CIVILIZATIONAL FACTORS OF ARMENIAN SEA TRADE DEVELOPMENT AND THE INTERNATIONAL COMPETITION IN THE 17TH CENTURY
Prior to the great geographical discoveries international trade relations had been developing within the boundaries of the known world or oecumene in the Eastern hemisphere, via land, river and sea routes. Participation of various countries in the international trade depended on availability of raw material sources and product lines.
Armenia had been involved in international trade since ancient times, given its important strategic location between the East and West and its civilizational developments.
In the 16th-17th centuries the sea trade from Baku and Astrakhan was controlled mainly by Armenians, and was further boosted owing to Armenian merchants of New Jugha as a result of conclusion of the 1667 and 1673 Russian-Armenian trade agreements The English, French and Danish East India Companies initially availed themselves of the opportunities provided by Armenian commercial methods and trade relations, especially in India. They made huge profits as Armenians initially tended to rent European vessels. Along the Silk Road passing through Armenia such cities as Jugha, Nakhijevan, Karin, Manazkert, Dvin flourished in early Medieval Ages, as well as Ani, capital of the Armenian Bagratids in the 10th-11th centuries, which were large centers of science, education and culture, crafts and commerce. Navigation among Armenians developed intensively in the 12th-14th centuries, when the Armenian Principality and later the Kingdom of Cilicia became a maritime state with navy and commercial fleet that was involved in the sea trade system of the Mediterranean. Cilician Armenia was a sea gateway to the European ports for the Silk Road coming from China and India. It also introduced progressive changes to the international maritime law.
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