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Trade routes that shaped the world: From the Vikings to the Silk Road

Course Dates: 12/01/22 - 16/03/22
Time: 12:30 - 14:30
Location: Online
Explore the rich and diverse history of the trade routes that shaped our world. Learn how trade connected societies scattered across distant corners of Europe, the Americas, Africa, Asia, and Oceania.
This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
Book your place
In stock
Full fee £199.00 Senior fee £159.00 Concession £88.00

Course Code: HWH30

Wed, day, 12 Jan - 16 Mar '22

Duration: 10 sessions (over 10 weeks)

Or call to enrol:020 7831 7831

Please note: We offer a wide variety of financial support to make courses affordable. Just visit our online Help Center for more information on a range of topics including fees, online learning and FAQs.

What is the course about?

This course offers a comprehensive introduction to the history of the trade routes that connected people across continents, between 1000 and 1600 CE. Trade on a global scale is not a recent development, as extensive trade networks linked distant places for thousands of years. Along these mercantile routes people have been trading in everything from spices, ceramics, precious stones and metals, to enslaved people. Over the course of ten weeks we will look at the histories of the communities, networks, and individuals active in the historic long-distance trade.

This is a live online course. You will need:
- Internet connection. The classes work best with Chrome.
- A computer with microphone and camera is best (e.g. a PC/laptop/iMac/MacBook), or a tablet/iPad/smart phone/iPhone if you don't have a computer.
- Earphones/headphones/speakers.
We will contact you with joining instructions before your course starts.

What will we cover?

In this ten-week course we will look at trade networks through a long historical lens, beginning in the year 1000 through to the sixteenth century. The course is arranged geographically and each week you will learn about a different trade route. You will find out more about the people who facilitated the trade and the goods and ideas that were exchanged. Like puzzle pieces these different, important trade routes come together to form one interconnected global trade network.

Week 1: Year 1000 and the Viking Exploration
Week 2: Trade Routes of Turtle Island
Week 3: Mesoamerican and South American Trade Networks
Week 4: The Columbian Exchange
Week 5: Via Regia or Europe’s Royal Highway
Week 6: Trans-Saharan Trade Route
Week 7: Grand Trunk Road
Week 8: Silk Route via Land
Week 9: Silk Route via Sea
Week 10: Manila Galleon Route across the Pacific.

What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...

- Understand more about the historic trade routes that contributed towards the formation of our current interconnected global community
- Compare different aspects of the topic
- Describe current global history scholarship in relation to key trade routes
- Discuss the benefits and difficulties caused by the evolving trade patterns
- Explain the changing roles of merchants and businesses in the global trade networks
- Discuss the importance of technology, religion, and politics in shaping global trade
- Engage with, and interpret, various kinds of source material and information that are used in historical research.

What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?

No previous knowledge is required, although there will be some recommended reading. This is an introductory course and does not assume any prior knowledge of history of trade routes. As with most of our history and current affairs courses, intellectual curiosity and an open mind are more important than specific levels of skills.

How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?

Each week’s session will consist of a lecture accompanied by a visual presentation and a guided group discussion. In each session you will also engage with a variety of written and visual primary documents, including diary entries, paintings, maps, lithographs, and photographs of historical objects. Such a combination will provide you with a variety of perspectives and highlight that visual and material culture is of equal importance with textual sources in understanding historical developments.
You will not be set any homework but you will gain more from the course, in terms of enjoyment and learning, if you are able and willing to do some supplementary reading during the course. Some additional material will be supplied but you are also encouraged to find more for yourself.

Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?

None. However, you may wish to have pen and paper or an electronic device ready for notes.

When I've finished, what course can I do next?

Explore our range of world history courses on our website.

Aleksandra Kaye

Aleks Kaye is currently completing her doctoral degree in History at University College London. She researches the role migrants played in communication of scientific knowledge across national and ethnic boundaries in the nineteenth century. She has recently returned from Yale University, where she was researching migrant networks as an exchange scholar in Sociology. Her Masters dissertation centred around dictionaries and knowledge intermediaries in colonial Bengal. At City Lit Aleks teaches courses focused on global exchanges and trade networks. She is interested in sharing the wonderful, long-established histories of global connections with students. Before teaching at City Lit, she taught History at UCL, English as a foreign language (EFL), and tutored high school history students online. She has also worked supporting students at the Open University.

Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.