The Aristocrat as the Proto-Global Citizen

Faraz Saberi
2023-05-01
조회수 209


Is it strange to consider nobles as the first global citizens of history? Perhaps not. Nobles were not tied to any specific nation or region, but rather, they traveled extensively and had connections throughout the world. But for what?

Trade.

Nobles were instrumental in the development of international trade and commerce. Many of them owned lands with resources that they traded for resources other nobles had on other lands. Over time, the trade deals they established turned into alliances, marriages, and -- if trade deals fell through -- blood feuds and wars. Still, it can be said that trade was the preferred option over war, and nobles spent much of their time guiding the flow of import and export all over the world making them incredibly wealthy in the process. 

But what about the women? Did they engage in such business as well?

Perhaps not directly so, since many societies around the world considered a woman without a thought on her mind to be the ideal. Still, it must not be said that women did not do their part in ensuring prosperity for their families. 

In fact, they would often travel to faraway lands because their fathers said so. When the need to establish trading agreements with other wealthy rulers, nobles would have their daughters enter into marriage contracts that required them to move to a different land or kingdom where they would be expected to spend the rest of their lives, away from the family they knew.

Noble men too were quite mobile, of course. They would either be granted new lands or conquer them, which required a fair bit of traveling.

There are numerous examples of noble migration through conquest hroughout history, but perhaps one of the most notable examples is that of William the Conqueror.

William the Conqueror was born in Normandy (which we now know as France), but he became the King of England after conquering the kingdom in 1066. It is worth noting that William did not speak the language of the commoners of England in that time. Instead, he brought his own language with him, after which the English court began speaking French.


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