The mercantilist period in European economic history:
- The era of merchant capital as opposed to industrial capital
- Merchant capital depends for its growth on the connections between different social and productive systems, e.g. profits from trade.
- This kind of capital grew and developed in the trade between the vastly different cultural, religious, political and economic systems of East( China, India, Japan) and West( Europe).
- Merchant capital involves "mastering the connections" between different worlds: trade routes (sea ports); places along coastal routes; islands en route to major trade routes.
- (In this way European South Africa came into existence)
In contrast, industrial capital
- Arise from a transformation within a particular system.
- Involves changes in process of production and social relations.
Merchant capital dominated European world trade up to the C18:
- Mercantilist period did not involve the establishment of formal colonies
- No attempt to conquer African people or territory
- Did not involve attempts to impose European culture, religion or politics by force
- European traders or missionaries worked or adapted to existing political and social systems.
- What interested Europeans was trade in profitable goods and not territory.
The Mercantilist period of European contact with Africa can be divided into 2 preriods:
- Mid 15th -mid 17th centuries, dominated by the Portuguese
- 17th to 19th dominated first by Dutch and then British and French.
- It is in this era that the slave trade emerged, grew and developed.
- The slave trade eventually came to dominate trade between Africa and Europe.
- Europeans who arrived in Africa were traders, missionaries and soldiers
- Established economic and trade relations
- Merchant capital in Europe originated from individuals or companies involved in long-distance commerce.
The Portugese Epoch
The major purpose of Portuguese trade with...