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Merchants from Holland and the Middle East trading.

A merchant is a businessperson who trades in commodities produced by others, in order to earn a profit.

Types of merchant[edit]

There are two types of merchant.


A merchant making up the account by Katsushika Hokusai.

A merchant class characterizes many pre-modern societies. Its status can range from high (the members even eventually achieving titles such as that of Merchant Prince or Nabob) to low, as in Chinese culture, owing to the presumed distastefulness of profiting from "mere" trade rather than from labor or the labor of others as in agriculture and craftsmanship. Mediaeval attitudes toward merchants in the West were strongly influenced by criticism of their activities by the Christian church, which closely associated their activities with the sin of usury.[2]

From around 1300 to the 1800s a large number of European Chartered and Merchant Companies were established to exploit international trading opportunities, for instance the Company of Merchant Adventurers of London, Chartered in 1407.[3]

In art[edit]

Merchants have been a common subject in art.

External video
Holbein's The Merchant Georg Gisze at Smarthistory.

In architecture[edit]

Many buildings in architecture have taken their names from their former use as the home or place of business of merchants:

See also[edit]

References and sources[edit]

  1. ^ mer‧chant, Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English, 2013. Retrieved 3 June 2013.
  2. ^ Medieval Merchant Culture. Decameron Web, Brown University, 1 March 2010. Retrieved 28 April 2013. Archived here.
  3. ^ "Merchant Adventurers" in Encyclopædia Britannica, Online Library Edition, 2013. Retrieved 22 July 2013.

External links[edit]