Long distance trade

Overview of Early Trade

"During this time, the geography of trade (the buying and selling of products we want and need) was very different to today. It was carried out at a much smaller scale, within small communities and over shorter distances. The Stone Age had three different stages (Palaeolithic, Mesolithic and Neolithic). The way in which trade was carried out changed considerably from the Palaeolithic to Neolithic phase.

People and communities began to trade with one another during the Neolithic phase (new Stone Age) which began between 9000 and 6000 BC. The development of agriculture (growing crops and domesticating animals) occurred at this time and families settled in one location where they grew crops and reared animals.

People began to have a surplus (excess) of food that they were able to exchange with others. They also developed new farming tools and crafts that were of value to others and so traded these items too. Trade really began during this period as items were exchanged between different communities and across greater distances than before."

Source: The Stone Age - Royal Geographical Society

Further West Trade too
"In the Neolithic Age, trade among settlements in the Near East and Mediterranean Sea grew. Trade grows as people seek resources not in their immediate area. One resource that was widely traded was the black, volcanic glass called obsidian. It made excellent blades. Another popular trade good was hematite, which was a red ore used as make-up. To get these resources, traders would travel overland by foot with donkeys, or by boats along rivers and seacoasts."

Source: US and World History

Long Distance Trade overview
"The first long-distance trade occurred between Mesopotamia and the Indus Valley in Pakistan around 3000 BC, historians believe. Long-distance trade in these early times was limited almost exclusively to luxury goods like spices, textiles and precious metals. Cities that were rich in these commodities became financially rich, too, satiating the appetites of other surrounding regions for jewelry, fancy robes and imported delicacies.

It wasn't long after that trade networks crisscrossed the entire Eurasian continent, inextricably linking cultures for the first time in history.

By the second millennium BC, former backwater island Cyprus had become a major Mediterranean player by ferrying its vast copper resources to the Near East and Egypt, regions wealthy due to their own natural resources such as papyrus and wool. Phoenicia, famous for its seafaring expertise, hawked its valuable cedar wood and linens dyes all over the Mediterranean. China prospered by trading jade, spices and later, silk. Britain shared its abundance of tin."

Source: How Ancient Trade Changed the World, By Heather Whipps

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