Ccot: the Silk Road

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Ursula Choi Mr. Zimmerman Change and Continuity Over Time: Silk Road Research Paper

Between 1 and 1450 CE, the Silk Road, which was made during Han China, was one of the most useful trade networks that greatly impacted and connected regions of Eastern Asia to the Mediterranean in the West. It did not just introduce ideas, but spread diseases, such as Measles and the Plague, as well. Although the changes of the Silk Road do not meet the number of the continuities, it did contribute to the change of religion, health, and technology of many societies, while its purpose and traded products to boost the economy remained the same throughout time. Silk was one of the most important products traded in the Silk Road network. Silk quickly became popular in Europe after it was first encountered at a military campaign against the Parthians. People in Europe found silk to be attractive and were desperate to obtain it. They found a trade route to the East and used it to obtain silk from the Chinese. Hence the name, “Silk Road”, the trade of silk remained constant through time between the East and West. Silk also contributed to social status in many societies. Silk was expensive; therefore, many peasants could not afford it. It became a fashion statement, where people who had silk, were wealthy. It was similar to the way foot binding was in China; small feet were a sign of wealth. The impact of silk trade was that it connected Europe with Asia and that it made the economy of many regions, especially China, prosperous.

The Silk Road was not always a safe trading network. After the fall of the Tang Dynasty, the Silk Road declined and the Silk Road fell into the hands of Islamic control. Asia’s nomads were divided into tribes that were not necessarily friendly to each other and usually pillaged each other. The were 2 routes on the Silk Road; one was the steppe route, where nomads were common, making it unsafe and the other route was in the desert, that was still very much dangerous, but many merchants preferred to travel on. China was not as strong as it used to be and couldn’t take over other territories where the Silk Road went through nor protect the caravans traveling though the routes. The Silk Road was revived during the Mongol conquest in the 1300’s where the Mongols united Asia and its nomads. The Mongols promoted and ensured safe conditions for traveling and trading on the Silk Road. Trading between the Mediterranean and Asia flourished and this allowed more cultural diffusion among the trading. The Silk Road was an ancient trade route between Persia and China. Between these two societies, they would trade many things, such as gems, livestock, and gun powder. Gun powder had a very big impact on Western Europe. The Arabs experimented with the gun powder and used it as a weapon against Europeans when they invaded Arabia in the 11th century, which made Europeans curious about the secret weapon they were using. Then after the Crusades, when trade flourished, the Europeans obtained gun powder from trade on the Silk Road. The gun powder took away the need of chivalry and replaced it with cannons and guns. The Silk Road helped gunpowder get to the Europeans and this ended the era of nomadic herders due to the technological advancements of settled societies.

The Silk Road was created during Han China, when agriculture, commerce, and population flourished. The Silk Road always had the same purpose throughout history. Its purpose was to exchange commodities or luxury goods easier between Eastern and Western worlds. This purpose maintained the same throughout time due to the developing interest of items the East and the West have never had, such as silk and paper. The impact of the Silk Road is huge on both the East and West. While trading increases, so does the cultural diffusion rate. Cultural diffusion on the Silk Road remained stable. Marco...
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