Trade with Asia proved to be one of the most powerful
forces behind our modern globalised world.
The outcome of European trade with Asia was European,
and above all British, domination of Asia. Few countries escaped
colonial rule and the impact of European industrialisation. At home
Indian textiles gave way to Lancashire cottons and Chinese porcelain
was abandoned in favour of the cheaper offerings of Wedgwood. Asia
was manipulated. It became a producer of raw material and a consumer
of European, largely British, manufactured goods.
Ironically, following the demise of Britains
empire, post 1945, powerful Asian economies have emerged once again
exporting sophisticated manufactures to the rest of the world.
Globalisation has come full circle.