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European Market Places in Early America

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Chapter Summary

Europeans transplanted few motifs so consistently into exploration and colonization literature as that of the marketplace. Perhaps because it was through market exchanges that Europeans acquired needed goods, or bargained for them, that they focused not surprisingly on the manner of trade, negotiation, and exchange occurring in America. A market transaction certainly simplified in basic accounting terms the otherwise complex drama unfolding in European encounters with Indians. The earliest colonists in America drew from understandings of the marketplace to justify their first beach-side bartering, often for furs, but also all manner of foodstuffs, sexual favours and slaves. Ironically, the imaginative recreation of a market allowed for America's greatest plundering, whether in the seizing of Indian goods or claiming of lands. Trade monopolies, granted in the early colonial period implied by nature a single, regulated market.

Keywords: America; colonial period; colonization literature; European market; Indian trade



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