First International Trade (02:52)
Communication has been crucial to human success and survival. In 2000 B.C., Middle Eastern merchants brought tin from Central Asian mines to industrial centers in Turkey—exchanging ideas and technologies in the process. Learn about the economic value of writing.
Roman Roads (02:20)
To transport people and supplies, Roman soldiers built highways wide enough to accommodate six men abreast. Trade flourished, ideas and technologies spread, and the Roman economy grew.
Thirty years after the crucifixion, Paul used Roman roads and the postal system to spread Christ's message. Despite his predecessor's attempts to suppress the religion, Constantine converted and Rome became a Christian empire.
Silk Road (01:44)
Roman citizens could afford luxuries. Merchants traveled to China to establish a textile trade route—connecting East and West for the first time. Ideas and technologies like paper and gun powder traveled west.
Black Death (02:34)
Flea infested rats spread the plague along the Silk Road. Medieval cities held over 80 million people living in close quarters in unsanitary conditions; the disease killed nearly a third of Europe's population.
Spanish Conquest (02:58)
Spanish conquistadors captured Tenochtitlan in 1520 with superior weaponry. They exploited silver and gold resources, enriched the European economy, and introduced potatoes, corn, and tobacco. Indigenous people across the Americas died of exposure to European viruses.
Slave Trade (03:11)
Settlers established cash crop plantations in North America. European diseases decimated the native population; merchants captured Africans for labor. Learn how slavery led to the Civil War that devastated the South.
Railway System (03:05)
After the Civil War, the railroads contributed to America's economic success. Urbanization and industrialization increased labor demands; immigrants flocked to New York. Automobiles, airplanes and internet technology increased our connectivity and created a global community. (Credits)
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