The Silk Road

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Long before there were trains, ships and airplanes to transport goods from one place to another, there was the Silk Road. Beginning in the sixth century, this route was formed and thus began the first major trade system. Although the term “Silk Road” would lead one that it was on road, this term actually refers to a number of different routes that covered a vast amount of land and were traveled by many different people. Along with silk, large varieties of goods were traded and traveled along this route both going to and from China. Material goods were not the only thing that passed along this path, but many religions were brought into China via the Silk Road. These topics will be discussed in detail in this paper. From Babylon in the west to Chang’an in the east and from Jada Gate in the north to Patna in the south, the Silk Road stretched over a wide space of the Asian and Middle Eastern countries. There was not one road or one direct route between the many stops between these destinations. The caravans that traveled the Silk Road mainly skirted the Taklimakan desert, also called the “Land of the Dead” by the people in that area. Nomadic tribes traveled from oasis to oasis, often with little or no protection from bandits. These bandits were accustomed to engaging in raids on the merchants that used this route to trade with other countries, attacking and stealing from the merchants and later selling what they acquired in this nefarious manner. It is important to note that while the deserts were a challenge to navigate, the highest mountain ranges also made travel difficult. Many of the people who used this trade route never traveled far, but instead traded goods many times between merchants. It is because of these ... ... middle of paper ... ...hina as well. Along the Silk Road, Buddhism, Christianity, and Manichaeism also migrated towards the east. The Silk Road supported trade of goods and services and the spread of ideas and religions, beginning the shrinking of the world to the relatively small place it has become in our time. Works Cited Wild, Oliver. Department of Earth System Science; University of California Irvine, "The Silk Road." Last modified 1992. Accessed March 31, 2012. Lendering, Jona. LIVIUS Articles on Ancient History, "Silk road." Last modified 03/30/2012. Accessed March 31, 2012. Major, John. Asia Society, "Silk Road: Spreading Ideas and Inovations." Last modified 2012. Accessed March 31, 2012.

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