The author of the following paper is not an economic historian. As a general modern historian when teaching history under more global perspective, he became increasingly aware of the importance of the intercontinental longdistance trade by his interests in African history and the history of European expansion overseas. When working on a more elementary, but systematic introduction into world history for undergraduate students and high school pupils (‘Geschichte griffbereit.’ 6 vols. Reinbek b. Hamburg 1979/1983), he was struck by the frequent occurrence of long-distance trade in general, of what is here called ‘intercontinental long-distance trade’ in particular: even in the most superficial treatment of many regions, countries, places of historical importance (cities, ports, straits, isthmuses, rivers, isles and peninsulas) longdistance trade played a central role. If examined closely, it emerges that surprisingly much is known about long-distance trade in general. Direct and indirect consequences of the intercontinental long-distance trade are so manifold and complex in many spheres of history — economic, of course, but also political, naval, military history, history of ideas and religions — that it should become useful to make it a major theme of its own.