Trade between major cultural groups in Riiga has been going on for centuries. The primary trading route by land is the Archroad. Major sea routes also exist, mostly connecting the Benevis Kingdoms, the Eber and Oolu Empires, and the Temanean, Vaman, and Remdor Kingdoms.
History of the Archroad
The largest land-based trade route (shown in red) has its roots as far back as 150BD, when the Xilou Hoqomer expanded all throughout what is now Benevis, and went as far east as the middle of modern day Oolu. Back then, any trade possibilities further east were cut off by the Baturun people of Batur, who were very defensive of their land at that time.
It wasn't until about 200AL, when the Dunian Empire stretched from modern day Porosoea to current Dunin lands, that significant trade was possible between the east and west. The Baturians of this new empire had the best horses in the world at the time, and this allowed them to easily transport goods that were once only available to those around Temanea as far away as the Oolu Empire. Goods made their way from Oolu into the East Xilou Hoqomer, the West Xilou Hoqomer, and finally into both the Qeyu Hoqomer and to the Vastions of Nor. Over the following centuries, this trade route influenced the politics and economies of all people along its path.
Oolu Empire's Free Trade
The Oolu Empire, being a central component of the Archroad, has adopted free trade because the government sees trade coming through its territory as essentially guaranteed. Given that they lack important resources compared with people further east and west, both national and privatised trade companies exist, ensuring that the road stays passing through the Oolu Empire, rather than going north of the Khatsanaras through Yvabira. The largest of these is the Glass Lion Company. Utilising this position in the early days of the road's growth has allowed the Oolu Empire to increase growing, despite most its land being some of the poorest among other major kingdoms and empires overall.
The Diamond Route
Recent advances in shipbuilding technology have allowed the Benevis Kingdoms to travel further than ever before. Since around 600AL, these people have established a trade route that goes by sea around the southern end of Baracsa. The first people from Benevis to make these trade routes met the Hanjare and Raonare people, especially those of what are now the Shcholi Kingdom, the Mbokecho Empire, the Hade Empire, and the Efisi States. It was discovered that though these people were less technologically advanced overall, the people knew how to obtain large amounts of high quality diamond and gold from their lands. Henceforce the Diamond Route was made, which is mainly controlled by the Royal Tuaram Trade Company.
The route itself is a lengthy, dangerous route for ships to take. Travelling down the western coast of Baracsa will see sailors travelling for extended periods without any signs of civilisation. Once reaching the kingdoms and empires in Nzandyi Bay, the trip becomes no less safer, as local pirates are extremely common, taking advantage of all the merchants looking to obtain cheap gold and diamond. Travelling up the eastern coast of Baracsa is no easier, as storms frequent the scarcely-populated lengths of coastline. Reaching the Mvecho Island kingdom is considered to be the end of the dangerous route; from here ships can join the sea routes that go from the Vastin Kingdom to the Oolu Empire without too many complications.
International Trade Guilds & Companies
Royal Tuaram Trade Company
The RTTC is the largest international trade company in the west. It has its main office in Lyte in the Margon Kingdom, and a secondary office in the Efisi city-state of Femabari. Originally formed to find new trades after finding it too difficult to compete with the Arkein Kingdom's control over the Sea of Lyte, it was soon chartered by the crown of Margon, which now owns 50% of the company. The main office sends an expedition to their Tuaram office at least once a year, while the Tuaram office trades for gold and diamond between Efisi, Shcholi, and Mbokecho the rest of the time. It is protected mostly by cheap privateers hired from the Efisi States and Shcholi Kingdom. Due to being the main supplier of goods from Benevis, the RTTC has seats on local elections and favours with local governments in Tuaram, giving the RTTC enough power to enforce tariffs on gold and diamond trade, offer money-lending services, and gain exclusive trading rights with Tuaram's west coast.
East Tuaram Company
The ETC is a fairly new and privately-owned competitor to the Royal Tuaram Trade Company, but the ETC focusses instead on the eastern states of south Tuaram -- specifically Owngatho and Wayinzo, with some mutual cooperation from Mvecho and Haramys. They are centered in Vadren, in the Shard Sea southeast of Vastin. The gold supply from Owngatho and Wayinzo is the main drive of this company, and it sees success mainly from the particular ties with Mvecho that they have established, making it hard for competitors to get into the trade. These arrangements mainly involve protection from privateers, insurance, and tariffs on gold transportation.
Glass Lion Company
The GLC is the biggest trade company in the Oolu Empire. Privately owned and enjoying minimal government intervention, it has monopolies on the export of local spices, glass, oil, and Mintar Green pigment, and on various imports from the east and west. It controls license distribution for these goods, offers money-lending services, funds the development of coastal regions and ports, and essentially controls caravans crossing both the Sheber Road going west and the Slave Road or Karber Road going east. It achieves this by offering protection by buying insurance from one of many groups of Rhefusur, who are subsidiary companies of warrior merchants. Those who do not buy insurance and protection from a Rhefusur will likely find themselves the victims of other Rhefusur, or even of the same Rhefusur they turned down. They also possess a modest fleet to help make trade across the Sea of Lions.
Augair Trade Authority
The ATA is one of the biggest trade companies in Temanea. It is state-owned and centralised in Te Hinan in the Ho Da Dynasty, and focusses its control on trade between the Gold Sea and Vaman -- mainly dealing in the trade of Vaman iron and pigment. It does this through brute force trading, sending its high number of ships to Vaman to drown out competition, and also through the hiring of pirates from Tenhan and Henmi to harass traders trying to cross the Augair Channel -- though this has not been proven.
The NC is a collection of privately owned trade companies based around the Gold Sea and in Temanea. It has offices in most large coastal cities and along the Archroad but its original office is in Ruipin in the Bandiao Dynasty. It primarily controls the trade of silk, with particular emphasis on Bandiao and Yinchu. A collection of esteemed nobles run the consortium together, and are only allowed to operate if they stay within certain restrictions placed upon them by the rulers of the dynasties. Their largest trade is exchanging silk with horses from Batur to the west. They also help protect caravans and trade vessels by sourcing particular mercenary companies.
Goods Traded Globally
The major cities along the trade route, from west to east: Lyte, Valarvis, Alfar, Cangona, Regalias, Costarson, Goldstone, Hillcrest, and Duracia in Benevis; Ellecil in Huirnon, Aswaun in Masakana; Dhrewar and Sakhratja in Qarbak; Yqozldatt, Osmangiyq, and Mancisa in Batur; and Tetamak, Selangin, Ruipin, Lema Da, and finally Ho Da in the Kingdoms of Temanea.
Along the Archroad, The Benevis Kingdoms mostly offer wine, hide, oil, wool, marble, and grain. Minor goods include gold, spice, and pigments, mostly from the southeastern corner. Their most popular pigment is called Vastin Yellow, which is made of yellow ochre and offers a rich, warm shade of yellow.
People of Seleru offer pigment, slaves, textiles, wildlife, spice, glass, oil, and grain, though it does not trade in quantities comparable to the Benevis Kingdoms. Their main pigment is called Hoqon Blue and is made of lapis lazuli, which is a vivid blue and is mostly commonly associated with hoqons.
The people of Qarbak offers high quality glass, textiles, and spices, as well as some marble, grain, slaves, and oil. Their primary pigment is called Mintar Green, is made of farmed coral called lion's mane, and is a shade of teal.
The people of Batur mainly offer high quality horses and wool, as well as some bronze and hide. Their most valuable pigment is a vivid white-grey colour called Dunian Grey, and is made from chalk or zinc.
The Temanean Kingdoms primarily offer silk, porcelain, and grain. Minor goods include pigment, spice, slaves, silver, gold, and bronze. Their most popular pigment is called Ladarean Orange, made from juniper, and is a vibrant, rich shade of orange.
Other people who trade with the Archroad indirectly include those throughout Yvatshun, offering a lot of iron and lumber, as well as some wool, hide, Yvabiran Green pigment which is deep green in colour and made from malachite, and the people of Tuaram, offering high quality gold and diamonds, as well as wildlife.
The Suribian trade road sees iron, grain, glass, Vaman Purple pigment made of sea snails, and hide from Vaman exchanged with lumber, silver, and gold from the Remdor Kingdoms. These goods are also occasionally traded overseas via the route to the Gold Sea to the west, or the Sea of Lyte to the east. The Tlarates of Into are thought to be the only major cultural group within Riiga which does not trade with outside cultures. Not much in the way of reliable trade has been established with the various peoples of Jindiara