The increasing importance of the Pacific and Pacific Rim within the global economy places us on the brink of a Pacific Century. While many hold that the concept of a Pacific region has only emerged in the twentieth century, this work demonstrates that such an economic region has existed for almost five hundred years. Starting with the 16th century trade of Latin American silver for Chinese silk, leading researchers trace the economic, environmental and social history of the Pacific region. Chapters examine the trade of diverse commodities within the Pacific and analyse the ecological and social impacts of this increasing economic activity. The strong Chinese marketplace emerges as crucial to early Pacific development, and is compared with Japan's central role in the region's modern economy. Pacific Centuries contributes to the understanding of a dynamic economic region. This valuable study also advances research into the economic histories of South and South East Asia, Australia and America, situating them within the wider Pacific context. Kevin Blackburn, Latrobe University, Australia; Dennis O.
Flynn, University of the Pacific, USA; Warwick Frost, Australian Centre for Tourism and Hospitality; James Gerber,