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Trade/Finance/Exploration during the Renaissance

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Zach Wallis

on 7 February 2013

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Transcript of Trade/Finance/Exploration during the Renaissance

Trade, Finance and Exploration during the Renaissance The Renaissance spanned from 1400 to 1600. It was the rebirth of Classical Era ideas and it lifted Europe out of the destitute Middle Ages. Humanism became an important philosophy during the Renaissance and this contributed to many of the technological advancements (humanism is the philosophy based on the importance of the life being lived as apposed to "life after death"). Humanists and their demands drove trade to a point where exploration was required to fulfill their needs. Finance, trade and exploration were big parts of the renaissance as well. Exploration became relevant in the Renaissance due to the closing of the Silk Road by the Ottomans and the need to set up trading posts in East Asia. Banks also had to globalize due to the demand of the people for an efficient way to access their money so that they can trade for foreign goods. Finance played a big part in the development of the Renaissance. Trade, Finance and Exploration during the Renaissance By Zach Wallis, Ira Blumenthal and Noah Barney Finance saw huge advancements in both the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. While the Middle Ages brought deposit and credit functions to the world of commerce, the bankers of the Renaissance also contributed to the ever-expanding financial system. One way that bankers contributed was through the globalization of banks. In 1437, 80 banks in Florence alone had branches in other places across Europe. Another contribution made by the bankers of the Renaissance was the high-interest loan. The church had banned high-interest loans, or usury, until the 1400s. Banks used it to accumulate wealth in large quantities over short periods of time, which in turn increased the power held by bankers and their banks. Impact of Finance on the Renaissance (Pt. 1) Impact of Finance on the Renaissance Pt. 2 The financial system also impacted the cultural aspect of the Renaissance, in one specific way. Bankers who doubled as politicians, such as Cosimo de Medici, provided patronage to artists, as a way to gain political power. Cosimo, the patriarch of the Medici bank, gave patronage to artists such as Fra Angelico, Donatello and Michelangelo. Trade and the philosophy of humanism were both core pieces of Renaissance life. The Humanism movement saw people begin to put themselves before religion, the latter being common practice in the Middle Ages. During the Late Middle Ages, items from the Silk Road had become popular in European Markets. This changed when in the 1450s when the Ottomans successfully lay siege to Constantinople and cut off Europe from it's route east. In order to obtain items only found in the east, opportunistic rulers began to fund seaborne expeditions east. This culminated when, in 1498, Vasco de Gama, under contract to Portugal, found a way around Africa and across the Indian Ocean to India, therefore starting the Portuguese colonization of East Asia. Soon after de Gama's discovery, spices and silk began to flow back into European markets. Merchants were able to supply these goods to humanists, who in turn, consumed and created a larger demand for the items, which was fulfilled through exploration and conquest. Humanism's effect on Trade Exploration during the Renaissance had a huge effect on trade in Europe. Scientific advancements such as celestial navigation allowed explorers to travel farther and with better accuracy than their Medieval counterparts. The closing of the Silk Road forced Europeans to look for other ways to obtain East Asian goods. These efforts culminated in 1498 when Vasco de Gama reached India. In 1503, Portugal was granted a trading post in India by a local ruler looking to appease them. Then in 1511, the Portuguese conquered Malacca in modern-day Southwest Malaysia, giving them a vital trading posts which contained merchants from China, Japan, Thailand and India. Over the next 100 years, the Portuguese controlled a dominion over East Asia, supplying valuable goods to European markets. The Portuguese had profited from trade due to their willingness to fund explorers to claim land in economically important areas. Impact of Exploration on Trade Economies during the Renaissance were driven by wealthy merchants and the trade they brought about. The principle that merchants drove economies was on full display in Florence, a commercial and financial hub. Florence was a republic whose government was run by wealthy and influential families. Often these families had their roots in either trade (merchants) or finance (bankers). As a result, Florence became an immensely wealthy city during the 14th and 15th centuries. Florentine-based banks became a common sight across 15th century Europe with more than 80 banks being located within the city. Florence also became a significant hub for trade in the late 1400s, as a result of Greek expatriates relocating due to the fall of Constantinople. The Effects of Trade on Finance and vice versa Conclusion The Renaissance saw huge progression in terms of banking and trading efficiency, in addition to overseeing massive increase in the willingness to fund explorers. The advancements in banking occurred due to the need to for banks to widen their service ranges. Meanwhile, the growth in regards to trading happened due to the increasing demand for exoctic goods in southern Europe. Exploration, on the other hand, experienced great boosts in both equipment and the willingness to fund expeditions. Many explorers were contracted to claim land for trading purposes, which in turn, helped traders acquire the goods the required. In conclusion, the Renaissance had a huge impact on both the financial world and the knowledge of the natural world.
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