When the East was the World’s Manufacturing Center, 16th to 18th Centuries
This map uses directional arrows to show trading connections from the 16th to 18th century. Most of the arrows are concentrated in Asia and Arabia, suggesting the predominance of “the East” in trade. However, the cartographer’s decisions about where to draw separate arrows appear to have been strongly biased in favor of the intended visual effect. Notice also that the map title’s reference to “manufacturing centre” does not correspond to anything in the map itself.
The map also identifies two trading clusters, one labeled the “Atlantic Trading Zone” (slaves, tobacco, sugar, wood, furs, diamonds, gold, silver, coffee) and the other the “Asia Trading Zone” (textiles, clothing, cotton, shoes, furniture, ceramics, mother of pearl, porcelain, spices, tea, opium, silver).
Cartographer: Philippe Rekacewicz
- Paul Kennedy, The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers: Economic Change and Military Conflict from 1500 to 2000, HarperCollins, 1989
- Paul Bairoch, Victoires et déboires, histoire économique et sociale du monde du XVIe siècle à nos jours, vol II, Gallimard “Folio Histoire”, Paris, 1997
- Angus Maddison, L’Economie mondiale: une perspective millénaire and Statistiques historiques (published in 2001 and 2003 respectively), Etudes du centre de développement, OECD, Paris.
© Le Monde Diplomatique