at fairs and markets.
My dad, an Adamsdown boy, a commercial traveller, was killed on a flight home from Belfast.
On the Tuesday afternoon of August 22, 1899, 50-year-old George William Cornwall, a commercial traveller who had spent some time at the troubled house for reasons still unknown, had been found in a Chester and Runcorn railway carriage at Edge Hill Station with his throat cut so deeply, the blade had notched the spine - and yet the knife that took Cornwall's life was never found, despite an inch-by-inch search for miles along the train tracks leading to Edge Hill Station.
Isaac is a commercial traveller and is listed as German and a foreign subject.

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