Governments have always tried to control their international trade. Relatively free flowing trade has been a very recent phenomenon, and not the norm. Early forms of customs, such as it was practiced along the Silk Road across Asia and the Incense Trade along the Indian Ocean and Red Sea, could have more resembled a form of tribute demanded by a ruler in exchange for safe passage or safe harbor. Merchants usually would leave a percentage of their trade goods, which would enrich the sovereign and serve as a reminder to the merchant as to how precarious their position was. In the Early Modern Period (1500–1800), a political-economic theory prevailed referred to as Mercantilism, which sought to maximize exports and minimize imports through erecting tariff barriers against competing nations’ products. In the nineteenth century, however, the philosophy of Free Trade emerged and promised that all nations would benefit from finding their competitive advantage and otherwise enjoying low-cost foodstuffs and goods. The supporters of Free Trade have been locked in a battle with Protectionists (who would raise tariff barriers) from that point to the present. Despite a prevailing trend toward free trade agreements and a general lowering of trade barriers in the late twentieth and early twenty-first Centuries, recent developments have seen a significant resurgence in protectionist tendencies in the West.