|European Trade Grows
By the 1400s, Genoa, Pisa, and Venice had large shipping
fleets to carry goods to Spain and Northern Africa. As the level of trade increased, merchants needed ways to safeguard money, convert it from one currency to another, and safely loan it. Bankers, like the Medici family in Florence, began to operate and flourish.
African and Chinese Trade
Timbuktu was a great cultural and trading center by the
1400s. Situated in Songhai, West Africa, trade there involved caravans of people crossing deserts from Arabia to buy gold and salt. China's silk traders had to climb mountains and cross deserts to trade with Europe until Emperor Zhu Di built a fleet of sailing ships in 1403.