The Global War to Control Trade

In the 17th and 18th centuries, the European powers fought a global war over control of the worlds ocean-borne trade.  The development of Mercantilism in Europe revolutionized economic relations.  In Mercantilism, governments control trade and use it to pressure other countries economies.  Much of the European expansion and warfare at this time was carried out by chartered companies, which employed their own armies and navies.  Commerce, raiding, and the seizing of fortified trading posts played an important role in these wars.  Wars were fought over the silver trade, the fur trade, and especially the highly lucrative slave plantations and the slave trade.  Both piracy and smuggling grew in this period.  Much of it controlled by these companies.

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