Established during the Han Dynasty, the Silk Road was an ancient system of trade circuits that connected China to Rome.
Both empires had something the other wanted. China had tea, silk, and spices while Rome, on the other hand, was rich with gems, silver, and gold.
Apart from the aforementioned goods, historians also believed that gunpowder was also exported along with the routes of the Silk Road.
While there is no scientific proof as to the origin of gunpowder, there have been multiple references to firearms and fireworks in China at the start of 600 B.C.
Aside from goods and services, ideas and culture were also carried by Chinese and Roman traders in the Silk Road.
While the Silk Road may have conventionally started trade between Europe and the Far East during the Han Dynasty, it is widely accepted by most scholars that the transport of services and products along these streets dates back even further.
The Silk Road routes were made up of a sizable network of deliberately located markets, highways, and trading posts that were built to centralize the transport, exchange, distribution, and storage of goods.
Even though it has been more than six centuries since the Silk Road has been used for international trades, the routes had a permanent impact on the country’s history, culture, and commerce that echoes even today.
At present, part of the Silk Road still exists in the form of a pathway that links Xinjiang and Pakistan.
Interesting Facts about the Silk Road
- It was named the Silk Road because one of the most common products that were traded was silk clothing from China. Chinese Silk became popular in Europe for its luxury and softness.
- The Silk Road was route 4000-mile road connecting Ancient Rome and China.
- The Silk Road is also made up of a so-called economic belt. Trade along the economic belt included but were not only limited to precious stones, leather, fruits, vegetables, livestock, and tools. Perhaps the most essential trade negotiations that took place in the area were the trade of culture, religious beliefs, language, science, and philosophy.
- China came from the Ancient Greek word “Seres”. Interestingly enough, Seres meant “land of the Silk”.
- Silk Road got its name from German historian Ferdinand von Richthofen. Von Richthofen used the term to characterize these trade routes.
- It is, however, important to note that most historians prefer the term “Silk Routes” instead of “Silk Roads” citing that it accurately reflects that there was more than one highway.
- Traveling along the Silk Road was believed to be dangerous as it houses poisonous snakes. In fact, some historians say that the bubonic plaque reached China through the Silk Road.
- Most merchants and tradesmen used sizable caravans when traveling on the Silk Road.
What were the three main routes of the Silk Road?
The Silk Road was comprised of three routes specifically the Northern Route, the Central Route, and the Southern Route.
When did trade negotiations ended in the Silk Road?
According to the accounts of several historians, the trade and commerce industry started on Silk Road officially ended on 1453 A.D.
Why did the Silk Road close?
It is believed that the refusal of the Ottoman Empire to trade products and goods with China contributed to the closure of the Silk Road.
How long is the Silk Road?
The Silk Road routes further expanded to the Greco-Roman capital of Antioch and throughout the Syrian Desert and Mesopotamia. Likewise, the road also leads to the ports on the Persian Gulf which was once the center of trade and commerce in Mesopotamia.
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