Commercial Revolution

Essential Questions
  • Why did a revival of trade lead to broad social change in Western Europe?
  • How did internal strife lead to reorganization in Europe?
  • Why did commerce flourish?

Common Core Standards

  • RH.9-10.3. Analyze in detail a series of events described in a text; determine whether earlier events caused later ones or simply preceded them.
  • RH.9-10.6. Compare the point of view of two or more authors for how they treat the same or similar topics, including which details they include and emphasize in their respective accounts
  • WHST.9-10.7. Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects to answer a question (including a self-generated question) or solve a problem; narrow or broaden the inquiry when appropriate; synthesize multiple sources on the subject, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation.

Suggested Student Objectives

  • Analyzing the social and economic consequences of population growth and urbanization in Europe from the 15th to the 18th centuries.
  • Describing the major institutions of capitalism and analyzing how the emerging capitalist economy transformed agricultural production, manufacturing, and the uses of labor.


  • Using data from the period 1550-1700, graph the increase of agicultural production, and the increase of productivity, and population increase in Europe. Hypothesize why production increase while productivity showed little increase. Relate this to population and technology changes during the period.
  • Assume the role of a merchant and prepare a rationale for trading in the world economy of the 16th century. What products would you select to trade? What are the existing markets and what markets need to be created? How would you finance, transport, and market goods? What problems are peculiar to each market item? What role would you expect the state to take in trade and commerce?
  • Research how Dutch and English merchants amassed enough capital to explore and make significant investments in overseas areas. Create a brochure aimed at attracting investors.
  • Explain the "agrarian revolution." What factors caused the revolution? How did the agricultural revolution change society? Were the effects of the agricultural revolution felt throughout western and easten Europe?
  • Investigate the "price revolution" in 16th century Europe. Write a short essay answering the following: What is the evidence that it happend? What caused it?

Resource Links

"Medieval Trade Fairs and the Commercial Revolution." Science and Its Times. Ed. Neil Schlager and Josh Lauer. Vol. 2. Detroit: Gale, 2001.

"The Regulation of Clothing." Arts and Humanities Through the Eras. Ed. Edward I. Bleiberg, et al. Vol. 4: Renaissance Europe 1300-1600. Detroit: Gale, 2005. 90-98.

Suggested Additional Readings


  • Research paper Rubric will score their Research projects on the effects of the Commercial Revolution.

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