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The Silk Road
Transcript of The Silk Road
Silk was the main luxury good traded, but more than silk was traded, horses, grapes,woolen manufactured goods, camels, gold and silver, glass, exotic fruits, Chinese porcelain,, weapons, dye, ivory, furs, skins. were all traded as well.
The expansion of the eastern end of the route took longer.
Emperor Wudi of the Han dynasty in china was at war with the Xiongnu people, and were interested in making allies.
They looked to the west, finding their way to India and Persia, and brought back artifacts.
This got China interested, making them want to trade with the west.
The road developed first in the middle east.
Middle east was the crossroads of Asia, Europe, Africa and the Mediterranean.
Framework in the middle east was the Persian Royal road, established under the Persian empire. It ran 1775 miles through the empire
Alexander the Great created an empire spreading from Greece to the top of India, establishing trade routes along the way.
The Han Dynasty became very interested in trade
Emperor Wudi dispatched Zhang Qian to explore central Asia.
He came in contact with multiple indo-european groups, as well as establishing contact with western culture.
Because of him, trade began, and he is now known as the father of the silk road.
The Roman empire took control over the Mediterranean region and the middle east.
This created great stability in the region, and trade flourished.
Romans made huge demand for luxury chinese goods
The Romans sent a party led by Maes Titianus to go as far east on the road as possible, they made it as far as Tashkurgan, a city above india.
The silk road peaked with the Byzantine empire, and the Tang dynasty of china.
There was relative peace along the entire route.
The Byzantines smuggled silkworms out of China in 553 BC, taking China's monopoly.
In 1271, Marco polo set out to follow the silk road as far as possible.
His adventure took him 24 years to complete and spanned 15000 miles.
He was one of the first Europeans to make it to china and document everything. is adventure inspired many other explorers such as Christopher Columbus
The Silk Road thrived for 1500 years, and came to an end in the 1400s.
With the decline of the Byzantine and Mongol empires, the road decayed and became unsafe.
Finally the Ottoman Empire stopped all trade on it when they came to power.
More than just goods and money was exchanged on the Silk road, ideas were exchanged as well.
Buddhism spread from India to china along the road.
Islam spread from the Middle east to northern India.
Culture spread along the road as well, with countries getting a appreciation for other country's art.
The Road also had a culture of its own, with many town being created along the route because of it.