The Silk Roads

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The Silk Road was brought about around 200 B.C.E as a trading route from Western Rome to the Han Dynasty. Innumerable diverse patterns of interaction have taken place since then, coming to a halt around 1450 C.E. These changes and continuities generally revolved around products, cultural expression, and religion. The products traded along the Silk Road played a crucial role in the patterns of interaction; the focus of the Silk Road. Ferghana war horses were the first products to be traded on the Silk Road. The leader of an expedition, Zhang Qian, brought these back with him and Central Asia struck up a trade with the Han. Central Asia received Chinese goods such as silk, jade, and other luxury goods in return. A myriad of new groups were drawn to this remunerative trade throughout the next four centuries. Asia, Europe, and India plunged into trade with one another and their goods included camels, horses, silver, gold, cotton, and spices. When Western Rome and the Han dynasty collapsed, trade ebbed to a dull roar however, but trade was restored in the 7th century when the Tang Empire rose and the trade routes were protected again. Paper, porcelain, and the stirrup appeared and these influenced both China and Europe, especially the stirrup. It gave way to knighthood and chivalry in the two continents. China was in decline under the Song dynasty by the 10th century and lost control over much of the trade route but with the arrival of the Mongol conquests around 1200 C.E., the merchants could be protected again and trade thrived. Mongols later took gunpowder from China and this is traded on the Silk Road. The Mongols controlled a lot of territory, and consequently the Silk Road flourished. A continuity through the whole of the Silk R... ... middle of paper ... ...o Southern China in the 14th and 15th centuries. Islam was essentially spread through merchants and the sword, while Christianity and Buddhism were spread by missionaries. In conclusion, many changes and continuities have occurred along the Silk Road but the main three are: products, cultural expressions, and religion. These patterns of interaction have shaped the Silk Road and the plethora of countries that have traded through it. Most of these interactions were positive, but not all. For example, the bubonic plague, or Black Death, was helped spread through the Silk Road as well as the fall of the Mongol Empire and the isolationism of the Ming Empire. The bubonic plague was one of several reasons for the Silk Road’s demise. The Silk Road was one of several early trade systems and each pattern of interaction has influenced it, paving the road for the world today.

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