History is always interesting and is there to be learned from. Looking back to merchants who transformed London by trading globally nearly 500 years ago.
The merchants in Elizabethan’s time sold their cloths and bought luxury goods and spices in European markets. Only a few decades later London’s merchants fitted out ships to sail to Russia, Persia, Indonesia, India and Japan.
Now, we are concern about being almost too interconnected but 400 years ago London’s trade discoveries changed the world.
London’s population increased fourfold and people became concerned by thousands of protestants seeking refuge from warn-torn Europe. It teaches us that immigration is nothing new. The rich became concerned about their status and privileges would be reduced by immigrants; apprentices and the poor resented incoming people who wanted jobs.
People in Elizabethan’s times hated changes and at the same time welcomed it just like today.
In Europe at that time war and rebellion flourished. Powerful Spain rampaged through the Netherlands. France was held back by religious civil war and Londoners were conscripted in other countries’ wars.
Therefore, London’s merchants were found themselves excluded from their usual markets in Europe. The merchants were forced to find other markets. They used their money and financed expeditions across the world. For the first time, investors were able to buy shares in these expeditions.
Corporations Russia Company, Levant Company and the famous East India Company were born and with it a whole new way of merchandizing and finance began. Although changes in finance exploded, including unscrupulous financiers, merchants were using money like any other commodity. They lent it for a fair price and won at the end.
As in Elizabethan’s time and today, people saw politics and money can give incredible power but merchant saw through monarchs and that wars, blockades, dynastic confrontations and politics were all hindering trade.
They knew the prosperity and their wealth would come from negotiations, benefits of treaties, deals across Europe and the world not wars.
During following centuries Antwerp overtook Bruges as financial capital and then London overtook Antwerp. In the 17th century Amsterdam became a global capital powerhouse.
In Elizabethan’s London Sir Thomas Gresham established the Royal Exchange. Many merchants of other nations came and done their dealings there.
Now the UK is at a stage where they want to cut loose of EU by the request of the people. True Brussels became too dictatorial and forced many useless or damaging trade laws. Brussels’ finance is in chaos and even the auditors will not sign their account being in at least £95trillion unaccountable. Brussels also keeps demanding more and more other fees on top of the £19billion membership per year while people in the UK are starving, homeless.
All these facts forced the people to demand a referendum to opt in/out of the EU and they voted for opting out.
Unfortunately, the history of British ruling and trading world-wide, which began in the 16th century, gives us no answer to what the future will be. There is still the Common World and Britain’s name for quality still exists but the last seven year of Tory Government many of the great names of manufacturing and establishments were sold or destroyed which now could have a backlash.
Labour is trying, in its manifesto for GE2017, to reverse all the damage that was done which would be very important in future trade negotiations.