The Silk roadway was a network of trade paths connecting China and the Far east with the middle East and Europe. Established when the Han dynasty in China officially opened up trade v the West in 130 B.C., the Silk roadway routes remained in use until 1453 A.D., once the Ottoman realm boycotted trade through China and closed them. Return it’s been nearly 600 years because the Silk Road has been used for worldwide trade, the routes had a lasting influence on commerce, society and the resonates also today.

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Royal road

The Silk road may have actually formally opened up trade between the far East and Europe during the Han Dynasty, which rule China from 206 B.C. To 220 A.D. Han Emperor Wu sent royal envoy Zhang Qian to make contact with societies in central Asia in 138 B.C., and also his reports native his journeys conveyed beneficial information about the people and also lands the lay to the West. But the transport of goods and services along these paths dates earlier even further.

The royal Road, which linked Susa (in contemporary Iran) more than 1,600 mile west come Sardis (near the Mediterranean Sea in modern Turkey), was created by the Persian ruler Darius I during the Achaemenid Empire—some 300 years prior to the opening of the Silk Road.

The Persians additionally expanded the Royal road to include smaller paths that connected Mesopotamia come the Indian subcontinent and also northern Africa via Egypt.

Alexander the Great, leader of the old Greek kingdom that Macedonia, broadened his dominance into Persia via the imperial Road. Components of the thoroughfare were ultimately incorporated right into the Silk Road.

READ MORE: 8 items Traded follow me the Silk Road

Silk roadway

The east-west profession routes in between Greece and also China started to open during the very first and 2nd centuries B.C. The roman Empire and the Kushan empire (which ruled region in what is now northern India) likewise benefitted indigenous the business created through the path along the Silk Road.

Interestingly, the ancient Greek word because that China is “Seres,” which literally way “the floor of silk.”

However, despite this evident link come the name, the ax “Silk Road” wasn’t coined till 1877, when German geographer and also historian Ferdinand von Richthofen first used it to define the profession routes.

Historians now prefer the ax “Silk Routes,” which much more accurately shows the reality that there was an ext than one thoroughfare.

Silk roadway to China

The Silk roadway routes included a large network the strategically situated trading posts, markets and thoroughfares designed to streamline the transport, exchange, distribution and also storage of goods.

Routes prolonged from the Greco-Roman metropolis of Antioch throughout the Syrian Desert via Palmyra come Ctesiphon (the Parthian capital) and Seleucia top top the Tigris River, a Mesopotamian city in contemporary Iraq.

From Seleucia, courses passed eastward end the Zagros mountains to the cities of Ecbatana (Iran) and also Merv (Turkmenistan), indigenous which extr routes traversed to contemporary Afghanistan and eastward right into Mongolia and also China.

Silk roadway routes likewise led come ports ~ above the Persian Gulf, where items were then transported up the Tigris and Euphrates rivers.

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Routes from these cities likewise connected come ports along the Mediterranean Sea, from which products were transport to urban throughout the roman inn Empire and into Europe.

Silk Road economic Belt

Even despite the name “Silk Road” derives native the popularity of Chinese silk among tradesmen in the roman Empire and also elsewhere in Europe, the material was not the only important export indigenous the east to the West.

Trade along the so-called Silk Road financial belt included fruits and vegetables, livestock, grain, leather and hides, tools, spiritual objects, artwork, precious stones and metals and—perhaps much more importantly—language, culture, religious beliefs, philosophy and also science.

Commodities such as paper and gunpowder, both invented by the Chinese throughout the Han Dynasty, had actually obvious and lasting results on society and in the West. They were additionally among the most-traded items in between the East and also West.

Paper was designed in China throughout the third century B.C., and also its use spread via the Silk Road, arriving very first in Samarkand in about 700 A.D., prior to moving come Europe through the then-Islamic port of Sicily and also Spain.

Of course, paper’s come in Europe fostered significant industrial change, through the written word coming to be a key kind of mass communication for the first time. The eventual advance of Gutenberg’s printing press enabled for the mass manufacturing of publications and, later, newspaper, which allowed a broader exchange of news and information.

Silk roadway Spices

In addition, the rich flavors of the eastern quickly came to be popular in the West, and readjusted cuisine across much that Europe.

Similarly, approaches for make glass moved eastward come China from the Islamic world.

The beginnings of dynamite are much less well known, although there are references to fireworks and also firearms in China as beforehand as the 600s. Historians think that shooting powder was certainly exported follow me the Silk road routes to Europe, whereby it was further refined for usage in cannons in England, France and also elsewhere in the 1300s.

The nation-states with accessibility to it had actually obvious benefits in war, and also thus the violin of gunpowder had an enormous affect on the political of Europe.

Eastward expedition

The Silk roadway routes additionally opened up means of passage for explorers seeking to far better understand the society and location of the far East.

Venetian traveler Marco Polo famously supplied the Silk road to take trip from Italy come China, which was then under the manage of the Mongolian Empire, wherein they come in 1275.

Notably, they walk not take trip by boat, yet rather by camel complying with overland routes. They arrived on Xanadu, the lavish summer palace of the Mongolian emperor Kublai Khan.

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In all, the traveler spent 24 year in Asia, working in Kublai Khan’s court, possibly as a taxation collector.