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10: The Commercial Revolution

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    Many of East Asia’s most determining aspects had come from afar – chariots and horses, bronze and iron, the deity Heaven, and Buddhism, for starters. Trade, as well as diplomatic exchange, had tied the mainland, peninsula, and archipelago together. Yet from the middle of the ninth century onwards, there was a quantum leap in the growth and ubiquity of trade. It fueled a new and different regime, Koryŏ (935-1392), on the peninsula, and it changed every aspect of life on the mainland in ways that continued into the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644- 1911). Japan, so far as historians know today, was much less affected. So great were the changes from Tang to Song (960-1279) in the mainland that one historian has written “In some ways, modern Japan is a more direct heir of the Sui-Tang reformation than [is] modern China.”1

    Thumbnail: Song copper coin dating to 1102-1106. Why is this a good, practical shape for a coin? Source: Metropolitan Museum. Public domain.

    This page titled 10: The Commercial Revolution is shared under a CC BY-NC 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Sarah Schneewind (eScholarship) via source content that was edited to the style and standards of the LibreTexts platform; a detailed edit history is available upon request.

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