Follow TV Tropes


Merchant City

Go To

"If it can't be had here, it can't be had on any world."
High Market flavor text, Magic: The Gathering

A city populated mainly by merchants, or known for its shopping opportunities. While the term "trade city" can be tautological because any settlement large enough to support any kind of labor specialization requires trade between two different parties to function, these cities are defined by the influence of its traders, merchants, and financiers in its daily life. Tends to be a port, especially a seaport in works set historically and even into the modern day as ships have been far and away the most cost-effective means of transporting cargo in large quantities. Access to large amounts of financial capital is also usually needed in order to support the high-risk high-reward ventures often undertaken by an Intrepid Merchant. Usually has a Black Market and/or a Bazaar of the Bizarre. You can buy the best available items there, or at least have the most variety to choose from.


This is often, but not always the capital or Hub City.

On many occasions it will be the hometown of a Proud Merchant Race, and will be the favorite hangout of the Intrepid Merchant. Some are even ruled by Merchant Princes.


    open/close all folders 

     Fanworks! The best fanfic on the Internet!! 
  • In Written by the Victors, an Stargate Atlantis fanfic by Speranza, the main characters turn Atlantis into this as it's the only city that could protect an inter-planet market from the Wraith.

    Fiiiiilm! Get yer film here! 
  • In Star Wars, "Mos Eisley was built from the beginning with commerce in mind."
  • Bartertown in Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome. Trading is required to be able to enter, and holding on the deals is enforced by law.

    Literature, for free, and that's cutting me own throat! 
  • The Bazaar on the dimension of Deva in the Myth Adventures series. While it doesn't come close to covering the world's landmass and in fact slowly migrates across it, it's the only settlement, transportation to Deva always routes visitors wherever it presently is rather than to geographic coordinates, and there's nothing else on Deva worth seeing in any event. (The land itself can no longer support life and the natives turned entirely to cross-dimensional trade to support themselves.)
  • A Song of Ice and Fire:
    • The Free City of Braavos.
    • Also Vaes Dothrak, the sacred city of the Dothraki where merchants come from across the world to trade with each other under the protection of the Horselords (who themselves have no concept of money).
  • Vorkosigan Saga:
    • Jackson's Whole is nothing but a Black Market, selling devious and unethical goods and services for high prices.
    • Komarr's society is based on Intrepid Merchants, taking advantage of its location at the crossroads of several interstellar trade routes.
  • The aptly named Trading Cities in Invisible Cities, although they play with the idea. One particular city trades stories, another, character roles.
  • Discworld's Ankh-Morpork is without compare. Invaders often found that within a few days they no longer own their weapons and are just absorbed into the general ethnic character of the city. These days, Ankh Morpork is basically immune to war, because it's the trade and economic capital of the world. Not for nothing is their national anthem "We Can Rule You Wholesale" - "Let others boast of martial dash / For we have boldly fought with cash / We own all your helmets, we own all your shoes / We own all your generals - touch us and you'll lose".
  • Gayjur in The Sparrow, and while it's due to his unfortunate life circumstances, Supaari is definitely a Proud Merchant Race Guy.
  • Vanity Fair of Pilgrim's Progress.
  • The entire Iskoort world in Animorphs was a giant metropolis where one can purchase anything he or she wants.
  • The Realm of the Elderlings series has Bingtown, situated near the mouth of the Rain Wild River on the Cursed Shores. The Bingtown Traders consider themselves an exclusive caste, basically rule themselves via the Traders Council and are very proud of being the descendants of those who came to the Cursed Shores with nothing but themselves and not only managed to survive but also to make a fortune.
  • Guardians of the Flame: Pandathaway, a port city which is a commercial hub and caters to visitors looking for goods. There is practically nothing that's not out for sale (this also makes it the center of the regional slave trade, much to the heroes' disgust). Merchants and guild heads run it.
  • Children of Earth and Sky: Trade is the life blood of both Seressa and Dubrava, where power and wealth revolve around commerce.
  • Isle of Stars in Tales from Netheredge, whose main port is a landing point for most of the trade between the countries of Netheredge and the Calisto Empire.
  • The Tough Guide to Fantasyland: The City of Canals generally is one, ruled by a council of corrupt merchants.

    Live-Action Television, you'll never find a better one anywhere else! 
  • The Star Trek franchise has Ferenginar, homeworld of the Ferengi. Being merchants is the Ferengi's hat, and it really shows. There are hidden fees everywhere, from entering someone's home, to using the elevator, to even sitting down in a waiting room.

    Tabletop Games, wouldn't you like some? 
  • Dungeons & Dragons
    • Forgotten Realms has Waterdeep, Calimport, Raven's Bluff... Amn in general is known as "Merchant's Domain" — people there call the god of death "Black Forecloser" and that's not even a joke. Its capital city Athkatla (nicknamed "City of Coin") is so much of a merchant city, it's a Holy City of the trade goddess.
    • Syrania in fourth edition of Eberron.
    • The City of Brass, the Efreet capital. In Fourth Edition The City of Brass is stated to be the largest mercantile city in the multiverse.
    • The city of Union, introduced in the 3rd Edition Epic Level Handbook. It was founded by the mercane, a Proud Merchant Race with a mysterious aversion to Sigil, and run largely to support the mercane's mercantile empire. Precious little has been done with it since it was first introduced, however.
    • And though the sourcebooks don't really focus on it, it's clear that Sigil itself is one - hosting portals to literally anywhere means that it's THE crossroads of the multiverse. The Golden Lords are periodically mentioned as some of the most fantastically rich individuals on the planes, mostly by taking advantage of Sigil's opportunities. However, since the game is focused on the ideological conflict of the factions as well as Sigil's potential as a jumping-off point for adventure, the mercantile side of the city went largely unexplored by the writers except as what would support adventurers.
  • Tredroy in GURPS.
  • The capital city of Mercadia, Mercadia City, from the Magic: The Gathering set Mercadian Masques.
  • Katapesh, and to some degree Druma, in Pathfinder.
  • Warhammer Fantasy has the Free City of Marienburg in the Wasteland to the north of the Empire (the Wasteland used to be known as the Westerlands, but ever sine Marienburg bought its independence and refused to return the Imperials have taken to demeaning its importance in every way they can). There is also the far more upmarket High Elf version in Lothern and the Arabyan version in the Spice Port of Copher.
  • Extropia, the first and most populous asteroid colonized by the anarcho-capitalist Extropians, in Eclipse Phase.
  • Ironclaw has Triskellion, the capital of Calebria and by far the most cosmopolitan city on the island. A century ago the king handed over most governance to a council of trade guilds.
  • In Rocket Age G'Pak, the only island city on Mars' silt sea is run by the Pilthuri, the merchant and diplomat class who most other city states look down on and despise. The royal and priests caste have no real power there and are essentially kept around for show, to ensure that other cities don't attempt to use the unusual arrangement against them.
  • Most starports in Traveller have facilities for buying and selling goods, but a few worlds such as Regina in the Spinward Marches are notable for having grown rich from their position on the interstellar trade routes.
  • In Exalted, the Imperial City is literally at the centre of the world, so it's the logical place for merchants from all (D)irections to bring their goods. And before the Imperial City, there was Meru, home to nearly all the mansions and tributes given to the kings of creation. Rules-wise, everything bought in one of these places is one dot cheaper than it would otherwise be.

    Video Games! You want 'em, we got 'em! 
  • Mirage, a city in the Cleft of Dimension in Final Fantasy V. When it reappears in the real world it's full of merchants and some of the best items in the game can be bought there.
  • Beiser in Trials of Mana is a port city full of merchants, and has a Black Market that you can access by waiting for it to become night. Ironically though, it's the only town in the game where you can't buy regular supplies. This was actually fixed in the 2020 remake.
  • Illium in Mass Effect 2 is a capitalist heaven: It is an independent planet outside the jurisdiction of any major government and while the planet is extremely rich, there are almost no rules on anything. During your stay, you are constantly bombarded with cheesy comercials and merchants making ridiculous claims to their customers.
  • Tradefair, Rogurd's hometown in Black Sigil, is a Merchant City and also has a Black Market.
  • In The Legend of Zelda games, the capital is usually like this, often named Castle Town or Windfall Island.
  • Octopath Traveler has the city of Grandport, the final stop on the budding merchant Tressa's quest line. It contains outdoor merchants carrying nearly every category of item for sale/theft, and is home to a multi-millionaire who promotes trade as a means of finding trinkets for his daughter.
  • Pokémon has Celadon City, Goldenrod City, Lilycove City,Veilstone City, Castelia City, and Lumiose City, with a big department store in each. Alola has a few cities: Hau'oli City, Royal Avenue, Malie City, and Konikoni City, which is explicitly referred to as a 'city of merchants'.
  • Constructable in Medieval II: Total War is the Merchants' Quarter, which turns over an entire section of the city to trade.
  • Hong Kong in Deus Ex.
  • Zoner Freeports and Junker bases in Freelancer are like this, according to rumors on bases, and chatter on Artificial Atmospheric Actions, but Gameplay and Story Segregation is in effect when you visit.
  • Quest for Glory II's Shapeir has Katta in every square, selling all sorts of items, that's not taking into account the smithy, apothecary and the joke shop.
  • Varrock city in RuneScape is this for players, as it's where the Grand Exchange, a big facility that lets people put their items for sale or buy from other players without direct contact, is located. Before the Grand Exchange was added, it was Varrock for free players and Falador for members, but only on certain merchant worlds. Ardougne, another big city with lots of stalls in the middle is this for NPCs.
  • Crossbell in the Trails Series is a sprawling metropolis similiar to real world New York City and Hong Kong, being the heart of commerce of the continent and one of the richest places in Zemuria. However, this also makes it a very hotly contested territory between the two major superpowers of the world: the Erebonian Empire and the Republic of Calvard.
  • World of Warcraft:
    • The goblin-controlled cities of Gadgetzan, Booty Bay, and Ratchet. As a Proud Merchant Race they are open to both factions and also provide access to the Neutral Auction House, the only method of cross-faction trading.
    • Shattrath and the Northrend version of Dalaran used to serve as this when they were the main cities of their respective expansions. Having portals to each of the original capital cities, auction houses, high-end armor vendors, and close proximity to end-game content meant a high player density and trade. These days the city of choice is the Broken Isles version of Dalaran.
  • The Carcino region from Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones comes to mind; it's the only nation of the six in the game that doesn't house a Mineral MacGuffin, in favour of being a mercantile state. That said, it doesn't have any particularly special items for the player party purchase ingame...
  • Virtually every major city in Ragnarok Online are packed with Intrepid Merchants, but a special mention goes to the Port Town of Alberta, where Merchants are trained from Novices.
  • Secret of Evermore has Nobilia.
  • Guild Wars: In-universe, the Kodash Bazaar is considered this, being the capital of a merchant nation. In gameplay terms, though, it has a pretty average selection of merchants.
  • Breath of Fire I: Prima, which is also an Underwater City.
  • In Dragon Quest VII, one of the final forms for the immigrant town is the Bazaar, which has shops selling some of the best equipment in the game (including the Metal King Shield, hands down the best shield in the game).
  • Tales of the Abyss has Chesedonia. Located directly between Kimlasca and Malkuth (in spite of ongoing tension between the two nations), nearly all goods that cross the border pass through it, and since each country is heavily specialized (with Kimlasca producing weapons, armor and fontech, while Malkuth grows crops for food and medicines), consistent and well-managed trade is an absolute necessity. Notably, if you're somehow incredibly rich early on in the game (if you carried money over onto a New Game+, for example), you can buy weapons there that are ludicrously powerful for your level.
  • Any and every province designated a "Centre of Trade" in Europa Universalis III, including several of the real-life examples below.
  • The Republic DLC for Crusader Kings II introduces Merchant Republics ruled by families of Merchant Princes, including many Real Life examples.
  • Mercantile City-states in Civilization V are named after famous examples from history. Get on their good side and they'll send out shipments of luxury goods to increase major nations' Happiness, including unique goods that can't be obtained any other way. The player can also choose to focus cities on trade by building Wonders such as the Great Lighthouse, Petra, and the East India Company, or turn their entire nation into a Proud Merchant Race by taking up the Commerce and Navigation policy trees.
  • Jita has become such a massive trade hub in EV Eonline that all missions and resources have been removed from the system and it's been moved to own server in order to handle the traffic. Of particular interest is the fact that Jita became the premier trading hub of New Eden not through developer edict, but through players following actual market forces of supply and demand.
  • Harvest Moon: Grand Bazaar has the world-famous Zephyr Town. Or had. At the start of the game the bazaar is a shadow of its former glory. It's up for the newbie farmer protagonist to revitalize it.
  • The nation of Ul'dah in Final Fantasy XIV is practically run by merchants. While the nation does have a Sultana, she's just a figurehead since the true leaders are the Syndicate, which are a group of the nation's wealthiest merchants. The nation's motto is "For Coin and Country".
  • The Legend of Dragoon has the Commercial City, Lohan, in the first disk. Not only is it Serdio's main hub for traders all across Endiness, it also sells plenty of the game's best accessories, alongside the Legend Casque, which gives ridiculous magic defense and evasion. Catch? These items will range in the thousands of Gold, whereas most battles barely give around 100 in the later areas of the game.
  • Heaven's Vault:
    • Renaki is a merchant moon. The explorable map consists of two shopping plazas crammed with goods and stalls. The player is able to exchange artifacts for various items here, but there's nothing of substantial value for sale unless you're trying to unlock the gecko-related achievements (or really want an apple).
    • There is another merchant moon you can discover, that was this in the Age of Sail. It's now in ruins.

    Webcomics! I got yer webcomics right here! 
  • In The Order of the Stick, Sandsedge. A town of tents, but one gathering traders from the whole Western Continent.
  • In Drowtales, "Chel'el'Sussoloth was built around the Klar'bol, the market section is literally the heart of the city".

    Real Life! While supplies last. 

In general, if one were to look at a list of the world's largest and most prosperous cities, one would find that nearly all of them built their wealth this way, through being centers of trade and finance in which people from elsewhere gathered to do business.


  • The Mississipian mounds of Cahokia near present-day St. Louis are considered the largest pre-Columbian urban center to have ever existed north of Mexico, with archaeologists estimating its peak population to be as high as 40,000 in the 13th century (which would put it on par with London in the same time period). Among the sites there is evidence of trade in copper, chert (a stone useful for making hoes for farming) and seashells with tribes as far north as the Great Lakes and as far south as the Gulf Coast.
  • Boston during the late colonial period into the 19th century was a major anchor of transatlantic trade, being one corner of the colonial molasses triangular trade which saw ships from the Caribbean carrying sugar from slave-worked plantations into New England where it was distilled into rum and shipped out along with other products like lumber and fish to West Africa. Many colonial merchants were based in Boston, and were the most adversely affected by the British Parliament's taxes that were levied to pay for the French and Indian War — consequently Boston became the early center of unrest in the years prior to Lexington and Concord.
  • Philadelphia was another major colonial-era center of transatlantic trade, also growing from import trade of sugar from the Caribbean and export of grain and lumber to Europe combined with a policy of religious tolerance which attracted religious-minority immigrants. By the eve of the Revolution, the city was the second-largest in the English-speaking world after London.
  • New York City was another city with colonial merchant roots as it started as a Dutch trading post, but moved ahead of other Eastern Seaboard port cities and seized the title for the US with the opening of the Erie Canal in 1821, which connected the Hudson River to the Great Lakes through the Mohawk Valley (one of the few natural gaps in the Appalachian Mountains) and made it easier to ship stuff between the then-West (now Midwest) and the rest of the world through New York. It helped that New York Harbor is one of the largest natural harbors in the world, which meant New York could easily handle a lot of ship traffic without needing a ton of infrastructure improvements. The establishment of the New York Stock Exchange from its roots in the Buttonwood Agreement of 1792 and its growth alongside New York itself through the 19th Century helped to seal the deal. Today, Manhattan's Fifth Avenue is world-renowned for its high-end shopping.
  • Chicago. On the other end of that east-west overwater trade route from New York was Chicago, because of its location right on a portage (a land bridge where boats or their cargo can easily be transferred between two bodies of water) between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi Watershed, with the Illinois and Michigan Canal later being dug so that passenger, cargo, and ship could traverse together. When the rails began to be laid down, Chicago was the hub for many lines, which is probably the biggest reason for its growth into the Second City, as being able to send goods easily in most any direction made it a great trading spot, whether they be the destination of many a Texan cattle drive (Chicago had many slaughterhouses, including the one in Upton Sinclair's The Jungle) or if you're selling stuff by catalogue and use the rails to ship your sales (i.e,. Sears). Chicago's answer to Fifth Avenue for luxury shopping is its own Michigan Avenue, specifically the Magnificent Mile north of The Loop.
  • Miami has developed into a shopping destination based on its tourism industry, whether as the starting/finishing point of many Caribbean cruises, its own world-famous beaches, or the large Hispanic population. Richer tourists from countries with high import taxes like Brazil often find it cheaper to fly to Miami to go shopping for things like home electronics than to buy them locally. Furthermore, it serves as the US' gateway to Latin America, the hub of a great deal of trade between the two continents and with the Caribbean.
  • Vancouver is home to a massive port and ships almost all of the goods passing from Canada to Asia and vice versa. As such, you can buy almost anything if you know where to look.
  • São Paulo for Brazil. High-end luxury brands looking to enter the Brazilian market usually start in the Jardins district.


  • Name a city-state from medieval or early Renassiance Italy and it's probably a Merchant City. Special mention should go to Venice - there is, after all, a Shakespeare play called The Merchant of Venice.
  • The Republic of Ragusa (now part of modern-day Croatia) also deserves an honorable mention. It had trade outposts and colonies throughout the Mediterranean, a lively and sophisticated merchant culture and eventually even outlasted its greatest rival - Venice.
  • Seville's merchants flourished during much of the Age of Exploration once Columbus reached the New World, as that city was given a legal monopoly on all transatlantic trade going into Spain. The loss of the monopoly to Cadiz, a plague in 1649, and the silting up of the Guadalquivir all contributed to its decline by the 18th Century.
  • Paris, back in her early days. That's why the city's coat-of-arms displays a trim merchant ship in silver (representing money by commerce, not through the royal mint.)
  • Amsterdam was and is a commonly used port for trans-Atlantic trade, especially when the Netherlands had overseas colonies.
  • Rotterdam doesn't look like it in city centre, but it has the biggest port of Europe, most of it located outside the city and largely automated.
  • Germany: Lübeck, Hamburg, Danzig and the rest of the Hanseatic League.
  • London specialises in merchant banking these days, but is still a busy port.
  • Liverpool in the heyday of the cotton trade, much less so these days.
  • An upmarket area of Glasgow directly adjacent to the city centre is called actually called the Merchant City. (Commemorating the fact that before it was an industrial center, Glasgow was a commercial center. Let's not dwell too much on the fact that the commerce it specialized in was the transatlantic slave trade.)
  • Novgorod, in Russia, before Ivan the Terrible burned it down.
  • The Grand Bazaar of Istanbul - see the page pic. Both land routes (coming in from the east via Anatolia and west through the Balkans) and sea routes (from the Black Sea to the north and the Mediterranean to the south) converged at Istanbul.


  • China:
    • Hong Kong: Probably the biggest factor in its growth is it sitting right next to China at a time when the latter was closed to Western investment.
    • Guangzhou could be considered Hong Kong's forerunner, as for several centuries that city was the only one where foreign merchants could legally trade in China - many countries and trading companies sent ships there. It began losing its footing in the mid-19th century as Britain and France forced open other ports to trade and the UK basically starting their own in Hong Kong; it wouldn't be until Deng Xiaoping's economic reforms in the 1970s and 80s that Guangzhou would start trying to catch up again.
    • Shanghai: The city historically has had greater commercial impact than the Imperial Chinese government gave it (it wasn't considered an official city until 1927, only considered a county seat for most of its history), but it was one of two major Western-financed centers of banking during the 19th Century until the Communist victory in the Chinese Civil War caused most foreign firms to flee for Hong Kong. The city managed to hold itself in the midst of the dearth of opportunities for growth until it was able to start growing again when China began opening up to foreign investment starting in the 1970s.
  • Japan:
    • Tokyo. Two different flavors, too - the modern, fast-paced, latest fashion stuff led by the huge corporations known the world over can be found in the western and southern parts of the city (especially Ginza, Shinjuku, Harajuku, and Shibuya); and the smaller shop mom-and-pop entrepreneurs to the north and east around the Sumida River (e.g., the long line of small shops leading to the entrance of the temple at Asakusa).
    • Akihabara can be thought of as a mix of these two things - it was a radio and electronic parts mecca after the end of World War II, where shops were small (and often black-market) but one could find parts for nearly anything electronics-related. Then just as the wave for futuristic parts passed, the anime explosion and the emergence of otaku culture starting in the 1980s revived the area, this time as the place where one could get all sorts of anime merchandise.
    • Historically, Osaka was this for Japan, as it wasn't until the Tokugawa shogunate was established in the late 16th Century that the center of power shifted east to the Kanto Plain. Being a port very close to the traditional center of power in Kyoto as well as being on the Inland Sea (so it wasn't as given to being trashed by tsunamis and typhoons), rice shipments (samurai were paid in rice) naturally congregated there and gave the otherwise looked-down-upon merchants (who traditionally were considered the lowest of the four classes in Japanese societynote ) economic power over the samurai by the time of the Meiji Restoration.
    • What Guangzhou had been to China in terms of being the only long-time port that accepted foreign trade ships, Nagasaki was to Japan during the Tokugawa Shogunate under its Sakoku (closed country) policy. Dejima Island was the only place where Westerners (specifically Dutch) merchants were allowed to operate until Commodore Perry persuaded the shogunate to open its ports in 1853 with 8.7-inch guns.
  • Kaesong, a city now located in North Korea, was this during the Goryeo Dynasty, the Dynasty that preceded the Joseon Dynasty that moved it's capital from Kaesong (then called Gaegyeong) to Seoul. The city prospered from trade with the neighboring kingdoms, including Song Dynasty and Heian Japan, and the city's merchants had a reputation for being skilled centuries after the fall of the dynasty. The city was so prosperous that if estimates were correct the city would have a population of half a million (more than the city's current population), which at that time (10th century) was quite a big deal.
  • Singapore. Originally a British Crown Colony that thrived on entrepot trade between the East and West, today it is a cosmopolitan metropolis full of shopping centres and features one of the world's busiest ports.
  • Manila, capital of the Philippines, used to be a prominent one, especially in the days of Spanish colonialism as early as the late 1500s, as the hub where richly laden Mexican galleons docked after the long Pacific voyage from Acapulco, in Mexico. Colonial Manila was in fact something of a bridge between the silver mines in Spanish Latin America on the one hand, and the huge Chinese market on the other. This continued to be the case into the 1800s, when British firms started setting up in Manila and other Philippine cities mainly to capitalise on sugar milling and textile production and shipping. Today, while perhaps not as globally outsized in influence as it used to be, the modern Manila (that's Metro Manila, the entire metropolitan area surrounding and including the City of Manila proper), still holds some of Asia's largest malls, many built or owned by Chinese-born or -descended entrepreneurs—reflecting the Filipino people's incredibly consumerist mindset.
  • The British East India company developed Mumbai (on the western side of the subcontinent) and Kolkata (on the eastern side) as the main ports of entry for their dealings (however defined) in India.
  • Samarkand in what is now Uzbekistan is historically defined by its prosperity thanks to being a major stop on the Silk Road that carried goods between China and the eastern Mediterranean.
  • Dubai. Started out as an oil center, but what made it leap to the top of the global city list was early diversification into other industries like tourism, finance, and aviation.
  • The Old City in Jerusalem, Israel, due to the amount of tourism and pilgrims stopping there for religious purposes, is more or less filled to the brim with merchant shops on roads between churches, synagogues, and mosques.


  • The site of Alexandria in Egypt was recognized by the founder himself as having great potential as a trading center when it was established in 331 BC thanks to its protective (if tricky to navigate, necessitating the construction of the Great Lighthouse to guide ships in) harbor, both nearby fertile fields to feed it and a lagoon to protect it, and location near the Nile Delta (which allowed sea trade from both upriver and the eastern Mediterranean as well as land trade from the Sinai and beyond to the east and along the Saharan routes to the west). The city also became a major center of knowledge as the trading was coupled with an intense effort to copy manuscripts that came along for the ride which was stored at the Great Library. For the next nine centuries it served as the capital of Egypt and was a truly cosmopolitan city which held a large Jewish and Hellenistic population. The Arabs conquering Egypt in 641 AD and established a new capital in Fustat (now Cairo) meant Alexandria lost its preeminence in Egyptian politics and intellectualism but remained a bustling port until Napoleon came knocking in 1798. The British took control of the city three years later and the city saw a major resurgence back to international prominence until nationalist Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser nationalized much of the Egyptian economy in the 1950s, forcing much of the city's Greek population to leave.
  • Port Said owes its existence to the Suez Canal which links the Mediterranean and Red Seas, cutting months out of the travel time for ships travelling between Great Britain and its colonies in India and beyond.
  • Timbuktu during the 12th through 16th Centuries, as a major trading center of gold, ivory, salt, and slaves. In addition, the University of Timbuktu was one of the largest and most innovative centers of education (actually consisting of three schools centered around the Djinguereber Mosque, the Sidi Yahya Mosque, and the Sankore Madrasah), which further encouraged the spread of books along its trade routes.
  • Mogadishu rose to become one of the most prominent merchant centers on the Horn of Africa during the Sultanate era (roughly the 10th through 16th Centuries), being situated on the Indian Ocean and conducting trade along the Arabian Sea - its zenith of prominence is around the 12th to 14th Centuries. The writings of the Moroccan traveler Ibn Battuta, who visited the city in 1331, noted that it was already "an exceedingly large city" that exported many goods like silk to Egypt.
  • Similar to Mogadishu, Mombasa also thrived since the Middle Ages under similar conditions in regards to Indian Ocean trade.
  • Most people outside Southern Africa tend to forget that Pretoria is the state capital of South Africa... simply because its younger sibling, Johannesburg, massively overshadows it both in size and international financial importance. The gold and diamond mines (and the rushes they spawned from in the 19th century) lie behind the whole of Gauteng being the beating heart of the entire greater region's trade links, despite not being anywhere near a coastal port. Rivers, roads, rail, airport and mines for the win. For the biggest traditional sea port, that would be Durban (sorry, Cape Town, but you know it's true). And, Jo'burg could still swallow both whole.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: