From the series Understanding Global Trade and Commerce
Grade Range: 7th – 12th
Page Count: 80
Lexile Level: 1160L
The place is ancient Egypt. You need lumber to build a house. No trees grow in Egypt's desert, but a ship from Lebanon regularly brings cedar logs to a nearby port. How do you get lumber for your house? You take many bundles of papyrus and a sack of frankincense to the port and offer them to the ship's captain in exchange for his logs. The captain knows he can sell your goods back home at a profit. You bargain, but in the end, he takes your goods, and you take his logs. International trade is born. This book traces trade in the ancient world from the Phoenicians sailing the Mediterranean Sea to the camel caravans traveling the 6,400 mile (10,000 km) Silk Route to traders who grew rich bringing spices by sea from Southeast Asia to Europe. Supply, demand, necessity, and the desire to show off one's status drove trade in the ancient world, much as it does today.
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