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Unit 2: How Trade and Travel Changed the World

Lesson A: Costs and Benefits of Trade

Opening: Trade in the Pre-Modern Period

During the 14th century, the world had yet to enter the "modern" era. Populations still relied on farming, and most people lived in rural areas rather than urban locations. However, the increasing movement of people throughout the world expanded access to food and other raw materials. This pre-modern interaction set the stage for early modern events such as global exploration and trade. In deciding where to trade and travel, people considered the following questions:

  1. What goods should be traded?
  2. With whom should trade occur?
  3. What methods of travel should be used to trade?

Consider the following scenario. Although it is based on aspects of today's world, this issue is similar to developments of the pre-modern period.

Scenario: A country's scarce resources can no longer support its rising population. Its leaders decide to open its borders to surrounding lands and trade for needed goods such as food and tools. Land routes can be used to access markets for these goods.


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Written Activity - Notebook

In your notebook, respond to the following questions:

  • How will the country transport goods to and from markets?
  • How will these goods benefit the country?
  • What are the potential costs of trading for these goods?