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The Economic And Political Impact Islam Had On Europe

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Describe and analyze the economic and political impact Islam had on Europe overtime between 1000-1750 C.E. Islam impacted Europe economically and politically greatly from 1000-1750 C.E from switching from agriculture based economy to a specialized labor based economy in order to trade with their neighboring regions, Europe also expanded their boundaries in order to become more powerful in the Mediterranean region, and became more involved in trade between regions when it opened and settled near many ports on the Mediterranean basin. However one thing that has never changed is the fixation on power and believing that trade was the way to get it. Due to growth of town and cites European countries in the late tenth century, such as France changed from having an unspecialized labor based economy to having a specialized labor based economy; in order to increase manufacturing and trade for Muslim merchants in the eleventh century.

Cities of Italy and Flanders became centers for spinning, weaving, and the dyeing of wool; in order to increase economic development, by trading. Europeans began trading through the Mediterranean, which continued to attract Muslim merchants. European countries such as, France changed economically when it established major trade ports around the Mediterranean in areas such as Genoa, Pisa, and Naples; France was able to become important in the commerce world. During the eleventh century, the Mediterranean widened to embrace more Muslim merchants. This enabled Italy to trade salt, olive oil, wine, wool fabrics, leather, and glass for gems, spices, silk, and other goods that would later be sold all throughout Europe. The increase in trade enabled the development of credit, banking, and new forms of business organization in Europe. The boundaries of Europe changed in the Mediterranean basin.

Early Muslim ancestors had already conquered the Mediterranean islands and part of the Iberian Peninsula in the eighth and tenth centuries. Sicily was a very important island of the Mediterranean region owned by the Muslims was taken from them and given to Christian hands by Norman Warriors in the eleventh century by Norman Adventurer Robert Guiscard, expanding European territory. The political relationship between the Europeans and Muslims drastically changed. Under control of the Roman Catholic church Europeans went from once coinciding with Muslim merchants to forcing them to convert to Christianity in Spain and the Mediterranean regions. The crusades against Muslims showed that the Europeans began changing the amount of power they had in the eastern hemisphere. One thing that has continued throughout Europe is trade, when trying to help their economy Europeans interacted and allied with the Muslim merchants around the Mediterranean basin.

However when Europeans no longer wanted to be allied with Muslim merchants and did not want Muslim merchants to make a bigger profit than them from reselling goods in India; European countries, like Portugal decided to start trading through the Indian ocean and became more economically strong. As the Chinese explored the Indian Ocean basin, the Europeans also ventured into the Indian Ocean. Doing so resulted in the Europeans; specifically Portugal finding a new way to West Africa. After finding a new way to Africa the Portuguese could now avoid Muslim intermediaries and increase their power in the economic world. The Portuguese wanted to avoid Muslim and Italian merchants because Muslim merchants were making money by trading basically all Asian luxury goods to European markets. The Portuguese decided that going through the Indian Ocean would be more economically beneficial.

Europe has always been focused on power. Islamic merchants were just another obstacle in Europe’s way to become more powerful. From the eleventh to the fifteenth century Europeans were allied with Muslim merchants because Europe wanted to become more involved in trade. Europeans did things such as switch from being agriculturally economy based to specialized labor economy base to be able to trade goods with Muslim merchants and also opening ports and settling near them to also increase trade with Muslim merchants. But in the late fifteenth century when Europe realized it would be more profitable to trade through the Indian Ocean the Indian ocean began expanding its territory in Muslim owned regions and forcing Muslim merchants to convert to Christianity after conquering their land. The idea that controlling trade increases a country’s power has remained a common factor before and after 1750.

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