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May 10, 2023

In today's episode, we explore the fascinating history of trade and commerce in Britain, starting from prehistoric times and ending in Shakespeare's era. This episode topic was chosen by our by our Patreon patrons at the Gentry, Noble, and Royal Patron levels. Special thanks to Collective Action Comics Podcast, Claire Sharp, Elizabeth Sharman and Katie Smith!

Discover how the monetization of England's economy fueled the growth of trade and commerce, and how merchant guilds helped shape trade regulation and the urban landscape of England's bustling port towns. From the wool trade to the spice trade, Elyse and Kourtney examine the impact of commerce on everyday life, and how it challenged traditional notions of identity and community.

In addition, the episode will explain how joint-stock companies transformed the world of trade and investment, and how they contributed to the growth of England's global empire. Drawing on Shakespeare's plays and contemporary accounts, Elyse and Kourtney examine the legacy of early modern commerce on modern-day economies and societies.

Whether you're a Shakespeare enthusiast, a history buff, or just curious about the origins of global capitalism, this is an episode not to be missed!

Shakespeare Anyone? is created and produced by Kourtney Smith and Elyse Sharp.

Music is "Neverending Minute" by Sounds Like Sander.

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Works referenced:

Anievas, Alexander, and Kerem Nişancioğlu. “Rethinking the Origins of Capitalism: The Theory of Uneven and Combined Development.” How the West Came to Rule: The Geopolitical Origins of Capitalism, Pluto Press, 2015, pp. 43–63. JSTOR, Accessed 21 Apr. 2023.

Brunton, Deborah. “6.3 Work and Trade.” Early Modern Europe: An Introduction, 2016,

Grafe, Regina, and Oscar Gelderblom. “The Rise and Fall of the Merchant Guilds: Re-Thinking the Comparative Study of Commercial Institutions in Premodern Europe.” The Journal of Interdisciplinary History, vol. 40, no. 4, 2010, pp. 477–511. JSTOR, Accessed 27 Apr. 2023.

Hair, Paul; Law, Robin (1998). "The English in western Africa to 1700". In Nicholas Canny (ed.). Oxford History of the British Empire volume 1: The Origins of Empire. British Overseas Enterprise to the Close of the Seventeenth century. Oxford: Oxford university press. pp. 241–263. ISBN 978-0-19-164734-5.

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Janega, Eleanor and Waters, Luke, “Historical Materialism 11: Colonialism”, We’re Not So Different Podcast, WNSD Podcast, 19 Jan. 2022. Accessed 24 Apr. 2023.

Jarman, Cat. “Britain After Rome”, Gone Medieval, performance by Robin Fleming, History Hit, 29 Aug. 2022, Accessed 24 Apr. 2023.

Palma, N. (2018). Money and modernization in early modern England. Financial History Review, 25(3), 231–261. doi:10.1017/s0968565018000185

Picard, Liza. “Exploration and Trade in Elizabethan England.” British Library, 15 Mar. 2016,

“Prehistoric Britain: Visit Resource for Teachers”, British Museum, The British Museum, Background Information pp. 4-11,, Accessed 21 Apr. 2023

Schmitthoff, M. “The Origin of the Joint-Stock Company.” The University of Toronto Law Journal, vol. 3, no. 1, 1939, pp. 74–96. JSTOR, Accessed 29 Apr. 2023.