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Establishment Of The Silk Route Essay

1386 words - 6 pages

Currently living in the twenty first century we can take modern travel methods from airplanes, vehicles, trains, and ships for granted, altering our perception of the distance we travel significantly. These advanced distribution systems we now employ allow us to exchange culture, products, technology, and ideas by breaking down barriers, truly globalizing the world. Similar to the modern travel marvels we make the most of today, years ago before human’s relationship to machine, the silk route provided that ability to connect multiple countries. This important trade route developed over time transferring numerous products like silk from China to several countries in the Middle East, ...view middle of the document...

Before this impressive trade route, China was very secluded, isolating itself from other ideas, trade, and culture. Looking for a way to refrain the recurring Mongol assaults on the Chinese settlers, the Han Dynasty looked to support from neighboring countries. In order to spark interest in the opportunity, the precious material they have kept as a private commodity was used to open up trade. As traffic began, silk predominately, but also “furs, ceramics, spices, jade, bronze and lacquer objects and iron” were exported westward while China primarily “imported gold, gems, ivory, glass, perfumes, dyes and textiles.” As this iconic road developed, the defense of the trade routes built up to deter robbers and thieves, as well as increased the protection of the Han Dynasty from external enemies.
Many think of the Silk Road as a single road that traveled exclusively east to west, however that wasn’t the case. “The Silk Road contained three major routes leading westward from Chang'an, with perhaps hundreds of smaller ways and by ways. The northern route ran westward from China to the Black Sea; the central to Persia and the Mediterranean Sea; and the southern to the regions which now include Afghanistan, Iran, and India.” Stretching over 4,000 miles, these routes were placed over deserts and mountain ranges coupled with drastic change in temperatures, little rainfall, and modest natural resources, making the journey extremely difficult. To complete the entire journey would be exceedingly complex, so traders would travel across their region and sell the goods to another ethnic group or nationality across the border. “Thus, going westwards from China, Chinese traders would sell to Central Asians, who would deal with Persians, who connected with Syrians, who did commerce with Greeks and Jews, who supplied the Romans.” This led to an exchange of ideas through word of mouth while allowing people to see, sell, and obtain various possessions from other countries.
Previously mentioned above more than just products were exchanged along the Silk Road but many ideas, technologies, and cultures were transferred along this passageway. In a sense the Silk Road became a “Cultural Bridge” that connected Asia to Europe. For example, Buddhism is one of the three main religions associated with China however; it is not indigenous to the country. It was a foreign import from India that grew rapidly over the years to be in use by over 90% of the population. Secondly, travel allowed the exchange of certain skills like papermaking for instance. Originating in China the process of making paper slowly spread westward as well as other new technologies like gunpowder. Lastly, various beliefs, philosophies, art, and culture made its way all around the world, broadening the horizons of the formerly isolated nations.
The enlargement of the Silk Road had a dramatic impact on the development of cities, especially major intersections of trade. The city...

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