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Tea was introduced to Europe in the early 1600's, ___ trade began between Europe and the Far East.

A) when (correct)
B) while
C) how
D) what


I wonder why B can't be used here. Please advise.

LC
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Comments  
while connotes the continuation of an event

The beginning of something is not a period of time
... when trade began ...

Not ... while trade began ...
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Lcchang
Tea was introduced to Europe in the early 1600's, ___ trade began between Europe and the Far East.

A) when (correct)
B) while
C) how
D) what


I wonder why B can't be used here. Please advise.

LC

while is also a conjunction word used in concession clauses, but not in a way the sentence offers.
when implies an action beginning and starting at the same time.

while implies a continuous action.
Inchoateknowledgewhile connotes the continuation of an event

The beginning of something is not a period of time
Exactly.
This is a point in time, which is expressed by "when."
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Tea was introduced to Europe in the early 1600's, when trade began between Europe and the Far East.

Is this sentence a relative clause ?
You might consider it as a relative clause, to characterise the early 1600s, but it's much better to think of it as a time clause, to say when tea was introduced.
When, not while, because the two events are interdependent. Trade began between Europe and trhe Far East and this meant the introduction of tea into Europe. If you say while, they seem simultaneous unconnected events; one could happen without the other.
I believe it’s an adverb clause because it described one of the following: when, how and where.
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