Merchants of the Great Exchange

The Great Exchange refers to the transfer of culture, plants, animals, and disease around the world. As people travelled around the world they discovered new products. By the 1700s, Europeans were sailing to Africa, India, China, and Southeast Asia to trade.

This game is based on a book published in 1775 called, "The New and Complete Guide to the East India Trade." It was written by British merchants travelling and trading in the East whose goal was to return alive and with enough goods to sell in England to make a profit.

See if you, too, can return alive to England -- winning fame and fortune -- in Merchants of the Great Exchange.

Whose Lunch is it Anyway?

When Christopher Columbus and the explorers that followed him landed in the Americas, they began to introduce foods that they were familiar with. Wheat, beef, and sugar are just a few items they introduced through the years. These foods, combined with foods discovered in America, were combined to make the cuisine we eat today. So... get ready for school, pack your lunch, and see just how many things would have been left in your lunchbox in America before 1492, with Whose Lunch is it Anyway?

"East India Trade" Activities

Europeans had a taste for foreign goods. Products like silk, coffee, tea, and spices were in great demand. Enterprising merchants would set sail for ports such as Mocha, Bombay, and Canton to purchase goods and return home to sell for profit. Some men became experts in the trade such was the case of Robert Stevens, an English merchant in Bombay. He wrote a book called, The New and Complete Guide to the East-India Trade published in 1775. The book contains information on how much it costs to get a ship ready to sail, what goods to take, what ports to stop at and what to buy. It also addresses the exchange rates between currencies, how much to pay officials, plus the different weights and measures of the each region. Use the activities and background information based of the book to see if you could be a successful merchant in the East India trade.


Background Documents

"Import/Export" Activity

"Can you name these strange New World creatures?"