When Asia was the World
This Asia-centered world economy had
been taking shape since the rise of Islam
in the seventh century.
Trade was done by Shipping mostly with
Traders bought Chinese porcelain and
silk in Canton and Malaysia. Europeans
shipped Indonesian spices via the Red
and Mediterranean seas.
Piracy was common, but manageable.
Merchant groups, often organized on
ethnic or religious lines, maintained
insurance funds to ransom any members
captured at sea.
Portuguese tried to take control of
trading by blockade.
Portuguese ships dealt harshly with
those whom they caught violating their
monopoly--sinking ships, bombarding
ports, and burning crops-they could not
truly rule the ocean.
The Economic Cultures of Drugs
The fact is that historically, goods
considered drugs, that is, products
ingested, smoked, sniffed, or drunk to
produce an altered state of being, have
been central to exchange and
In the seventeenth century affluent
people all over the world began to drink,
smoke, and eat exotic plants that came
from long distances. Coffee, tea, cocoa,
tobacco, and sugar all became popular at
roughly the same time. Both European
and Asian consumers became addicted
to these American, Asian, and African
Spanish and the Portuguese
immediately controlled their Trades.
The Europeans mind set was Indian
were Inferior Race, so Aztecs were
uninterested in European goods
and the broader world.
The Aztecs trades occurred in
Bowls, knives, combs, blankets,
and featherwork were their primary
Chocolate, Cacao, Gold, jaguar
pelts, honey and rubber
The potato, "discovered" by Spanish
soldiers in the Peruvian Andes in the
Considered a second-class food even in
its homeland, it had never made it north
Spanish sailors carried potatoes to the
Philippines, In Asia, the same
advantages that made potatoes popular.
China feed the growing population on
Ireland and Russia were the first
Europeans to live on potatoes.
Sweetness was a taste little known to
mankind before the early modern period.
Honey was the only natural sweetener
and it was not in great or widespread
supply. People had to rely on bland diets
of gruel, or rice, or tortillas. Only
seasonal fruits relieved the tedium.
Sugar began its march to global
acceptance in the Far East or perhaps
the South Pacific. A tall grass, it was first
domesticated in India by 300 B.C., but
The Arabs were the first great sugar
A thousand years later it had reached
China, Japan, and the Middle East.
Egyptian sugar was regarded as the
Where There’s Smoke
Columbus had seen natives smoking the
stuff on his first trip to what he thought
was the easternmost extension of Asia's
natives smoked, cooked, licked, ate, and
They offered tobacco to their gods
In Brazil, Tupinamba Indians smoked and then
went "three or four days without eating
Tobacco plantations spread across the
Virginia countryside, eating forests in
Mocca is not Chocolate
Coffee originally came from the Middle
Europeans were slow to adopt the coffee
habit for several reasons. ( Muslim drink,
Turkish fashion of a very thick, hot, black
unsweetened drink did not please
The cacao bean had been prized in
Mesoamerica since before the time of
The Americas' first civilization, used
cacao and in turn passed on the custom
to the Maya.
Cacao was considered to be a stimulant,
intoxicant, hallucinogen, and
Chocolate today is a sweet treat, a small