Student Research: Early Trade Networks

Latin America is one of those areas of the world that I have encountered multiple times throughout my life, but have never understood well. As a history major, my focus has mainly been in areas across the Atlantic. I feel that, by taking this course, I will gain a more well-rounded understanding of the Americas, especially Central and South America. For my research project, I am interested in trade networks and how different societies managed diplomatic relations over land, across the Carribean, and with Europeans.

Some questions I might ask are: was there a specific society, like the Aztecs, Mayans, Incas etc., who dominated trade and commerce? If so, how did they do so? When and for how long? These are all preliminary questions, but they could be questions I ask in the final project. I might also delve into the ways Europeans began trading with the indigenous populations and how trade or gift-giving became a way to spark dialogue. Was it a prejudiced system meant to take advantage of the indigenous people? Or were there some instances where Europeans were just interested in learning about foreign societies outside of a colonial context?

1 thought on “Student Research: Early Trade Networks

  1. Katie Holt

    Colonial trade networks would be a great research topic (and you can narrow from there). You might look at our readings on colonial trade later in the semester, or I can point you to some of the work on trade routes for other colonial goods like sugar, cacao, or silver.


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