Maritime trade between East and West

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Trade between the Occident and the Orient has a very long history that dates back to three millennia, and has undeniably contributed to the rise of Gabyr. Trade between East and West continues to this day.


Before the Jing dynasty

Marginal amount of trade was conducted between East and West before the Jing dynasty took control of the Shár Empire.

Trade may or may not have happened between the Ancient Lizardman Empire and the Shiu dynasty of Shár, but aside from marginal written records about the opposing sides, there is no evidence to support that there were continuous relations and trade between the Lizardmen and the Shár. If there was trade between the Lizardmen and the Shár in the first place, it probably lasted until 3700 BEKE at latest, when the easternmost island the Lizardmen have colonized seceded from the empire, causing a complete lost of contact with the Orient. Seven centuries later, the Continental Lizardman Empire would fall, leaving behind nothing but anarchy and warring states for the following two millennia, rendering the potential for trade between East and West zilch.

Around 1000 BEKE, the Free City of Gabyr was founded, and almost immediately, they would do their best to facilitate trade between East and West. At first, this was usually trading luxury goods between Dragoc and the warring Shár states. Some Froturnish goods may have also made their way to the Orient.

During the Jing dynasty

The era during which the Shár Empire was ruled by the Jing dynasty - from 632 BEKE to 12 AEKE - is remembered as the Golden Age of Maritime trade. Through Gabyrian intermediaries, Hulran, Froturnish and Dragoci goods were exchanged for Shár ones - the flow of goods was well-documented and a fact of everyday life.

It was during this period when tea - originally native to Dragoc - was introduced to the Shár, while silk - originally native to the Shár lands - was introduced to Dragoc, Froturn and Hulra. Shár porcelain, lacquerware and carved jade were most prized amongst the Froturnish and Hulran elite, while Froturnish glassware and Hulran ironware were considered desirable by the Shár nobility. Froturnish mythril, Dwarven steel and gems of all sorts were also considered prized resources by the Shár.

A tradition of exchanging ceramics have also appeared: nobilities from both countries have come to develop a habit of hoarding exotic foreign ceramics, even if said ceramics was of the exact same value of its domestic equivalent - hence they exchanged ceramics a lot.

Aside from the ceramics-exchange, another tradition of that era was the mutual gift-giving between established sovereigns: Both Froturnish and Hulran kings would give valuable inauguration gifts to each and every Jing Emperor, while Jing Emperors would do the same for the Kings of Froturn and Hulra. In Hulra, elected kings wouldn't even be considered true kings until they received the inauguration gifts. During meetings between emissaries in Gabyr, it became an established tradition of exchange the food, so that the dignitaries could have a sample of the other party's cuisine.

This era was also a Golden Age for the Kingdom of Hulra, which has come to heavily depend on this maritime trade. Hulra effectively became an intermediary between Froturn and Gabyr, the latter of which served as an intermediary between Hulra and the Shár Empire. During the last century of this era - by the time the Jing dynasty has grown highly decadent - a land trade route developed between Froturn and Hulra that also involved Etrand - at the time divided between many tribal warlords, with the lack of real states save for the Kingdom of Steelhelm: Dwarven steel and Dwarven gems became prized luxury goods in Froturn and Hulra alike, as well as distant Shár.

After the Jing dynasty

Some time before 12 AEKE, the Shár Empire was invaded by the Sak hordes. In 12 AEKE, the last Jing Emperor died in battle, plunging the empire into anarchy - and as we all know, anarchy is bad for business: little trade would happen until the Shár got unified again... but new Sak dynasty actually wouldn't unify the former Shár Empire until 31 years after the death of the Jing Emperor, and even after the Shár Empire was reunified, what followed was little better: the new rulers of the Shár Empire were incompetent, discouraged trade with the West (as they saw it was a threat to their power and control over the Shár people), and held the Gabyrian merchants in contempt. Trade ceased between East and West until the next century.

This triggered an economical depression in much of the Occident - save for Etrand and Dragoc, the earliest of which was not affected, while the latter easily managed despite being affected. In Froturn, the effects of this economic depression were minor, and it may have been even a hidden blessing, as it caused the massive growth of the Froturnish silk industry, making Froturn the number-one supplier of silk to the rest of the continent, as well as Gabyr. In Hulra however, this economical depression completely wrecked the kingdom's economy, which would never truly recover. Some historians theorize that Hulra intended to invade Etrand as early as the first century, but the economical collapse prevented them, and by the time the Hulran economy recovered, it was too late: Etrand was too strong to be swallowed.

In 110 AEKE, the Empire of Týrýng became independent from the incompetent Sak-Shár rulers, and immediately became a trading partner of the Western world: Gabyr, and indirectly via Gabyr also Froturn, Etrand, Hulra and Dragoc.

In 140 AEKE, there was a regime change in the Shár Empire: the Bur dynasty was replaced by the Jiuk dynasty (which continues to rule the Shár to this day), which was adamant to restart trade with the West. Despite this, trade between the East and the West would never reach the same levels as during the glory days of the Jing dynasty.

See also