Friday, September 18, 2009

Venice and Genoa, the Rise and Fall

The struggle to be a core country on the map of the world was always an issue. For Venice and Genoa this struggle was in themselves. Trade in the thirteenth century was normally very exclusive to a general area. Asia only traded with Asia, and the same with Europe. The Crusades is what made these two places truly find their niche in the trading world. The crusades brought new technology and many trade advancements that helped Venice and Genoa have the ability to be a route of trade and the connector of Asia and Europe. They became great naval powers.

This newfound importance, however, brought issues. Genoa fell for the reason that her port was now being invaded. It was rebuilt and re-destroyed, but it never grew to be the power it once was. It’s constant wars with the Muslims since the 10th century also did not benefit their need to regain strength. What was once a key trader and the Northeast Passage, was now just another piece of history. Venice, on the other hand, was never that interested in quarrel. Venice became a port of interest to traders, but it never became the important trade location it always wanted to be. Venice did not have a vast variety of goods, keeping them from being a top exporter.

Plague hit these two places hard. With the trade and the travel, diseases took over and killed off more than half of the populations of Venice and Genoa. There were fewer traders, less trade and less good. The power and potential of Venice and Genoa was cut short, but they still made their impact on trade routes.

Plague and disease has been known throughout history to be a “stopper” of potential. If the problems that Genoa and Venice experienced never occurred, how might their future be different? William McNeil believed that disease and mass death created a natural equilibrium that it had to happen in order to calm to potential to monopolize in certain places. The plague put a damper on world trade for some time, however it was not finished. World trade would once again revive and the core countries of the world would come together.

-Carly Porath

1 comment:

  1. Perhaps there would be no change at all or perhaps there would be a change. As we discussed in class, there's no way of possibly knowing one way or the other because history can only happen once. But if it weren't for the Black Death, Genoa wouldn't have suffered from so much loss so Venice would not have had the opportunity to pull ahead in Egypt and the rest of the trading world. So perhaps the world system would have continued more as it was occurring previously with both Genoa and Venice connecting Europe to the East. Or maybe they would continue fighting and it would lead to a more serious conflict.