World Trade Review for AP World History
Review questions for this study guide can be found at:
Latin American Trade
The profitable sugar plantations of the Caribbean and Brazil were at the heart of Latin American trade with Europe. Brazil also produced cotton and cacao for European use, and during the late eighteenth century, its seaports were opened to world trade. Trade increased the importation of slaves to the Portuguese colony.
As Latin American independence movements drew to a close in the 1820s, the United States stepped forward to monitor future trade with its southern neighbors. The Monroe Doctrine (1823) announced the intention of the United States to maintain a "hands off " policy with regard to European colonization in the Americas. Great Britain already had trade agreements with the Spanish colonies since the eighteenth century. It now foresaw the newly independent Latin American republics as future trade partners and supported the Monroe Doctrine. A more active trade began with Britain's trading manufactured goods to Latin America, especially Brazil, in exchange for raw materials. In the late nineteenth century, the United States, France, and other nations also traded with Latin America.
By the end of the nineteenth century, active trade was carried on in Cuban tobacco and sugar; Brazilian sugar and coffee; Mexican copper, silver, and henequen; Peruvian guano; Chilean grain and copper, and Argentine beef, grain, hides, and wool. Beef exports increased dramatically after the invention of the refrigerated railroad car in the late nineteenth century. Also in the late nineteenth century, as European nations established colonies and increased industrial production, demand for Latin American rubber, especially from Brazil, increased.
Large landholders who exported sugar and hides especially benefited from foreign trade, whereas local independent traders often had to compete with cheaper and better quality foreign goods. As a result, Latin America became increasingly dependent on the importation of foreign goods, whereas power and wealth concentrated in the hands of large landholders. Foreign investments provided Latin America with necessary capital but also with industry and transportation largely under foreign control. Global trade with the Americas increased after the Panama Canal opened in 1914.
Trade with the Islamic World
Although trade with Latin America increased markedly in the middle and latter years of the nineteenth century, foreign trade with the Ottoman Empire continued on a path of gradual decline. The empire was increasingly weakened by successful independence revolts of its subject peoples, including the Greeks in 1820 and the Serbs in 1867. Contributing to Ottoman weakness was the empire's disinterest in industrialization, which led minority groups such as Christians and Jews within the Ottoman Empire to carry on their own trade with Western European nations for manufactured goods. The artisans who produced goods using the domestic system had difficulty competing with European imports.
The threat of European competition produced a wave of political and economic reform from 1839 to 1876 that opened the Ottoman Empire more to Western influence. The Tanzimet reforms facilitated trade, but they came too late to make sweeping changes in the Ottoman economy. Further reform efforts by the Young Turks failed to achieve permanent change. The corruption of later Ottoman rulers and decreased agricultural revenue took their toll. In return for foreign loans to bolster its faltering economy, the Ottoman Empire was made economically dependent on European imports and influence. Europeans were granted the privilege of extraterritoriality, which allowed Europeans in Ottoman commercial centers to live according to their own laws rather than those of the Ottomans.
Egyptian commerce also suffered from European competition. Muhammad Ali's insistence on increasing cotton production diverted farmers from grain production and made Egypt dependent upon the export of a single crop. A decline in the price of cotton worldwide could have devasted the Egyptian economy. By 1869, however, Egyptian trade strengthened because a canal opened across the Isthmus of Suez. Connecting the Mediterranean and Red seas, the Suez Canal made Egypt a significant commercial and political power between Europe and its colonies in Africa and Asia.
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