Marks2ch01 - CHAPTER 1 THE MATERIAL AND TRADING WORLDS,...

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C HAPTER 1 T HE M ATERIAL AND T RADING W ORLDS , CIRCA 1400 The purpose of this chapter is to describe, in very general terms, what the world was like around 1400 C . E . The author analyzes that world in two terms: the material world and the trading world. By the “material world,” the author means the circumstances under which nearly all of the 350 million people alive on Earth in 1400 sustained their lives, while the “trading world” refers to the long-distance trade that linked much of the premodern world into trading circuits. A concluding section on the Black Death describes how those two “worlds” interacted in the mid-1300s, affecting tens of millions of people across the Eurasian continent. The key concept in the section on the material world is “the biological old regime,” or “biological ancien regime” (“ancien regime” being French for “old regime”). Since about 90 percent of the people in the world in 1400 gained their livelihood directly from agriculture, and even what industry there was also was based on materials from agriculture or the forest, the
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Marks2ch01 - CHAPTER 1 THE MATERIAL AND TRADING WORLDS,...

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