The European Trade Empires

The breakthrough by the Portuguese navigator, Vasco da Gama, to the East in 1499 opened up for the first time the prospect of European control of the Silk and Spice Routes. Their established hegemony over the trade routes was not challenged until the end of the sixteenth century, when Dutch and English forces became a threat. The Dutch United East India Company and its rival, the British East India Company, are testaments to the many conflicting political and economic interests of European countries that were played out on distant shores along these routes.

Related Information

  • Authors:
    Struan Reid
    15th to 17th century AD
    Language of article:

    Silk and Spice Routes, Exploration by the Sea

    China, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Italy, Malaysia, Philippines

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