The Commercial Revolution Trade, Mercantilism, and War
Definition • A rapid increase in global trade occurring in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries involving new goods, new techniques, and new institutions.
Mercantilism • 1. Real wealth is specie (i.e., hard money, gold and silver) • 2. There is a natural scarcity of resources in the world. • 3. Nations must maximize their exports and minimize their imports. • Acquire colonies • Set up trade monopolies • Build navies/merchant marine • Fight trade and colonial wars • Erect high tariffs • Build roads, canals, and subsidize key industries
The Rise of the Dutch • Geographic—ideal location, center of textiles, protection from attack (dikes). • Economic—scientific agriculture, institutions (Bank of Amster., joint-stock comps., entrepot system), financial leaders, fluyts, rejected mercantilism • Social—mercantile elite, bourgeois influence, tolerant, Calvinist frugality • Political—decentralized authority, representative institutions (Estates-General)
“An Embarrassment of Riches”: New Goods • Cloth—silks, cotton, calicoes • Spices—pepper, mace, nutmeg, cinnamon, saffron, etc. • Foods—sugar, tea, coffee, rum, molasses
“The Inhuman Trade” • Begun by Portuguese in 15th century • Taken over by Dutch • Most went to New World • “Middle Passage” • Sugar plantations • Mixing of cultures • Racism
“The Tasty and Bitter Fruits” • Improved diet, standard of living, life expectancy • Increase in size and power of middle class • More resources for state in power drive • Rise of global economy and geopolitics, European exploitation/dominance • Constant but limited warfare, 1600-1763 • Shift in balance of power to those nations that most efficiently organized resources
Commercial Wars, 1600-1763 • Anglo-Dutch Naval Wars, 1652-74 • Louis’s Dutch Wars, 1667-79 • Nine Years War (League of Augsburg), 1688-97 • Treaty of Ryswick • Role of William III • War of Spanish Succession, 1701-14 • War of Jenkins Ear, 1739-44