4406 entries. 94 themes. Last updated December 26, 2016.

Timeline Outline ViewEra: All Eras   |   Theme: Commerce / Trade


Circa 80,000 BCE
Shells of Nassarius gibbosulus, estimated to be around 82,000 years old, found in Morocco. (View Larger)
Evidence of Early Trade Routes?
Circa 3,200 BCE – 2,900 BCE
Cuneiform Writing in Mesopotomia Begins at Uruk in Association with the…
Circa 2,500 BCE – 1,250 BCEThe Origins of Glassmaking Circa 2,500 BCE
Photo of wharf at low tide, Wadi al-Jarf
The World's Oldest Harbor
1,375 BCEThe Uluburun Shipwreck Circa 450 BCEThe Elephantine Papyri: One of the Most Ancient Collections of Jewish Manuscripts 399 BCE
A bust of Xenophon. (View Larger)
Export of Papyrus Rolls from Greece to the Euxine Coast
Circa 300 BCE
The Salamis Tablet. (View Larger)
The Earliest Surviving Counting Board
Canon 22 of the Council of Nicea II (British Museum, MS Barocci 26, fol. 140b), where the top is written in minuscule and the bottom in unical.(View Larger)
Arab Conquest of Egypt Resulted in Smaller Exports of Papyrus-- A Probable…
Circa 650 – 960
A jiaozi from the Song Dynasty. (View Larger)
Introduction of Paper Money in China
700Traversing the Mediterranean in Twenty Days Circa 830Origins of the Term Algebra 994
Song Dynasty Jiaozi, the world's earliest paper money.
The First Printing Encountered by European Travelers
Circa 1170Origins of the Paris Book Trade 1202
Folio 124r of the Codex magliabechiano, a manuscript of Liber Abaci preserved in the Biblioteca Nazionale di Firenze. (View Larger)
Fibonacci Introduces Arabic Numerals to the European Public and Describes…
1224 – 1227First Recorded Issue of Paper Money in the Mongol Empire Circa 1250Possibly the First Joint-Stock Company 1266
A map illustrating both the first and second Polo expeditions. (View Larger)
The Travels of Niccolo and Maffeo Polo
Tabriz, Iran, as seen through Google Earth. (View Larger)
A Clear Record of Early Block Printing in Tabriz
1298 – 1299
Folio 54r from a facsimile of 'Le divisament dou monde,' preserved at the University of Graz, in Germany. (View Larger)
The Lure and Romance of Travel to the East
Circa 1299
A woodblock from Gregor Reisch's Margarita Philosophoca, 1508, depicting a table abacus. (View Larger)
The European Table Abacus
Circa 1340The Oldest Known English Public Advertisement 1374 – 1375The Relative Costs of the Components of Medieval Manuscripts 1382Costs for a Missal Produced in 1382 1418
The Stuttgart Cards. Originally in the collections of the dukes of Bavaria, these are considered amongst the earliest surviving sets of playing cards.  They date from around 1430. A study of the watermarks in the paper revealed that the patper came from the Ravensburg paper mill and was made between 1427 and 1431.
Printing Playing Cards
Circa 1420 – 1470
An image of Moses from the Book of Leviticus: folio 141v of a manuscript bible produced in the workshop of the scribe Diebold Lauber. (View Larger)
Serial Workshop Production of Medieval Manuscripts
Eighteen cards from a pack of an early form of north Italian playing cards, with the swords back-to-back and curved outwards. Believed to be Venetian, dated 1462.
Card Printing in Venice Has Outside Competition
Henry VI. (View Larger)
The First English Patent for an Invention
1476 – 1477Caxton Prints the First Book Advertisement in the English Language Circa 1500 – 1565
 Pencil 'lead' has never actually contained the metal; its name arrose from a visual similarity between the two substances. (View Larger)
Origins of the Pencil
October 14, 1522Cuthbert Tunstall Issues the First Book Published in England Devoted Exclusively to Mathematics 1674The World's Oldest Auction House is Founded November 12, 1713 – 1770Early Government Incentive for Scientific Research 1718 – 1721Lombe's Silk Throwing Mill: The First Factory April 11, 1744Benjamin Franklin Issues the First American Trade Catalogues 1770The Earliest Large-Scale Data-Processing Organization 1776Adam Smith's Classic of "Laissez-Faire" 1798The First Official National Industrial Exposition Occurs in Paris Circa 1800By this Stage in the Industrial Revolution All Phases of Cloth Production Are Performed by Machines December 1, 1819Foundation of the First Business School September 27, 1825The First Publically Subscribed Passenger Railroad July 4, 1828 – May 24, 1830The First Common Carrier Railroad in the United States 1839Foundation of the First Parcel Express Agency in the U.S. August 1872Montgomery Ward Issues the First General Merchandise Mail Order Catalogue 1874
Circular note, launched in 1874 by Thomas Cook. 
No higher resolution image available at this time.
"Circular Notes", a Precursor of Traveler's Cheques, are Introduced
1878 – 1896Foundation of International Parcel Post Service May 26, 1896Foundation of the Dow Jones Industrial Average August 21, 1897 – 1901The First Automobile Assembly Line 1908 – December 1, 1913Henry Ford Sponsors Improvements in the Automotive Assembly Line January 1, 1913The U. S. Post Office Begins Parcel Post Service 1917Foundation of Barnes & Noble 1923The First Suburban Shopping Center Designed for Shoppers Arriving by Automobile 1923Foundation of Public Relations April 1930 – 1950Statistical Quality Control in Manufacturing is Conceptualized and Introduced by Shewhart and Deming July 30, 1935Allen Lane & Penguin Books Invent the Mass-Market Paperback February 1950
Early Diners' Club card.
"Diners Club", the First Credit Card
July 9 – July 12, 1951Bertram V. Bowden, the First Computer Salesman in England November 17, 1951First Stored-Program Computer to Run Business Programs on a Routine Basis June 1953The First Report on the Application of Electronic Computers to Business September 1958
BankAmerica card.
BankAmericard is Launched
October 1, 1958The American Express Card 1966The NY Stock Exchange Completes Automation of Trading Circa 1969 – 1970The First ATM is Installed at Chemical Bank in New York November 20, 1974An Antitrust Suit to Break up AT&T 1975Barnes & Noble Becomes the First American Bookseller to Discount New Books May 19, 1975 – January 8, 1982The Antitrust Case, U.S. v. IBM, is Tried and Eventually Withdrawn May 1, 1977The First Intentional Spam 1978 – June 30, 2012The Minitel September 3, 1995eBay is Founded December 14 – December 21, 2000"Weapons of Financial Mass Destruction"? February 16 – September 18, 2011Borders Files Chapter 11 Bankruptcy & Closes the Last of its Bookstores April 18, 2011Walmart Buys Kosmix.com, Forming @WalmartLabs May 2011McKinsey Report on the Impact of the Internet on Growth, Jobs, and Prosperity January 23, 2012 – January 13, 2013Technological Unemployment: Are Robots Replacing Workers? October 2012Online Advertising is Expected to Surpass Print Advertising, But TV Advertising Dwarfs Both October 4, 2012Book Mountain + Library Quarter in Spijkenisse, The Netherlands November 4, 2012Google Has 67% of the U.S. Search Market and Collects 75% of U.S. Search Ad Dollars January 11, 2013"Information Technology Dividends Outpace All Others" November 7, 2013Retail e-commerce sales expanded 15 percent in the U.S in 2012—seven times as fast as traditional retail. November 11, 2013The U.S. Postal Service Will Deliver Amazon Packages on Sundays December 1, 2013Amazon.com and UPS Envision Eventually Delivering Packages Via Drones December 20, 2013eCommerce Accounts for Only About 6% of Commerce in the U.S.