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Silk Roads and Indian Ocean Trade

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Brianna Ammerman

on 8 October 2013

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Transcript of Silk Roads and Indian Ocean Trade

Brianna Ammerman
ACC Hour 1 The Silk Roads and Indian Ocean Trade Significant Features of the Silk Roads The two main types of exchange used on the Silk Roads were trans-ecological and trans-civilization. Trans-ecological exchanges were how different regions were connected along the Silk Roads while trans-civilization exchange was how the Silk Roads connected civilizations and linked China to Rome. "The very geography of the Silk Roads suggests that trans-ecological exchanges must have been as important as trans-civilizational exchanges" (p. 37). Changes of the Silk Roads Invasions from the steppe from strong governments with even stronger armies led to intensified exchange in the early 1st millennium B.C.E. These powerful armies invaded areas who had goods that they didn't have but wanted badly. The Xiongnu are a good example of this. As a result of these government invasions, they grew larger and larger which facilitated more trade including Chinese silks, livestock, wool and tapestries, and laquerware (a type of glossy finish to put over pottery). Evidence for trade under the Xiongnu can be seen through emperor Wudi's envoy (government representative sent on a diplomatic mission), Zhang Qian. he "was surprised to find, when he reached central Asia, that some Chinese goods were already well known there" (p. 44). Importance of the Silk Roads Significant Features of the Indian Ocean Trade The Indian Ocean Trade is based off of an idea called southernization. This is trade and development in the southern hemisphere and the growing connections they had. By the fifth century C.E., this process was well under way in Southern Asia. "In the eighth century various elements characteristic of southernization began spreading spreading through the lands of the Muslim caliphates" (p. 1) (the kingdom of a spiritual Islam leader). Changes of the Indian Ocean Trade Over time, the Indian Ocean Trade began to expand because traders were constantly trying to find more of a specific good to trade. An example of this would be the Arabs “discovering” a silver mine near Tashkent as well as a “veritable mountain of silver” (pg. 14) in what is present day Afghanistan. After the conquest of North Africa, the Arabs came to realize that gold came across the Sahara. The Arabs began to travel to their destination, thus they “‘pioneered’ or improved an existing long-distance route across the Sahara, an ocean of sand rather than water” (pg. 15). What that means is that the greed of traders resulted in other trade routes emerging, thus the increase in trade among the world. Importance of the Indian Ocean Trade India, China, the Muslims, and the Mongols all contributed to the importance of the Indian Ocean Trade. Silk Roads Indian Ocean Trade The purpose of the Silk Roads was to exchange things, such as technologies, styles, cultures, religions, and disease patterns, among different societies. "Silk Roads consisted of a constantly shifting network of pathways for many different types of exchanges" (p. 34) and was not a single network like many people believe. The Silk Roads were far older and much more extensive than historians had ever thought. They linked Africa, Europe, and Asia in a single world trading system, Afro-Eurasia. "Because of their vital role as links between different regions of the Afro-Eurasian landmass, the Silk Roads occupy a central place in recent writings on world history" (p. 35). The flourish of the Silk Roads not only had brought the precious silk from China to the West, but also established many other trades between goods. Caravans brought a variety of goods which helped to influence war and military. In addition, those who traveled the Silk Roads brought along with them diseases, languages, and genes from their region. Of course, on the top of the exchanges of merchandises, the direct exchange of religions such as Zoroastrianism, Buddhism, and Christianity had gotten the chance to explore their way to other areas. Animals provided power for agriculture, transportation, war, wool, and hides. Because of the exchange of animals, there was in increase in food which led to an increase in the population (mmm food... make babies!). There was also more trade of warm clothes from the wool and hides the animals gave. This was especially important as the Silk Roads expanded to the north because the weather was cold so warm clothing was essential. having animals also helped lead to easier warfare, such as riding horses and using animals as power for transporting weapons. New technologies used in warfare were exchanged over the Silk Roads including compound bows, crossbows, and the use of armor. These innovations led to easier warfare as weapons could harm enemies from a farther distance. Wounds from battles transferred diseases and infections and soldiers traveling to different locations brought along their diseases. Societies began to become more and more insecure as the outside military forces grew stronger from the new technologies spread by the Silk Roads. Animals war/Military The direct exchange of religions such as Zoroastrianism, Buddhism, and Christianity along the Silk Roads led to the sharing of religious ideas. This led to the spread of these religions around the world and the founding of new religions based off of the teachings and ideas of previous religions spread on the Silk Roads. Religions "The material cultures of different parts of Afro-Eurasia shared many goods, including silks, carpets, metals, ceramics, furs, and livestock produce" (p. 48). Because of the sharing and exchanging of these goods, different cultural traditions developed such as what was worn, household items, and artistic stylings. Goods Indo-Eurasian languages "probably spread from somewhere in western Inner Eurasia to Europe, northern India, central Asia, Iran..." (p. 48) around the time of the birth of Christ. Since then, the Turkic languages have spread in the opposite direction and were quite successful. Because of the influences of different languages on the silk roads, these languages continued to spread around the world and new languages were formed based off of others, quite similar to the way religion spread. "People and their genes also traveled extensively along the Silk Roads" (p. 48). This is shown in recent finds of Xinjiang (located northwest of present day China) mummies that are clearly of Europoid (Caucasian or light skinned) origin. People meeting new people and reproduction led to the formation of new ethnicity and a growing population. Languages Genes Afro-Eurasian communities acquired many diseases from their livestock, in part due to their similar uses of livestock. The exchange of immunities for these diseases coincided with the exchange of the diseases themselves. As a result, immunities to many diseases were developed and are still used today. The diseases themselves led to plagues and many deaths in the population which means population loss. Diseases and Immunities "What really happened as a result of the conquests of Wudi at the end of the second century, is that a new branch of the Silk Roads was created" (p. 44). The Han wanted a way to transport their goods, but didn't want to pass through the Xiongnu empire because they feared their power. Because of this, the Han built a new trade route to send their goods west that bypassed the Xiongnu. This route couldn't be built above the Xiongnu because then it would run through Siberia and there was nothing there. Therefore the route went below the Xiongnu. As a result of this newly established trade route, there was an increase in the exchange of goods. The Han traded their Chinese silk for the enemy's gold to weaken them and strengthen themselves. Furs, jade, and stone were also exchanged. The more a person ahd, the more they could show off their wealth. Disruption of traditional routes and larger populations to the north caused trade routes to move and expand to the north. "The most significant shift of this kind has been associated with the spread of agriculture in the lands of what later became Rus' from c. 500 B.C.E." (p. 45). The spread of agriculture and the appearance of large, sedentary populations in northern lands explain the emergence of new, northern branches of the Silk Roads. As a result of civilizations being established in the north, the 'silent trade' began. The tenth century central Asian scholar al-Biruni (b. 973) described it as being “The most distant point, where they [the people of the seventh climate]...[Travelers proceed] on wooden sleighs...which are drawn either by themselves or by dogs...” (pg. 46). This suggests that the 'silent trade' was quite difficult and burdensome. Another result that came from the spread of agriculture and growing populations in the north was the founding of the large city, Moscow. Because stabilized, large populations and a growing food source was now available in the north, permanent and large cities were being established. The Silk Roads passed through or along the edges of arid steppes or desert lands occupied by pastoralists (people who raised and herded livestock, kind of like farmers). "Ecological frontiers of this kind constitute natural zones for exchange because the products and needs on each side are very different" (p. 37). In other words, if one climate on one side of the divide had something that the other climate didn't have or couldn't produce on their own, they would be traded over the borders of the two. Pastoralists facilitated this exchange over the ecological divide. This is how the trans-ecological and trans-civilization networks inter meshed to form the Silk Roads. Mathematics
"The most significant feature of the Indian system was the invention of the zero as a number concept" (p. 7). The concept of zero place value system of writing superior to others and it is now universally used. Because of this contribution, math calculations are now performed more rapidly and accurately. The Indians were the difference between 18-6=12 and XVIII-VI=XII. Cotton
"In the first century C.E. Egypt became an important overseas market for Indian cottons" (p. 2). India produced cotton textiles that were domesticated in the Indus River Valley between 2300 and 1760 B.C.E. As a result, India became wealthy and "according to one textile expert, 'India virtually clothed the world by the mid-eighteenth century" (p. 2). If it wasn't for the Indians, people today would still be wearing wool clothing which originated in Greece and Rome instead of the more breathable and lightweight cotton from India. Rice
The process of southernization in China introduced a new variety of rice. Champa rice was drought resistant and early ripening which extended cultivation. As a result of this new variety of rice, there was more food for the growing populations in China. "Once Champa rice was introduced and rice cultivation spread up the hillsides, the Chinese began systematic terracing" (p. 10) Printing and Gunpowder
"Printing seems to have developed within the walls of Buddhist monasteries between 700 and 750" (p. 10) They developed presses that made for better record keeping and faster recording and copying. Gunpowder was invented in China by Daoist alchemists in the ninth century. Gunpowder was also used as an igniter in flame throwers, flaming arrows, rockets, and bombs. There is also evidence of the first cannon near the Tibetan border. Because of the discovery of gunpowder, its use in warfare increased and led to more efficient weapons. Compass
The Chinese perfected the 'south pointing needle' during the Song era. They also revised earlier prototypes and the new version developed during the Song was particularly well suited for navigation. The compass led to the finding of a direct route to spice markets of Java and navigation was easier and discoveries were more common. Slavery
Muslims imported slaves in order to produce sugar but after slave rebellions, they weren't used as widely. because of the labor from slaves, Muslims developed more efficient irrigation systems and moved cultivation and irrigation westward. Crops
The spread of crops such as cotton, citrus, and fruits was very important to the Indian Ocean Trade. They also began to use a system of multiple cropping which originated in India. This led to an increased interest in soil fertility and more production of local and distant markets. Disease
The Bubonic plague first broke out in China and spread through the northern trade routes along the Eurasian steppe. It traveled along with Mongol messengers who transported goods on the trade routes. The plague eventually reached a Black Sea port and then made its way to the Middle East and Europe infecting many people there. As a result, people all over the Afro-Eurasia area died. Mathematics
The Mongols translated "the works of al-Kharazmi. al-Battani, and other mathematicians" (p. 17) into Latin where they could be understood by Europeans. Nevertheless, Indian numerals and mathematics didn't become popular in Europe until the 13th century. Because of the Mongols translating Indian mathematics, Europeans received a better understanding of math. India China Muslims Mongols "Southernization was the result of developments that took place in many parts of southern Asia, both on the Indian subcontinent and in Southeast Asia" (p. 2). "And one might even go so far to suggest that in Europe and its colonies, the process of southernization laid the foundation to westernization" (p. 2). Without everything that has been brought through southernization and the Indian Ocean Trade, we would not be where we are today and many of the items used daily by humans may not have existed or led us to newer technologies. Long distance trade both on land and in boats made the Indian Ocean trade a dynamic zone between peoples, cultures, and civilizations stretching from Java in the east to Africa in the west. Many new ideas, technologies, and goods were exchangd along the Indian Ocean Trade routes including the compass, crops, mathematics, diseases, bullion, and spices. In addition, Malay sailors played a big part in the changes of the Indian Ocean Trade as it grew and became more developed. These sailors established long distance trade, were the first to start trading cinnamon, found an all water route making trade to the east easier, and developed lug sails which later led to the triangle sail. The Indian Ocean Trade routes experienced changes in power and wealth and the Arabs and Mongols were directly involved in these transformations. Since the Arabs were centrally located, they had the ability to place taxes on goods from China that were traveling east. The wealth of the Arabs quickly grew as the Indian Ocean Trade also grew and was more widely used. Similarly, the Mongols became a powerful group who accumulated many products and ideas traveling across the Indian Ocean trade routes. It is important to remember that the Arabs and Mongols weren't inventors like the Chinese. This is because the Chinese had an isolated location due to their geography so they were required to invent whatever they needed. The Arabs and Mongols didn't need to invent anything because they received all the ideas and goods they needed through being the center of these trade routes.
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