Two patterns of city development took place firstly

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two patterns of city development took place. Firstly, there were the capitals which represented authority and grandness. Secondly, there were the merchants' towns which owed their origin to the spread of mercantilism. The spatial expansion of trade necessitated the enlargement of trading facilities which existing medieval structures could not support. Importance was attached to transportation networks which became the lifeline of urban existence. Amsterdam and London are among the prominent cities associated with the mercantile period. Hence, this lesson examines these two cities. The Netherlands' importance was limited during the Roman period due to its remote location and the fact that the Romans preferred land, rather than sea, routes. However, the Netherlands became of increasing importance during the Middle Ages. Amsterdam, which had existed as a medieval port, entered into trade during the 16th Century. The dikes, dwelling characteristics, occupational segregation, and canals of Amsterdam played important roles in its growth and development. London, on the other hand, was built as a Roman settlement in 43 AD. Its location on the Thames River and function as a centre of communications and administration helped London to grow as an important trading centre. The town continued to be centred around its port during the Medieval Period. Growth in mercantile trade was responsible for the spatial, economic, and social aspects of urban development in the following decades. TRADE EXPANSION England, France, Spain, Portugal, Netherlands, Denmark, and Sweden were involved in the process of trade expansion during the 17th and 18th Centuries. At the initial stages, the primary motive was to establish trade connections. This was followed by political control over the colonies and finally the establishment of cities. The discovery of the new resource areas, use of sea routes, and extension of colonial trade to North America and Asia brought major changes within Europe. Overseas trade was responsible for the development of many Atlantic and North Sea ports such as Amsterdam, Rotterdam, and Hamburg. European trade expansion may be divided into two stages. In the first stage, Spain and Portugal were Europe's major suppliers of commodities. During the second stage, a number of other western European countries gradually became involved in the development of plantations and slave trade. Some of the major trade commodities included sugar, tobacco, cotton,
indigo, and tea. Many of the imported materials needed further processing and this, in turn, paved the way for the development of new industries and import substitution whereby local materials were used to produce previously imported item. This practice generated income and allowed merchants to focus upon new imports. THE NETHERLANDS AND THE MERCANTILE CITY Before discussing the importance of mercantilism in the Netherlands, it is essential to provide a brief historical background. Dutch towns were built on land that was reclaimed from the sea. The first large scale effort was made in 1200 when it was

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