Silk Road

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by fmhs1
Last updated 5 years ago

Discipline:
Social Studies
Subject:
World History
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10

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Silk Road

Participants(China)China was at one end of the silk road which allowed for them to import foreign products from far away lands and put their products out in far away markets. At one point in time China's capital was Xi'an which was a large participant in the silk road trade. Not only was it an economically significant city but it was also physically large. Another Chinese city that participated in the Silk Road trade was Gaochang city. Products that were exported from china were silk, art, porcelain and jade. China often imported gold and silver.Gaochang city was a large participant of Silk Road trade.In Gaochang city, the most commonly traded goods were gold, silver, spices and silk. Taxes were collected by officials. The taxes were paid off by merchants with silver coins originating from the Iranian Sasanian Empire. The city was a huge economic power in China during the early postclassical period when the area was under rule of the Tang Empire. The Mongols also protected the routes once they conquered it. This made trade flourish especially during the Yuan dynasty in China. The Mongolians encouraged interregional trade in China and therefore created a stable economy. The Mongolians were also exposed to new technologies and goods that would transform their culture. The Mongolians helped to increase interregional trade by creating safe routes to travel on and expanding their empire which increased contact between areas. At one point in the Mongolian empire, the Mongols controlled almost the entirety of the Silk Road. During this time, Kublai Khan was the ruler of the Yuan Dynasty over China. During the time of the Yuan dynasty, a nomadic religious section of Christianity known as Nestorians traveled into China. The religion was adopted and spread by the Mongolians through the Silk Road.

TechnologiesSilk: By the time the Premodern era emerged, China no longer had complete monopolies on silk production. The silk making technologies that originated in China spread to Korea and Japan through the Silk Road and were able to have successful silk buissnesses.Astronomy: In China, astronomy was a very important part of society because much like the Aztecs they had certain rituals at certain times throughout the year. China invented their own calender and once had some of the most advanced technologies to predict different aspects of astronomy. Events such as eclipses or comets were often thought to bring misfortune to the dynasty. However, the Chinese stopped focusing their efforts on improve astronomical technologies allowing Europe to surpass them in the feild. A Jesuit missionary named Ferdinand Verbiest was sent to China over the Silk Road to convert people to Christianity. He was also a scientist and a scholar. The chinese had a competition to see who could predict the incoming eclipse more accurately. Verbiest won, and the Chinese put him in charge of the royal observatory, opening China up to Europes technologies. The Jesuits brought news of the telescope, the heliocentric solar sytem and more into China.Paper: Before the invention of paper, the Chinese used strips of wood or bamboo and rolls of silk. But silk was expensive and bamboo was heavy. Paper was efficient and made a good currency. The invention of paper spread to western Byzantine Empires and soon Europe had paper mills. The Chinese invented a very early version of the printing press, but it had many flaws, and was not very efficient. However, the technology spread to Europe through the Silk Road, where Johannes Gutenberg was able to perfect the press. The technology then spread all across the world so every region in Europe, Asia, and later the rest of the world had the printing press technologies. Naval: Different technological advances of ships and naval navigation occured and were able to spread throughout the entire Silk Road. However, this eventually lead to its own decline because sea routes became safer and easier to travel than land routes.

Silk Road

Political InstitutionsOne of the major political institutions that spread across the Silk Road was the university system that originated in China. Through trade and cultural diffusion, Korea and Vietnam both instituted similar forms of education. Another form of political institutions was the guarding of trade routes. This allowed for merchants to safely travel along trade routes without being attacked or robbed. Due to the lack of fear of being attacked merchants were more likely to travel and more merchants were able to successfully make the trade. In the Post-Classical and Pre-Modern eras, the safest time to travel was during the Mongol Empire. The Mongols expanded their empire, and gained control over most of the Silk Road, making the route very safe and well traveled by merchants. The bureaucracy in China spread to other places through the Silk Road. The idea of having a bureaucracy spread to Korea and Vietnam.In terms of political institutions, China spread many ideas to other countries, but barely any institutions came into China. This was due to their highly ethnocentric attitudes towards other cultures. China saw other cultures as inferior. This mindset led them to believe their culture did not need to borrow ideas from other cultures.

Fun Fact:"It takes about 2,500 silkworms to produce one pound of silk, enough for one robe."-Dever Museum of Nature and Science

Works CitedBulliet, Richard W., Pamela K. Crossley, Daniel R. Headrick, Steven W. Hirsch, and Lyman L. Johnson. The Earth And Its Peoples. AP ed. Vol. 5th. Wadsworth: Wadsworth Cengage Learning, 2011. N. pag. Print. "Exchange of Goods and Ideas Along The Silk Roads." Cieducationportal.org. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Nov. 2014. . "Gunpowder." World Eras. Ed. Guangqiu Xu. Vol. 7: Imperial China, 617-1644. Detroit: Gale, 2003. 418-419. World History in Context. Web. 1 Dec. 2014.Hansen, Valerie. "The Impact of the Silk Road Trade on a Local Community: The Turfan Oasis, 500-800 ." Yale. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Nov. 2014. . "Istanbul ." Silk Road Dialogue, Diversity and Development . UNESCO, n.d. Web. 27 Nov. 2014. . Pomeranz, Kenneth. "Caravan Trade." History of World Trade Since 1450. Ed. John J. McCusker. Vol. 1. Detroit: Macmillan Reference USA, 2006. 108-111. World History in Context. Web. 1 Dec. 2014."Silk Road." International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences. Ed. William A. Darity, Jr. 2nd ed. Vol. 7. Detroit: Macmillan Reference USA, 2008. 511-512. World History in Context. Web. 1 Dec. 2014."The Silk Road Bridges East and West." Science and Its Times. Ed. Neil Schlager and Josh Lauer. Vol. 1. Detroit: Gale, 2001. World History in Context. Web. 1 Dec. 2014.

This is a picture of a sculpture of a Chinese merchant on the Silk Road. It was made during the Tang Dynasty

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The Travels of Marco PoloLinked below is the accounts of Marco Polo traveling the world and exploring the Silk Road. He gives description of many ecounters and is often thought of one of the most brave and adventurous travelers.http://books.google.com/books?id=SypYS7GO6UEC'pg=PA3'source=gbs_selected_pages'cad=2#v=onepage'q'f=false

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Participants(Middle East)The Middle East was located in the center of the Silk Road system, and was also involved in the Indian Ocean trade system and Trans-Saharan trade system. This made the Middle East a extremely important area in the world. whoever controlled the Middle east could control trade being exchanged from the west and east. This made the Middle East an area of constant war and change of power. Often armies would take over in order to guarantee trade from the country would be successful. The area was important for cultural blending and was also economically strong. The land gained wealth from trading rare and foreign goods and taxing the trade being conducted. Trade was also boosted because of the support of merchants in the Islamic religion. Because of certain religious laws, trades between merchants were more fair which promoted trade.The Turks did not participate in trade as much as they did utilize it to their advantage. Due to the established routes across Asia and into Europe, the Turks were able to quickly and easily expand their empire. The routes also allowed for military technology to spread to their country which would help them to increase their armies’ powers. After the western empire began to deteriorate, Constantinople became the center of the Roman Empire, which made them the economic base and power of the West. It began to participate on the silk trade with China the same way that Rome had.

Participants(India)The link between China and India allowed for a connection of the Silk Road and Indian Ocean trade systems. With these systems connected more products were exchanged through both systems such as silk from China and spices from India. This link caused a large amount of trade to occur between India and China for many centuries.

Economic Institutions In Gaochang city, China, taxes were imposed on the merchants who were selling goods through the Silk Road. This was a common way of creating revenue for the governments that was instituted all along the Silk Road. The Middle East was able to maintain a large profit off of taxation due to the large amounts of goods traveling through the area. This was due to the key geographical location in between the European and Asian worlds. Often the taxes were paid to the government in the form of silver coinage as shown by the inhabitants of Gaochang city. The Silk Road helped spread the creation of paper currency. With mass amounts of trade occurring throughout the land, the government didn't have enough currency to keep up with the amount of money being made. This made the government institute paper money that had no real monetary value, but acted as a form of federal credit instead. It was also known as “flying money” and was first used in the Tang Dynasty. In Europe, after the Gunpowder Empires took over the Middle East, governments would fund voyages in order to find new routes to trade with Asia, which shows how important the Silk Road was earlier on and how it helped their economy.

Participants(Europe) In Europe, the Silk Road provided a vital connection to the far eastern portions of Asia. This made rare spices and other exotic goods available on the market. When the Silk Road initially developed in the time of Rome, Europe had developed a desire for silk. This made trade rapidly increase between China and Rome and the Silk Road became an often traveled route. Ever since Roman times, Europeans have wanted exotic Asian products and aquired a taste for spices. Eventually Europeans would trade silver that they discovered from the Americas with the Chinese in such a mass amount that China experienced silver inflation. Russia experienced an opposite trend however when the Mongols took control over them and changed their forign policy to one of isolationism. Eventually, once the Gunpowder Empires took over the Middle East, most of Europe was cut off from trade through the Silk Road, whcih forced them to explore sea routes to reach Asia. This shows how profitable trade with Asia was.

Fun Fact:"Travelers often journeyed at night to avoid scorching desert heat"-Denver Museum of Nature and Science

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