The Great Trade Routes: A History of Cargoes and Commerce Over Land and Sea
For centuries trade has been vital to the growth and prosperity of societies. The ancient world saw the expansion of Western Asian, Mediterranean and Polynesian civilizations as transport networks for trade were established. These routes were instrumental in founding urban centres and trading ports that became ethnically and culturally diverse hubs of commerce and learning. Later, imperial expansion reached far-flung corners of the world, bringing all manner of goods to a mass populace. The Great Trade Routes examines the principal trade networks throughout history. Encompassing coastal and trans-oceanic maritime trade, inland waterway traffic, and overland trade, it traces the steps of the pioneering explorers and merchants who pushed into remote regions across the globe. Filled with fascinating historical detail, exotic locales, and a wealth of illustrations, the book analyzes the importance of trade to commercial and cultural exchange, focusing on great routes such as the Silk Road, the Grand Trunk, Via Maris, Hanseatic and Mediterranean sea-routes, tea and grain races and passages to the New World. From cargoes of semi-precious stones and metals to textiles, foodstuffs and luxury goods such as furs, silk and spices, this fascinating work examines the routes that were established to transport an astounding variety of lucrative goods, giving an expansive overview from the pre-classical period to the modern post-industrial age.
The Great Trade Routes is edited by writer and historian Philip Parker. Formerly publisher of the Times books list, Philip was responsible for The Times History of the World and numerous titles on ancient civilizations. He is also the author of The Empire Stops Here (2009), a book acclaimed as 'engaging' (FT), 'awe-inspiring' (The Scotsman) and 'a quite breathtaking and eccentric edifice of scholarship... extraordinary' (The Guardian).