Sincethe history of mankind, there has been an existence of trade routesidentified ad maintained sustain the business aspect of the world.Despite the recent developments in terms of transport andcommunication, the existence of trade routes has continued. One ofthe key aspects of these routes is the connection between twos ormore countries sharing a common idea, goods or services if trade. Oneof the ancient roads that were key to the development and tradereactions between the east and west through the Mediterranean is theSilk Road (Liu,2010).
TheSilk Road or route is a name that is used to refer to one of theancient routes that connected the Asian world and the Mediterraneantogether with the Mediterranean. The Silk Road is known as theworld’s oldest and important trade route (Liu,2010). This paper will focus on the silk road/route, analyzing theroute’s naming, and why it was named silk road, what type of goodswere traded, as well as who participated in the trade along theroute/road. Finally, the paper will analyze the impact of the road toboth the western and eastern regions.
Map1.1,Map showing the main silk rood, the connecting routes, and other keytrade Routes (Tharoor,2015)
Why was the Silk Road, given its name, where did it go?
Ina nutshell, the silk road, also known to some as silk route, is anetwork of cultural and trade routes which were the key to theinterconnection between the Asian continent and the western world. Itwas not one road, but rather a network of routes that connectedbetween the countries that were found in the east to the ones in thewestern region, and the Mediterranean. The name Silk Road was givento the route because the Chinese community who were key part of thetrading communities traded silk along the route (Liu,2010).
Silkwas a precious commodity which was only produced in china. Due to itsincreased demand for other parts of the globe, the invention of theroute was inevitable and in turn named after the main product thatwas traded through it. In summary, despite the route comprising ofother traded goods, silk made up a large chunk of the trade along theroute/road. It was in turn named ‘the silk road’ with the namingof it’s credited to German geographer Ferdinand Richthofen. Thename came from the fame,and popularity of the silk from china with the western regionsespecially Rome
Products, Ideas, And Goods Traded Along The Route
Theinvention of the silk route was to serve as the supply route for thesilk products from China to other parts of the globe. Silk is one ofthe key products that led to the existence of the Silk Road and itsnetworks. Silk was a commodity in high demand by the Middle East, andEurope and in turn the reason why it was the main product (Liu,2010).
Othergoods traded along the route included gold, silver, spices, and tea,ivory, glass and gems which were taken mostly to China. In returnchina offered other goods such as bronze, fur, porcelain, and ofcourse silk. In addition to goods, some of the ideas and religionpassed through the coveted route includes Buddhism, Christianity andthe Islamic religion as well as art knowledge. Animals were alsotraded as Chinese obtained horses from the west (Liu,2010).
Accordingto Liu,(2010), other goods entailed fabrics, artifacts, Skins, cottonslaves, and cattle. Due to the road harsh condition, goods thatmainly graced the route entailed the non-perishable goods, and hencethe route was favored for durable goods. In summary, apart from theprimary silk, which served as the key product that sustained theroute, it’s true that other products graced the traditional,historical silk route.
The Traders Who Operated In The Silk Route
Thesilk route comprised of many traders as well as many renowned peopleplayed key roles in the trade along the historical route. The tradersincluded the Chinese, Romans, Europeans, Indians. In addition,merchants, pilgrims of different faiths. There were also soldiers whofrequently moved from place to pace along the route. Finally, therewas also an involvement of dominant groups in different regions. Forexample, the Han Chinese community in Xian, the Sogdians, inSamarkand, the Arabs found in Bagdad, as well as Uyghur in Turfanamong many other communities who were participants in the tradealong the silk route. Other participants included the monks (Liu,2010).
Effects Of The Silk Route Trade To Both The East And The West Regions Of The Trade
Thesilk route trade resulted to tremendous effect to both the East andthe western regions. Each of the participating groups in the tradehad varying impacts of the silk trade route. One of the generalimpacts of the silk route trade is that, it’s credited as thesource basis of civilization of the affected regions (Liu,2010). In addition, the value of the Silk Road was also felt in theexchange of culture, art, technology, religion, philosophy,architectures well inner details that pertained to civilization.
Tothe eastern community, or the china, the road provided a steadymarket for their growing silk production. This improved their standsof living through the gains obtained from the sale of silk in thewestern regions. In addition, it helped those obtained many of thegoods they couldn’t produce in their regions. The silk tradeimproved the communication and out of china as it linked the Asianregions to the FertileCrescent in southwestern Asia, which, in turn, was a catalyst toimproving the aspect of trading (Liu,2010).
TheSilk Road was a also a benefit to the western countries/region, oneof the essential positive effects of the silk road is that, itenabled them to obtain one of the highly regarded material, the silk.Moreover, it increased their trade power, through interaction withother nations, which led to the adoption of the civilization processthrough adoption of ideas, technology among other key aspects. Inaddition, the route offered market for their produce such as gold,and cotton etc. However, despite the positive impacts of the road,the road was also known for increased insecurity along the routes, asrobbers invaded the traders and their caravan, at some point, thisresulted to war between the different trading partners.
Sinceits establishment, through the numerous dynasties, it touched such asthe Tang Dynasty, to its slow demise, the Silk Road played a key adunique role toward the aspect of foreign trade as well as thepolitical relations between the affected nations. The impacts of theroad stretched beyond Asia and Europe into other regions, ascivilization was experienced from both sides of the trade, andcontinents.
It’sclear that, the rod was a major link between the western and theeastern regions as well as the Middle East regions. It’s in turnregarded as the basis of international relations. Despite its useending many years back, due to improved infrastructure andcivilization, the impact of the route is equally evident in themodern times. Both regions benefited from the silk trade. In themodern times, theSilk Road continues to tell numerous stories with reference to howancient times were as well as the issue of cultural exchange.
LiuXinru, (2010). TheSilk Road in World History (New Oxford World History). Oxforduniversity press.
Tharoor,S. (2015). China`s Silk Road Revival-and the Fears It Stirs-AreDeeply Rooted in the Country`s History. NPQ:New Perspectives Quarterly, 32(1),18-21.