Connect with us

Maps

Mapping the Spread of Words Along Trade Routes

Published

on

View the full-size version of this infographic

Map of Words along Trade Routes

Mapping the Spread of Words Along Trade Routes

In the early history of international trade, when exotic goods traveled to new regions, their native names sometimes hitchhiked along with them.

Naturally, the Germans have a term – Wanderwörter – for these extraordinary loanwords that journey around the globe, mutating subtly along the way.

Today’s map, produced by Haisam Hussein for Lapham’s Quarterly, charts the flow of Wanderwörter along global trade routes.

Tea

China’s export dominance over tea influenced how people around the world refer to their steeped beverages.

The spread of tea along the Silk Road from Mandarin-speaking Northern China resulted in much of Asia and Africa having similar sounding words for tea. Chá evolved into the chai widely consumed in India and surrounding areas today.

Tea’s other major trade route, through Min-speaking Southern China, spread the pronunciation that became the standard around Europe. This is why we see such striking similarities between thé (French), thee (Dutch), tee (German), (Spanish), and (Italian).

Tomatoes

Sometimes, a word’s journey isn’t completely linear.

In the case of tomatoes, the Italians’ decision to dub the red fruit pomodoro, or golden apple, led to a linguistic fork in the road. This is the reason the English name for tomatoes is still similar to the Aztec term tomatl, but in Russian, pomidor can be traced back to Italian.

Cotton

Many people in North America would be surprised to learn that “cotton” is a direct link to the Arabic word al-qutn.

Coca

When the Spanish brought coca from South America and spread it into the global market, its easy-to-pronounce name tagged along for the entire journey. Though its spelling may differ across cultures, say the word “coca” in many countries and people will likely know what you’re referring to.

A Small World After All

Most of us are vaguely aware that parts of our langauge consist of loanwords from other regions and cultures, but seeing the spread of language in map form is a powerful reminder that the globalization as we know it is a continuation of centuries of commercial and cultural exchange.

Subscribe to Visual Capitalist

Thank you!
Given email address is already subscribed, thank you!
Please provide a valid email address.
Please complete the CAPTCHA.
Oops. Something went wrong. Please try again later.

Comments

Agriculture

Cocoa: A Bittersweet Supply Chain

The cocoa supply chain is a bittersweet one. While chocolate is a beloved sweet treat globally, many cocoa farmers are living a bitter reality.

Published

on

Cocoa: A Bittersweet Supply Chain

From bean to bar, the cocoa supply chain is a bittersweet one. While the end product is something most of us enjoy, this also comes with a human cost.

Based on how much cocoa comes from West Africa, it’s likely that most of the chocolates we eat have a little bit of Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana in them. The $130B chocolate industry relies on cocoa farming for supply of chocolate’s key ingredient. Yet, many cocoa farmers make less than $1/day.

The above graphic maps the major trade flows of cocoa and allows us to dive deeper into its global supply chain.

From Bean to Bar: Stages in the Cocoa Supply Chain

Cocoa beans go through a number of stages before being used in chocolate products.

  1. Harvesting, Fermenting, and Drying
    First, farmers harvest cocoa beans from pods on cacao plants. Next, they are fermented in heaps and covered with banana leaves. Farmers then dry and package the cocoa beans for domestic transportation.
  2. Domestic Transportation, Cleaning, and Exporting
    Domestic transporters carry packaged cocoa beans to either cleaning warehouses or processing factories. Cocoa beans are cleaned and prepared for exports to the chocolate production hubs of the world.
  3. Processing and Chocolate Production
    Processing companies winnow, roast, and grind cocoa beans and then convert them into cocoa liquor, cocoa butter, or cocoa cakes—which are mixed with other ingredients like sugar and milk to produce chocolate products.

Cocoa farming and trade are at the roots of the chocolate industry, and the consistent supply of cocoa plays a critical role in providing us with reasonably-priced chocolate.

So where exactly does all this cocoa come from?

The Key Nations in Cocoa’s Global Supply Chain

Growing cocoa has specific temperature, water, and humidity requirements. As a result, the equatorial regions of Africa, Central and South America, and Asia are optimal for cocoa farming.

These regions host the biggest cocoa exporters by value.

Rank (2019)Exporting CountryValue (US$, millions)
1Côte d’Ivoire 🇨🇮$3,575
2Ghana 🇬🇭
$1,851
3Cameroon 🇨🇲$680
4Ecuador 🇪🇨$657
5Belgium 🇧🇪$526

Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana are responsible for 70% of global cocoa production, and cocoa exports play a huge role in their economies. Although the majority of exporters come from equatorial regions, Belgium stands out in fifth place.

On the other hand, most of the top importers are in Europe—the Netherlands and Germany being the top two.

Rank (2019)Importing CountryValue (US$, millions)
1Netherlands 🇳🇱$2,283
2Germany 🇩🇪$1,182
3U.S. 🇺🇸$931
4Malaysia 🇲🇾$826
5Belgium 🇧🇪$719

In third place, the U.S. primarily sources its cocoa from Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, and Ecuador. Mars, Hershey, Cargill, and Blommer—some of the world’s biggest chocolate manufacturers and processors—are headquartered in the U.S.

Finally, it comes as no surprise that the biggest importers of cocoa beans are among the biggest chocolate exporters.

Rank (2019)CountryValue of Chocolate Exports
(US$, millions)
1Germany 🇩🇪$4,924
2Belgium 🇧🇪$3,143
3Italy 🇮🇹$2,100
4Netherlands 🇳🇱$1,992
5Poland 🇵🇱$1,834

Not only is the Netherlands the biggest importer of beans, but it’s also the biggest processor—grinding 600,000 tons annually—and the fourth largest exporter of chocolate products.

Belgium is another key nation in the supply chain, importing cocoa beans from producing countries and exporting them across Europe. It’s also home to the world’s largest chocolate factory, supporting its annual chocolate exports worth $3.1 billion.

Breaking Down the Cocoa Supply Chain: Who Gets What

Without farmers, both the cocoa and chocolate industries are likely to suffer from shortages, with domino effects on higher overall costs. Yet, they have little ability to influence prices at present.

cocoa supply chain breakdown

Farmers are among the lowest earners from a tonne of sold cocoa—accounting for just 6.6% of the value of the final sale.

Low incomes also translate into numerous other issues associated with cocoa farming.

The Bitter Side of Cocoa Farming

The World Bank has established the threshold for extreme poverty at $1.90/day. Cocoa farmers in Ghana make $1/day, while those in Côte d’Ivoire make around $0.78/day—both significantly below the extreme poverty line.

Farmers are often unable to bear the costs of cocoa farming as a result of low incomes. In turn, they employ children, who miss out on education, are exposed to hazardous working conditions, and get paid little or no wages.

CountryCocoa Farmers Making $1/day or lessChildren in Cocoa Agriculture
Côte d’Ivoire 🇨🇮600,000
891,500
Ghana 🇬🇭800,000708,400

To make matters worse, cocoa farming is primarily responsible for deforestation and illegal farming in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana—adding environmental issues to the mix.

These interconnected problems call for action, so what is being done to fight them?

Combating Cocoa’s Concerns

Mars, Nestlé, and Hershey—some of the world’s biggest chocolate manufacturers—have made several pledges to eradicate child labor in cocoa farming over the last two decades, but haven’t reached their targets.

In addition, organizations such as UTZ Certified, Rainforest Alliance, and Fairtrade are working to increase traceability in the supply chain by selling ‘certified cocoa’, sourced from farms that prohibit child labor.

More recently, Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana announced a fixed premium of US$400/tonne on cocoa futures, aiming to improve farmer livelihoods by creating a union for cocoa, also known colloquially as the “COPEC” for the industry.

While these initiatives have had some positive impacts, more still needs to be done to successfully eradicate large-scale child labor and poverty of those involved in cocoa’s bittersweet supply chain.

Subscribe to Visual Capitalist

Thank you!
Given email address is already subscribed, thank you!
Please provide a valid email address.
Please complete the CAPTCHA.
Oops. Something went wrong. Please try again later.

Continue Reading

Misc

Visualized: The World’s 100 Smallest Countries

From Vatican City to Fiji, take a closer look at the world’s 100 smallest countries and their spheres of influence.

Published

on

The World’s 100 Smallest Countries

National borders may be mere human constructs, but they are powerful ones.

Russia, Canada, the U.S., and so on—it’s easy to focus on the countries with the largest landmasses and seemingly endless borders. Their sheer size makes them hard to ignore, and their natural resources are often vast.

But with the above graphic from TitleMax, we can focus on the power of small.

From economic might to religious influence, many of the smallest countries in the world are surprisingly powerful. Let’s take a closer look at the world’s 100 smallest countries and their spheres of influence.

RankCountrySize (mi²)
1Vatican City0.19
2Monaco0.78
3Nauru8.1
4Tuvalu10
5San Marino24
6Liechtenstein62
7Marshall Islands70
8Saint Kitts and Nevis101
9Maldives120
10Malta122
11Grenada133
12Saint Vincent and the Grenadines150
13Barbados170
14Antigua and Barbuda171
15Seychelles175
16Palau177
17Andorra181
18Saint Lucia238
19Federated States of Micronesia271
20Singapore280
21Tonga288
22Dominica290
23Bahrain300
24Kiribati313
25São Tomé and Príncipe372
26Comoros719
27Mauritius790
28Luxembourg998
29Samoa1,097
30Cape Verde1,557
31Trinidad and Tobago1,980
32Brunei2,226
33Cyprus3,572
34Lebanon4,036
35Jamaica4,244
36The Gambia4,361
37Qatar4,473
38Vanuatu4,706
39Montenegro5,333
40The Bahamas5,383
41imor-Leste5,760
42Eswatini6,704
43Kuwait6,880
44Fiji7,055
45Slovenia7,827
46Israel8,020
47El Salvador8,124
48Belize8,867
49Djibouti9,000
50North Macedonia9,928
51Rwanda10,169
52Haiti10,710
53Burundi10,747
54Equatorial Guinea10,831
55Albania11,100
56Solomon Islands11,157
57Armenia11,484
58Lesotho11,720
59Belgium11,787
60Moldova13,068
61Guinea-Bissau13,948
62Bhutan14,824
63Switzerland15,940
64Netherlands16,160
65Denmark16,639
66Estonia17,462
67Dominican Republic18,792
68Slovakia18,933
69Costa Rica19,700
70Bosnia and Herzegovina19,772
71Croatia21,851
72Togo21,925
73Latvia24,926
74Lithuania25,200
75Sri Lanka25,330
76Georgia26,900
77Ireland27,133
78Sierra Leone27,700
79Panama29,119
80Czech Republic30,450
81United Arab Emirates32,300
82Austria32,383
83Azerbaijan33,400
84Serbia34,116
85Jordan34,495
86Portugal35,560
87Hungary35,918
88South Korea38,690
89Iceland40,000
90Guatemala42,042
91Cuba42,426
92Bulgaria42,858
93Liberia43,000
94Honduras43,433
95Benin44,310
96Eritrea45,400
97Malawi45,747
98North Korea46,540
99Nicaragua50,337
100Greece50,949

Although several of the national borders shown above may be contested, the graphic gives us a clear overview of the globe’s smallest nations.

The Power of Small

Small size doesn’t mean less power. In many cases, it’s the contrary.

The Vatican—the smallest country on Earth at 0.19 square miles—is renowned for its leader and main inhabitant, the Pope. As leader of the Catholic Church, the pontiff and his papal staff make up a sizable part of the country’s tiny population of 825. Most of the Church’s 219 Cardinals, its leading dignitaries, live in their respective dioceses.

With more than 1.2 billion Roman Catholics in the world, the Vatican’s sphere of influence is of course far larger than its small physical size. Although the walls of the Vatican are situated inside the city of Rome, Italy, its centuries-old influence spans continents.

Nearly 40% of Roman Catholics live in the Americas, while the fastest-growing Catholic population can be found in Africa—home to more than 17% of the world’s Catholics.

Purchasing Power

Where the Vatican’s power lies in religion, plenty of spending power is held by the tiny country of Monaco, the second smallest country on Earth.

Situated along the French Riviera, Monaco is surrounded entirely by France—but it also sits fewer than 10 miles from the Italian border.

At 0.78 square miles, Monaco could be compared to the size of a large farm in the U.S. Midwest. Despite its small size, Monaco has a GDP of nearly US$7.2 billion, and boasts over 12,000 millionaires living within one square mile.

Along with Luxembourg and Liechtenstein—both of which are included in the smallest countries list—Monaco is one of the only countries globally with a GDP per capita higher than $100,000.

Switzerland and the Netherlands, both found in this graphic at ranks 63 and 64, also hold large shares of the global economy given their size. These two nations rank 20th and 17th in the world in economic output, respectively.

Similarly, Singapore is the 20th smallest country on the planet, but it ranks in the top 10 in terms of GDP per capita ($65,233) and sits in 34th place globally in terms of nominal GDP.

Perspective is Everything

To give us a better idea of just how small the tiniest countries are, let’s take a look at some simple size comparisons:

  • Monaco could fit inside New York City’s Central Park, with room to spare
  • Brunei is roughly the same size as Delaware
  • Nicaragua, the largest country in Central America, is similar in size to the state of Mississippi
  • Nauru is the smallest island nation, and smaller than Rhode Island
  • North Korea is roughly the size of Pennsylvania

“Small,” of course, is a qualitative factor. It depends on your vantage point.

As of September 2020, there are 195 countries on Earth. Although this graphic shows the smallest countries in the world, it is worth noting that a list of the world’s 100 largest countries would also include some of the same countries on this list, including North Korea, Nicaragua, and Greece.

Is It A Small World Afterall?

Viewed from space, there are no borders on our tiny blue dot. But from ground level, we know how much power national borders hold.

Although globalization may make our world feel smaller, our nations significantly impact our lives, societally and economically.

And, as this chart shows, power comes in all sizes.

Subscribe to Visual Capitalist

Thank you!
Given email address is already subscribed, thank you!
Please provide a valid email address.
Please complete the CAPTCHA.
Oops. Something went wrong. Please try again later.

Continue Reading

Subscribe

Join the 200,000+ subscribers who receive our daily email

Thank you!
Given email address is already subscribed, thank you!
Please provide a valid email address.
Please complete the CAPTCHA.
Oops. Something went wrong. Please try again later.

Popular