How did the spread of Islam create a new trading zone?

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Islam has always held a high regard for merchants. Muhammad himself was a merchant and many of the early evangelists of Islam were Arab traders themselves. A unique practice of these merchants was to practice direct trade, meaning that they traveled the entire length of a trade route instead of relying on local intermediary traders. As such, they were able to spread their religion far outside of their native Arabia. Their contacts with other merchants often led to conversions within the merchant class of their destinations and along their routes. This further stimulated the rapid spread of the religion. As such, it is not surprising that the spread of Islam from the seventh to the ninth centuries created a new vast trading zone.

By the end of the ninth century, Muslim merchants from Spain to Southeast Asia were trading with each other along a vast network of trade routes. Common ties of religion facilitated commercial relationships among many merchants and greased the wheels of trade.

Furthermore, the spread of Islamic empires, first under the Umayyads and then the Abbasids, united a vast swath of land under a single political force. These empires protected trade routes within their borders and encouraged merchants to sell goods throughout their domain and beyond. Under their protection, the Silk Road saw a resurgence of trade which connected the Islamic world with the far off markets of China and East Asia.

In short, it was the religion's high esteem of trade, the connections made between Muslim merchants, and the protections afforded by a large empire that led the creation of a single large trading zone. At the height of this trading network, goods from as far east as China were reaching ports all the way in Spain in the west, and products from Europe were being bought as far south as Ethiopia. All this was thanks to the vast trade networks of Muslim merchants.

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The spread of Islam created a new trading zone because it connected many areas of the world that had had no real connection in the past.  In the hundred years or so after it was founded, Islam spread over an area reaching from Iberia in the west to Pakistan in the east.  It then spread even further, getting into West Africa and into Central Asia.  This allowed it to create a trading zone that covered almost an entire hemisphere.

When areas are controlled by one central government, trade among them becomes easier.  This was true of Europe during the Roman Empire and it was true of much of Eurasia and parts of Africa under Islam.  As Muslim rulers came to dominate these areas, trade between them was facilitated.  There was no need to pass between many sometimes hostile countries.  There was a common faith binding many of the merchants and causing them to have more trust in one another.  These factors made it easier for trade to be conducted between places as far apart as China and Arabia.

The Muslims came to dominate a large area of the world.  They revived the Silk Road through Central Asia.  They sent seaborne traders around the Indian Ocean.  They created banks and letters of credit and other things that made trade easier.  Above all, they made it much easier and safer to travel from place to place within the area they dominated.  This led to the creation of a huge new trading zone.

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