Course description and learning goals

This course explores the changes in the global long-distance trading network after the geographical discoveries of the late 1400s and early 1500s. Even though there has been a rich scholarship produced about this period, the effects of the discoveries on global networks still leave room for further research. By investigating the historical and archaeological evidence the course explores the new centers of trade, as well as the new trade routes and transportation methods that have emerged after the new marine routes were opened. At the same time, the course looks at continuing networks and trading communities. The goal of the course is to offer a synthesis of the existing scholarship on the trading activities of the early modern period (sixteenth and seventeenth centuries), with highlighting the changes and continuities that occurred after the geographical discoveries.

The learning goals include:

  • familiarizing with the scholarship and sources (historical and archaeological) of the global Early Modern long-distance trading networks and understanding how these sources relate to each other through their interpretation
  • assessing and remembering the most important actors of global trade, the main political events that shaped these actors and their networks, and the most common goods that traveled around the world via these actors
  • reflecting on the key paradigms regarding long-distance trade in the Early Modern period, together with the latest scholarship that challenges these paradigms
  • synthetizing the knowledge acquired during the course to further explore and critically assess evidence and scholarship connected to the commercial trade in the Early Modern period