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The silk road
Transcript of The silk road
http://www.silkroadproject.org/tabid/177/defaul.aspx - The Silk Road Project, Inc
http://www.historyofinformation.com/expanded.php?era=700 - Jeremy & Co, Inc
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China was the country who started the silk road and is where the name comes from. China produced many things for trade, including: silk, spices, ivory, porcelain, bronze ornaments, perfume, paper and gunpowder. In return they got horses, glassware, grape seeds, animals like lions and woolen goods, They especially interested in the wool as it was so different and they were unfamiliar with flax processing, weaving and carpet manufacture.
India was participating with trading by providing; spices, semi-precious stones, ivory, Gtragandhas (a type of medicine), fabrics, incense, glass beads, sandalwood, boddhi trees and dyes for people on the Silk Road to purchase. They were mostly interested in silk and were captivated by it's appearance, it was so different from the other fabrics that they had produced in India. Besides keeping silk for themselves it was, as well as other Chinese resources, valuable to trade with people from the west.
The Romans, traded various goods including: gold, silver, gems and other luxury items like glass and sea silk, which was made of a Mediterranean shell-fish. Even with their own type of silk they still highly valued the silk of the Chinese. It became a craze because of how soft is was and the way it looked when you wore it. Silk was also a luxury item so if you had some you wouldn't have very much but you would be looked upon as wealthy.
Why was it important?
The silk Road and what the Silk Road represented, was an important route for many travelers of all sorts. Many leaders, artists and everyday people trek along it and it let other countries obtain things they'd only heard of from great explorers. People who lived no where near China could still wear their exotic silk and drink Asian tea because these goods had traveled from China on the Silk Road or other similar routes to Europe. It bonded and brought together countries by starting a relationship of trade. Not only were goods exchanged but ideas, religions like Buddhism were brought to China from India along the iconic road. Buddhism is now the second biggest actual religion in China. Religions like Islam and Christianity also were now heard of and practiced in Asia after coming from different parts of the world. Inventions like paper, gunpowder, umbrellas and many ideas like these have changed our lives in various aspects. It also affected our health as diseases like the Black Death, which began in Asia and through the Silk Road was brought to Europe, helping them spread this disease were rats. To sum it up the world would a much different place if the Silk Road didn't exist, so it was important that people from Asia, Europe and Africa to exchange their ideas and resources.
Persia, which in early ACE was an empire is now countries like; Iran, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan and Pakistan. They offered gold, silver, dates, sesame seeds, saffron powder, carpets and pistachio nuts. What they got back was; silk, jewels, aromas, opium and spices. These were what they were most interested in. They were one of the middle men in the great silk road, so the Romans might have bought silk through them, making silk very attractive to the Persians as they could raise the price and be profitable.
The Silk Road never exactly ended or closed like a store but it's use declined over the years. There was less need for things such as silk because formulas to produce silk or seeds from plants had been given out so countries were more self-sufficient. After disease swept the continents, trade froze and merchants became rare and more aware of the dangers of selling on the silk road. When the Silk Road became mainly about sea travel the Japanese, in 1939, captured China's seaports and built another road that ran along side part of the Silk Road. This slowed down all of China's exporting and importing. So due to country development and military reasons the Silk Road's use was almost non-existent compared to what it used to be.
How did people travel along the Silk Road?
A popular form of transport throughout the history of the Silk Road were Camels. Camels were perfect animals to use for these sort of trips because they could carry a lot of weight like heavy metals, didn't need much water or food and withstand extreme heat or cold. Other animals used for transport were horses, oxen who would pull carts and donkeys. Horses began to be used around 100 BCE and continued but were still not as useful as camels. In early ACE and onward boats became popular as they carried large amounts of cargo that could be fragile such as ceramics and generally were a lot faster than riding on animals or walking on land. Boats were also an attractive option especially in the beginning because there were no bandits that would steal their goods and take you as prisoner. Having a boat would also allow you to exclude more middlemen by not having to move the products city to city but instead the whole way, making you become richer.
Development of the Silk Road
In the Han Dynasty a traveling market emerged, which stretched from North China to the South and West surrounding ares in 200 BCE. One hundred years later it expanded to Central Asia. It grew even further West over to Rome in early ACE (about 50 ACE to 100 ACE) because the Chinese originally went to Rome to give their government gifts of silk. As early as first century ACE the road continued to Southern Asia (India along with other countries), a couple decades later seaports were built that went all the way to Egypt. Trade with India was a much quicker transaction and using boats made the trip to Rome a lot faster. Third century ACE routes in the Middle-East developed and spread as Chinese connections became stronger with the middlemen.
The Silk Road
Silk Road Route