Economics

While money might be a relatively new introduction to human society, the concept of trade, battering and early economics are not. In this section the articles and podcasts will draw out the questions of what are economics, how they have changed over time and what is the South Sea bubble?

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  • A Commercial Revolution

    Article

    The pattern of overseas trade is always in movement: new commodities are constantly appearing, old ones fading into unimportance, different trading partners coming to the fore-front. But between the latter end of the sixteenth and the second half of the eighteenth century, change took specially far reaching forms. In 1570...

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  • Bristol and the Slave Trade

    Article

    Captain Thomas Wyndham of Marshfield Park in Somerset was on voyage to Barbary where he sailed from Kingroad, near Bristol, with three ships full of goods and slaves thus beginning the association of African Trade and Bristol. In the late sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, Bristol was not a place of...

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  • Currency and the Economy in Tudor and early Stuart England

    Article

    Before the development of paper money, which in England did not really occur until later in the seventeenth century, the circulating medium consisted of coins and tokens. The unit of account in which they were valued was the pound sterling; in which there were twenty shillings each of twelve pence,...

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  • Film: How new is Asia’s ‘new era’?

    Article

    The 2021 Medlicott Medal recipient was Professor Rana Mitter, expert on Modern Chinese history and politics. Professor Mitter's Medlicott lecture was on the subject of ‘How New is Asia’s “new era”?’.

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  • From Sail to Steam

    Article

    From the time when primitive man first went adrift on a bundle of reeds or learnt to balance himself on a floating log, to the days where his descendants, no more than a few generations ago, raced scrambling aloft to trim the towering sails of a full-rigged ship, the skill...

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  • Kings and coins in later Anglo-Saxon England

    Article

    The study of Anglo-Saxon coins shows the sophistication of tenth- and eleventh-century government and of the economy. But they carried a moral and religious message too.

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  • Legacies of the Cement Armada

    Article

    Steven Pierce writes about Nigeria, long known for its flamboyant corruption, some of which stems from accidents of history. Its true international notoriety emerged in 1974–75, when half the world’s concrete supply was mysteriously diverted to the port of Lagos, paralysing it for a year. This article examines how the press coverage...

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  • Numismatics and History

    Article

    Numismatics may be defined as the science of money in its physical aspects. It is only indirectly connected with the theory of money, which belongs to the sphere of economics. Its subject-matter consists of the material objects which in most societies are used to measure the worth of goods and...

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  • Origins of the European financial markets

    Article

    This article is transcribed from a 2015 podcast given by Dr Anne Murphy of the University of Hertfordshire. In it Dr Murphy looks at the early origins of the European financial markets from the Italian Renaissance to the present day, as well as providing a useful introduction to finance, the stock market and the bond market....

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  • Out and about in Zanzibar

    Article

    Joe Wilkinson takes us on a tour of the island of Zanzibar, where the slave trade continued long after the British abolished it. Mention Zanzibar and most people will think of an Indian Ocean paradise, perfect for honeymooners, relaxing on the popular pristine white north-eastern beaches of Bwejuu and Paje,...

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  • Podcast Series: Origins of the European Financial Markets

    Multipage Article

    In this podcast Dr Anne Murphy of the University of Hertfordshire looks at the early origins of the European financial markets from the Italian Renaissance to the present day. Dr Murphy also provides a useful introduction to finance, the stock market and the bond market.

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  • Podcast Series: The Renaissance

    Multipage Article

    In this podcast Dr Gabriele Neher of the University of Nottingham provides an introduction to the Renaissance.

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  • The British Empire on trial

    Article

    In the light of present-day concerns about the place, in a modern world, of statues commemorating figures whose roles in history are of debatable merit, Dr Gregory Gifford puts the British Empire on trial, presenting a balanced case both for and against. In June 2020 when the statue of slave-trader Edward Colston...

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  • The Industrial Revolution in England

    Article

    Revolutions of the magnitude of the industrial revolution in England provoke historical controversy: such a revolution is a major discontinuity which a profession more skilled in explaining small changes finds difficult to understand. A revolution that touches a whole society is so diffuse that its significant events are difficult to...

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  • The Lords of Renaissance Italy

    Article

    The Lords of Renaissance Italy: the signori, 1250-1500 Among the many city states into which Italy was divided in the late medieval and early modern period, the republics of Florence and Venice are comparatively well known. Republicanism was not, however, the most common form of government. This pamphlet deals with states...

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  • The Scottish dream of Darien

    Article

    John McKendrick considers how Scotland’s wish to create a trading empire was dashed and made the Act of Union of 1707 almost inevitable.

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  • The ‘workless workers’ and the Waterbury watch

    Article

    Peter Hounsell looks at the role of the Waterbury Watch Company in both the Queen’s Jubilee and the attempt to record and alleviate unemployment in London in the 1880s. In Britain generally, but for London in particular, 1887 was a year of great contrasts. On 27 June, Londoners lined the...

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  • What did it mean to be a city in early modern Germany?

    Article

    Alexander Collin examines the significance of cities within the Holy Roman Empire in early modern times. With a strong political identity of their own, cities were at the heart of the Empire’s economy and, also, centres of theological and social change. If you have ever read a description of a...

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  • ‘The cradle of the Industrial Revolution’

    Article

    Michael Winstanley challenges assumptions about Lancashire's new industrial landscape, inviting us to re-imagine what Manchester and the country around it looked like. Lancashire, especially the cotton textile district to the east of the county, is widely regarded as the ‘cradle of the industrial evolution’. But what did this burgeoning industrial landscape actually look like in the early nineteenth century?...

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