Top 9 Ancient Commodity Markets Of India

By Rohan Chawla → Saturday, 11 March 2017
Trade began around 4,500 BC in India with the Indus Valley civilization. The discovery of artifacts from the Indus valley period all around the world signifies the emergence of trade during this period. It was the period of Bronze age. This economy was more urban based and dealt mostly with pieces of art. Pots, terracotta figurines were the most prominent items traded.
The Rig Vedic period economy was more agricultural based. They were nomads who traveled with their cattle. Cattle was reared and revered during this period. The people of this period learned to use Iron thus making them utilize the tools to progress in agriculture. After these discoveries, the nomads settled down and gave rise to a more settled economy.
Here are a few trade towns and ports that dominated the economic forum during these times:

Lothal:

It actually means the 'City of Dead'. This is one of the oldest known docks ever. It is situated in the Bhal region of the modern Gujarat. It is a 4,400-year-old city dated back to 3700 BCE. The dock that flourished during this time is the best work of maritime architecture before the birth of Christ.

Lothal city was connected to the Harappan cities in Sindh and peninsula of Saurashtra by an ancient course of the river Sabarmati. This city was a vital organ of the Harappan civilization economy. The city is Situated near the Saragwala in the Dholka taluka of the modern day Ahmedabad.
Lothal was a well-planned city. The engineers built the city to protect it from consistent floods. The city was divided into 1-2 meter high platforms made of sun-dried bricks. The city was surrounded by a huge wall to contain floods.
The main feature was the dockyard and the warehouse that encouraged naval trade. It was a feature that the modern engineers still respect and marvel. The dock was built away from the main current of the river thus protecting it from silting. The dock was built around the eastern flank of the city. The warehouse was built close to the dock at a higher platform of about 3.5meters to protect the goods from water during floods and high tides. There was a wharf for docking of ships on the western flank for the efficient movement of cargo. There was a ramp that led up to the warehouse.
The Harappan people were very disciplined with the construction purposes. Strict standards were laid for the length and width of the roads and no encroachment was allowed. Moreover, the metal tools used, measures, ornaments, weights, seal, and earthenware were also of standard and uniform quality.
Lothal imported a huge amount of raw materials like copper, chert, semi-precious stones from the Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro. The main items of export were bronze, fish hooks, chisels, spears, and ornaments. It also exported precious stones, gems, beads and ivory shells. The stone blade industry prospered and catered for the needs of the people of the town. The city prospered with this structure of trade and commerce. The trading relations of this city were spread across Egypt, Bahrain, and ancient Sumer. 
Sadly numerous storms and floods led to the decadence of this city around 2350BCE.

Taxila: 

It is a town mostly known for its ancient presence in the Mauryan empire. Situated in the Rawalpindi district of the Punjab, Pakistan. It is 549 meters above sea level. It lies off the historical Grand Trunk road that was constructed for trade and efficient movement of armies. This shows the historical importance of this town.
The city's location linked made it a junction between South and Central Asia.
Chandragupta Maurya brought the whole empire under one rule and control. The political unity encouraged trade and commerce based on standards issued by the royal administration. Moreover, a standard currency was declared and used everywhere the empire spread and barter system didn't prevail. This region provided a way for trade between various centers of the empire and foreign trade as well. This is well known based on the discovery of various artifacts, crafts and other things found around the world.
The city prospered as all the rebels and bandits were killed and destroyed by the Mauryan army. The main items of trade included silk goods, textiles, spices and exotic food stuff.
This city is also known for Takshashila an ancient university for scholars and intellects. This university was opened by the son of Lord Rama's son and was the first known intellectual property before Nalanda university.

Calicut: 

This port town became famous in the medieval period during the 14th century. This town is still known for maritime trade and commerce around which the whole town has prospered. The port became an instant success because of the ecological support. The presence of mud banks along the sea shore provided facilities of the port. The region and its hinterlands were easily navigable using the river.
There were plenty of low-lying areas in the region which stored sea water and were natural sources of salt. The town was surrounded by hills on three sides and access to the sea was through the fourth side. Thus these hills acted as a natural fort to the town.
The town was very planned and was famous between the Chinese and the Portuguese traders alike. The inner region of this town was not only rich in cash crops and other forest resources but also in minerals. The fine quality clay available in these regions made it a hub for pottery. Different regions were endowed with rich deposits of iron and gold. This led to the development of traders and artisans in the respective regions.
The region interacted constantly with Chinese and Portuguese traders. The region was considered safe for travel and trade which made it even more popular among the various traders. Zamorin the ruler of the Malabar coast during this period made sure that merchants were provided with the required safety measures.
The port town was famous for importing spices to various regions worldwide. During this period civilizations realized the uses of spices. Apart from adding taste to the food, these could also be used for medicinal purposes. The main spices included black pepper, cinnamon, mace, clove, and nutmeg. The other items of export included rose water, jack fruit, coral, pearls, frankincense and much more. The items imported included porcelain, metals, armors, weapons, perfumes, horses, glassware and even slaves.
 
   


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