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Unit 2: How Trade and Travel Changed the World

Lesson E: Rise of Early Europe

Activity 8: Expansion of European Trade

The end of the feudal system and emergence of European states expanded travel and trade at the end of the Medieval Period. Merchants traveled to and from ports on the coasts of England, France, northern Europe, and the Mediterranean Sea. Goods arriving from Asia were brought to markets throughout Europe. Italian city-states and the Portuguese played a significant role in providing luxury goods, such as silk and spices, to Europe.

Download Icon Download the Student Resource: European Trade Graphic Organizer (doc).


Directions: As you view the following simulation, complete the graphic organizer.


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Classroom Activity - Expansion of European Trade

Discussion Icon Discussion

Directions: Prepare a response to the discussion question(s) below using your completed graphic organizer. Follow your teacher's directions to participate in your class discussion.

  • Where might this good have come from outside of Europe?
  • Why was there a demand for this good in Europe?
  • How might trade of this good have affected European society?

Download Icon Select the link to review the Discussion Scoring Tool (pdf).


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The expansion of sea-based trade and increased wealth of European states signaled the rise of Europe on the world stage. The events of the Modern Period would be heavily influenced by Europeans once they began exploration across oceans and colonized foreign lands. The next activity will help you investigate more specific reasons for the rise of European sea-based travel and trade.