Wednesday, May 08, 2013

The ancient Silk Road and China

Silk Road and China by trudeau
Silk Road and China, a photo by trudeau on Flickr.

Slaves, perfumes, spices, medicines, jewels, glassware: the Silk Routes (collectively known as the "Silk Road") were important paths for cultural, commercial, and technological exchange between traders, merchants, pilgrims, missionaries, soldiers, nomads and urban dwellers from Ancient China, Ancient India, Ancient Tibet, Persian Empire and Mediterranean countries for almost 3,000 years.[5]

It gets its name from the lucrative Chinese silk trade, which began during the Han Dynasty (206 BC – 220 CE), says Wikipedia.

Extending 4,000 miles, the routes enabled people to transport slaves and luxuries such as silk, satin, hemp and other fine fabrics, musk, other perfumes, spices, medicines, jewels, glassware and even rhubarb, as well as serving as a conduit for the spread of knowledge, ideas, cultures, zoological specimens and some non indigenous disease conditions[6] between Ancient China, Ancient India (Indus valley, now Pakistan), Asia Minor and the Mediterranean.

Trade on the Silk Road was a significant factor in the development of the great civilizations of China, India, Egypt, Persia, Arabia, and Rome, and in several respects helped lay the foundations for the modern world. Although the term the Silk Road implies a continuous journey, very few who traveled the route traversed it from end to end.

For the most part, goods were transported by a series of agents on varying routes and were traded in the bustling markets of the oasis towns.[6]