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Commercial Revolution Map

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The term itself was used by Karl Polanyi in his The Great Transformation: "Politically, the centralized state was a new creation called forth by the Commercial Revolution. . . ". Later the economic historian Roberto Sabatino Lopez, used it to shift focus away from the English Industrial Revolution. In his best-known book, The Commercial Revolution of the Middle Ages (1971, with numerous reprints), Lopez argued that the key contribution of the medieval period to European history was the creation of a commercial economy between the 11th and the 14th century, centered at first in the Italo-Byzantine eastern Mediterranean, but eventually extending to the Italian city-states and over the rest of Europe. This kind of economy ran from approximately the 14th century through the 18th century. Walt Whitman Rostow placed the beginning "arbitrarily" in 1488, the year the first European sailed around the Cape of Good Hope. Most historians, including scholars such as Robert S. Lopez, Angeliki Laiou, Irving W. Raymond, and Peter Spufford indicate that there was a commercial revolution of the 11th-13th centuries, or that it began at this point, rather than later.

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