Commercial Revolution

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The Commercial Revolution in European history was a shift in the quantity and type of commerce that occurred between about A.D. 1450 and 1700, setting the stage for the Industrial Revolution. Specifically, the Commercial Revolution consisted of the beginning of a money-based economy with private banks and trading organizations. It was supported by improvements in marine technology (ships) to travel the high seas more quickly and safely.

By the mid-1500s, Europeans had obtained control from Arabs of much of the trade with Asia, whereupon Asian goods flooded the European markets. Gold and silver then came from the New World, increasing European wealth further.

The highest volume of shipping moved from Mediterranean to Atlantic ports and newly chartered companies were established. Modern tools of capitalism such as the "promissory note" (the basic document for a loan of money) arose.

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