Global Commodities: Trade, Exploration and Cultural Exchange
One of the most popular ways of teaching World History is through the story of Global Commodities and the way in which these transformed the world. This project focuses on fifteen significant commodities whose stories are often intertwined. They are: Chocolate, Coffee, Cotton, Fur, Oil, Opium, Porcelain, Silver & Gold, Spices, Sugar, Tea, Timber, Tobacco, Wheat, Wine & Spirits. Each commodity is documented through a wide range of manuscript materials, maps, posters, paintings, photographs, ephemera, objects and rare books so that the student can explore the origins of the commodity, their first uses, the trade that developed and the ways in which these items were marketed and consumed. The project touches on themes of exploration and discovery; imperialism and attempts at monopoly; trade Wars; translocation and economic geography; slavery; mass production; luxury; taste; and the evolution of global branding.