Although this dichotomy usefully introduces questions of scale, it supports a seductive yet false distinction between an unconnected pre-modern world in which life was lived locally, and a connected modern world in which life is lived globally.
How far did the merchants rely upon judicial authorities in maintaining the bonds of trust necessary to ship goods and procure services across long distances? Shared culture may be the effect of long-distance trade, rather than simply the cause. Muslim merchants involved in both trans-Saharan and Mediterranean trade were often religious scholars as well, while Jewish brokers of trade in West Africa were often also blacksmiths, living on the edge of settlements in spatial as well as cultural terms.
Abner Cohen and Philip Curtin have popularized the model of trade diasporas, bound together by identity and dispersed across the region of trade.
These written sources include travel literature and geographies, business letters and contracts, and the judicial records of commercial disputes. The idea that commerce and Islam go hand in hand in West Africa is firmly entrenched in scholarship, but archaeological work continues to push back the date of trade contacts across the Sahara. The power of institutions is demonstrably true in many regions where direct evidence of contracts and enforcement survives.
He has slaves and soldiers, strength and firmness as well as widely known justice. To say so is to defer rather than to answer the question. Should one rely upon the co-operation of partners, agents or clients whose behaviour cannot be directly monitored — and if so under what conditions? Economic history has tended to see the problems of information, uncertainty and risk in long-distance trade as logistical and symptomatic of pre-modern conditions. His country is safe and calm. I shall be very pleased with this friendship between the two of you.
Though there are among them some old feuds and quarrels they put them aside in time of need and cast them away out of the nobility, forgiveness, and natural generosity which are peculiar to them, and the good manners which they have acquired in their numerous travels, long periods of absence from home, and separation from their country.
In their manners they do not share the pettiness of the other people of the Maghrib in their dealings and customs, but act with great frankness. For Mediterranean Muslim writers such as al-Bakri eleventh centuryIbn Said thirteenth centuryand Ibn Battuta fourteenth centuryeating wheat, wearing particular clothes or using certain types of architecture were markers of familiarity, and perhaps trustworthiness, 17 but their insistence on the importance of law and order trumps any concerns over way South Bend distance relationship dates life.
This gave the dealer a preferential price and the producer a guaranteed sale. In West Africa too, historians disagree. Their study, alongside comparative history and the history of common experiences, can be seen as one of three main approaches in this emerging field. Charles Tilly similarly saw trust as an imperative, arising from the frequent and necessary experience of placing valued outcomes at risk from the malfeasance, mistakes or failures of others.
The Geniza material is extraordinarily rich, but historians disagree on its interpretation. For example, the thirteenth-century wool trade between English farmers and French and Italian merchants involved many contracts to buy wool wholesale in advance of the sheep-shearing season Map 1. But others have ruled this out. Although we do not believe that institutions can wholly for the extension of trust across long distances, it is difficult to imagine any trading situation where law and government did not at least figure in the imaginations of the parties.
So-and-so sent me a letter suggesting — which I intended to do anyhow — that you two should cooperate. For instance twelfth-century Europe witnessed a general shift from seeing sales purely as transfers of property to viewing them also as contracts imposing future obligations to pay, to deliver goods and so on.
In travelling, trading and living together, Damien Coulon argues, reputation and trust were essential to these merchants. Islamic writing dealing with the meeting of North African and Middle Eastern travellers with the people of the Sahara and its southern edge indicates that order and security were paramount concerns Map 7.
The medieval and later texts describing trans-Saharan, Mediterranean and northern European trade themselves employ a variety of discourses in which trust is explicitly and implicitly evoked. But the chief may not have been the sole market authority, and others may have claimed the right of taxation. Tiraqqa is one of the towns of the Wanqara. For instance, one recent history of business in medieval Europe stresses the importance of trust, but diminishes it as an object of study by equating it with innate honesty or the supposedly natural fact of kinship.
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These tended to transcend linguistic frontiers, and prominent among them were hand clasps or slaps whose local variants could be learnt by observation. For instance, in a case against the merchant Joan Ribalta in the Aragonese royal court, all the witnesses who spoke on his behalf were involved in the long-distance trade between Iberia and the eastern Mediterranean, and had known one another for many years.
The medieval evidence however indicates a complex continuum of trust practices in every setting where life is lived beyond the immediate; from journeys of a few miles to long voyages across oceans or deserts. How can the inherent risks to buyers who pay in advance and sellers who offer credit be surmounted?
He was to deliver the wool at Boston fair in July This was also attractive to merchants from outside that jurisdiction. Here there is no mention of contractual arrangements such as those seen in the English advance sale of wool. Lovejoy believes that the traders promoted a common identity through religion, dress, language, intermarriage and similar social values, and suggests that it was through the Wangara that the trading diaspora system, based on a sense of cultural exclusiveness, was introduced to Hausaland.
Trading groups might also cultivate a collective reputation for trustworthiness.
An increasingly well-studied example of this emerges from the contents of the Cairo Geniza, a repository of discarded letters and documents from Fustat, the commercial centre of the Fatimid caliphate. In African history the assumption has often been that Islam provided a network to believers, facilitating trade between people even though not personally acquainted.
In many discussions trust is only treated as a problem in long-distance relationships. This could be taken further by focusing on the issue of skills. Besides the view that trust was primarily created by the presence of political and legal authority, the major alternative explanation has been the existence of a shared culture among traders.
Where possible we have also drawn on archaeological data and concepts in order to explore trust cultures, but here too there is a bias towards social forms leaving more tangible traces, privileging permanent over temporary settlements for example. Local relationships are classically imagined within a face-to-face society, where everyone knows everyone else and economic interaction is embedded in a host of other familial and social relationships.
The maximal case can be illustrated from those instances where a high degree of confidence was sustained at least in part because the trading partners knew that default was punishable by a legal authority.
Sila, on the northern bank of the river … is a metropolis, a meeting place … and a good market … Sila belongs to the domains of the Takruri, who is a powerful ruler. Tiraqqa is subject to the ruler of Ghana, in whose name the khutba [sermon] is delivered, and to whom the people go in litigation. They are known for their ready charity and show a manly concern for one another. Theirs was an exercise in making the unknown less daunting, and instilling confidence in travellers.
No external authorities are mentioned, and yet instructions are given and relationships of dependency hinted at. In the most recent research on the activities of the eleventh-century Jewish merchants whose letters survived in the Cairo Geniza, a self-conscious cultivation of exclusive religious identity has likewise been emphasized as the basis for long-distance trust.
Questions of trust in fact lie at the root of many of the problems faced by long-distance traders across the globe. Long-distance connections loom large in global history. Their solution has been seen to lie in the development of features of the modern firm: institutional and documentary technologies such as banks, ing, money, commercial associations, insurance loans, underwriting, contracts and so on.
It was a matter of skills, knowledge, practices and learning, rather than possession of some essential similarity. The striking case here is the finds from the burial ground of Kissi, Burkina Faso, with graves of the fifth to seventh centuries containing goods such as glass be, copper alloys, carnelian and other stone be, cowries, textiles, and swords with trans-Saharan origins. When you travel to Busir you take the trouble to purchase for him what he needs, while he will take care of oil and soap.
Establishing a reputation for trustworthiness did not flow automatically from such as religious belonging, language community, or family membership. The names of sub-Saharan West-African towns and kingdoms first reached outside ears through Muslim traders, and the cosmopolitanism of a place such as Zawila now in Libyawhere in the late ninth century traders from Khurasan modern IranBasra and Kufa both in modern Iraq were operating, hung on its belonging to the dar al Islam — perhaps even more specifically, to the minority Ibadi network.
In recent years, increasing s of imports, especially copper and glass, have been recovered in sites just south of the Sahara from deposits dating to — cethat is to say, in periods at least partly prior to the development of the Muslim faith. Niklas Luhmann tackled the issue of calculation head-on, arguing that trust is the means by which people reduce the complexity of calculating risk.
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In taking this approach we do not, however, simply align ourselves with the main alternative interpretation of long-distance relationships: that which holds trust to be underpinned by shared religious, familial or cultural identity, as we shall see below.
However, there is no clear evidence that West African rulers provided justice in disputes between local and foreign merchants, while in European monarchies, it is clear that local and informal means of guaranteeing trust were also crucial elements as well as more formal mechanisms. Some micro-cultural competencies needed by participants in long-distance trade could be more specific to business: how to strike a bargain, knowing when a deal had been concluded and when it had not. They would supply the wool or its cash value if the principal could not.
I need not stress this matter any further, for your success depends on it. This is becoming a key question in global economic and social history, and some medieval and early modern historians have begun to view trust as a cultural as well as economic phenomenon. Despite the presence of royal authority, informal and personal means of buttressing trust were, in this and similar ways, frequently sought out.
Within certain cultural zones there was probably enough surface similarity in these practices for proficiency to be easily acquired. It also promotes the idea that trust operates on either the local or the global scale; that it is thick or thin, easy or difficult.
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The judicial records of some European polities provide opportunities to see this daily work of building trust and establishing reputation at moments when it was unravelling; these can be extremely revealing. Ibn Hawqal is explicit about the link between minority status, trade specialization, and the experience of being a resident alien minority.
We might say that the work of creating trust was the work of creating culture. This evidence is, however, ambiguous.
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As the practice of global history matures, acquiring greater time-depth, new ways of looking at connectivity and long-distance relationships are necessary. We examine long-distance trade in and between Europe, the Mediterranean and West Africa, focusing on the period between about and ce. As such they privilege certain overarching frameworks such as law, the state, literacy and masculinity, but they also frequently speak of other relevant concepts such as friendship, family, belief and emotion.
He also suggests that once the Hausa diaspora had started functioning, in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, many of the individuals born in and living in its dispersed settlements considered themselves to be foreigners with few connections to local societies. Merchants trading on credit or making advance payments relied on commonly understood s that a contract had been formed.
Up untilJews and Christians were league members side by side, and Jews were only expelled in the wake of the well-poisoning accusations of the Black Death era which breached what trust had been established. For example the trade out of Southampton saw English, Dutch and Italian merchants happy to sail in ships captained by foreigners.
Sheilagh Ogilvie and Jonathan Edwards have claimed that the traders did in fact use courts to settle disputes, while Jessica Goldberg has argued that in most cases the fear of legal action proved sufficiently effective.
It is a large town, inhabited by many people, but it has no surrounding wall nor enclosure. Some elements of the diaspora model are very real — the sense of shared identity, the dispersal, the minority status and trade specialization — but none of this le simply and directly to trust.
When you tarry here you will look here after his affairs, while he will travel to Egypt and make purchases for you and for himself, for he is an expert in flax and other goods.