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What effects did European exploration have on global trade?

European exploration significantly expanded global trade, introducing new goods, routes, and markets.

European exploration during the Age of Discovery, from the 15th to the 17th century, had profound effects on global trade. The voyages of explorers like Christopher Columbus, Vasco da Gama, and Ferdinand Magellan opened up new sea routes to Asia and the Americas, bypassing traditional land routes controlled by the Ottoman Empire and other Middle Eastern powers. This allowed European nations, particularly Portugal, Spain, England, and the Netherlands, to establish direct trade links with Asia and the Americas, leading to a significant increase in global trade.

The discovery of the Americas introduced a wealth of new goods into the global market. These included precious metals like gold and silver, which were shipped back to Europe in large quantities, as well as agricultural products like tobacco, maize, potatoes, and tomatoes. These new goods were highly sought after in Europe, leading to a surge in demand and a corresponding increase in trade.

European exploration also led to the establishment of colonies in the Americas, Africa, and Asia. These colonies served as sources of raw materials and markets for European goods, further boosting global trade. The establishment of the Atlantic slave trade, while horrific in its human cost, also had a significant impact on global trade, as enslaved Africans were transported across the Atlantic to work on plantations in the Americas.

The expansion of global trade brought about by European exploration had far-reaching effects. It led to the rise of mercantilism, an economic theory that emphasised the importance of trade for a nation's wealth and power. It also led to the development of capitalism, as the increased trade and wealth created by exploration led to the growth of a merchant class and the establishment of joint-stock companies.

In conclusion, European exploration had a transformative effect on global trade. It introduced new goods and markets, established new trade routes, and led to the rise of new economic theories and systems. The effects of this exploration are still felt today, as the global trade networks established during this period continue to shape the world's economy.

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