Mayans were such good traders that they were nicknamed “the Phoenicians of Middle America.” They usually traded in hollowed-out jungle trees going down rivers and coastal waters. The boats had one row of rowers on each side and in their middle had room for merchandise. The canoe’s ends were pointed to move easily through the water. The traders went as far as Northern Mexico and the most southern point in central America and their main product was salt. Ek Chuaj, the god of trading, was an underworld god who looked like a traveller with a basket.
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In ancient Greece, international trade began about 750BC because of factors like colonisation, spread of coinage, less pirates and interstate alliances. Greek pottery was in great demand and has been found on the Atlantic coast of Africa. The most important exports were wine and olives, while cereals, spices and precious metals were imported. Most traders didn’t have their own vessel so they rented a ship from a special ship-dealer. If the boat sank the trader didn’t have to pay, so some traders deliberately scuttled their ship!