Silk Road History

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Throughout history, people from all over the globe have engaged in trading in order to attain desired goods. Trading helped early civilizations establish both economic and political relationships that would prove all-important for the future. However, trading was not all about the exchange of physical goods and materials; trading also facilitated the spreading of ideas, philosophies, and even culture. The Silk Road is a prime example of trading that involved more than just silk, as its name may suggest. The Silk road was an ancient network of trade routes that spanned from China to the Mediterranean and also branched off into different regions of Eurasia. All of the trading done through this system played a tremendous role in developing cities …show more content…
Silk was a highly valued product that was discovered by the Chinese who reserved its usage for the imperial court. The process of silk production was kept a secret in China, but it still became one of China’s chief exports during the Han Dynasty because there was a high demand for it. As silk was being traded extensively, it was introduced to the Roman Empire during the 1st century BC and this is when its popularity skyrocketed. Silk was beginning to be seen as an exotic luxury and eventually, the Silk Road helped for this in-demand good to be transported all over Eurasia. Although silk was a largely traded good along the trading routes, there were many other things that were being exchanged: textiles, spices, plants, animal hides, grains, tools, religious objects, art work, precious stones, and much more. The Silk Road’s objective was met by traveling merchants in caravans who used horses and camels to transport their loads of goods across the dry, humid deserts of Asia. There were also maritime routes that moved goods through the Indian Ocean to Africa, India, and the near East. Although the Silk Road was not created for this purpose, the vast network of trading routes also allowed for the exchange of different religions, philosophies, and cultures. There were many travelers who ventured onto the Silk Roads, primarily interested in the …show more content…
Countless cities saw prosperity and stability because of the trading that was never possible before the Silk Route was established. Empires were able to grow and expand both economically and physically with the obtainment of valuable goods. Relations between China and Rome and empires further west were further improving, showing how the Silk Road positively influenced the political affairs of the regions involved (Ancient History Encyclopedia). It has been said that “perhaps the most lasting legacy of the Silk Roads has been their role in bringing cultures and peoples in contact with each other, and facilitating exchange between them”. Trading caused merchants to learn the customs and languages of the countries that the travelled through, so that they can be successful in their negotiations. The sharing of knowledge was a key outcome of the trading routes; “Knowledge about science, arts and literature, as well as crafts and technologies was shared across the Silk Roads, and in this way, languages, religions and cultures developed and influenced each other” (SILK ROAD Dialogue, Diversity & Development). Through the spreading of ideas and beliefs, cultures were shifted and people began to become more educated about all the differences and similarities that they shared with people near and

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