Continuity and Change-over-Time: Silk Road Trade 200 B.C.E.-1450 C.E.

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The Silk Road is a trading route on the continent of Eurasia that stretches from the vast coast of China all the way to Eastern Europe. The trade route was at its greatest use from 200 B.C.E. to 1450 C.E. The society that began the Silk Road was the Han Dynasty in China in approximately 200 B.C.E. The Han Dynasty facilitated trade in the east, while the Roman Empire facilitated trade in the west and in Europe. The two empires traded many goods, as well as cultural aspects of each society’s way of life. From 200 B.C.E. to 1450 C.E., the Silk Road changed in terms of trade, such as what items were traded, and contact with civilizations, such as what societies made use of the Silk Road. Although these changes affected the efficiency of trade and goods, the route of the Silk Road was able to remain the same over time.

Many goods were traded on the Silk Road throughout its history. In its early history, the goods traded on the Silk Road were mainly items made from silk; therefore, it was given the name, the Silk Road. Eventually, goods such as hemp, spices, and slaves began being traded on the Silk Road. Animals were also being traded on the route, animals would be imported from the Swahili Coast of Africa to the Middle East, and they would then be traded along the Silk Road. Later on, expensive goods from China became more in demand by the Europeans. These increases in demand led to larger factories being built in China and an expansion of the Chinese economy. While under the rule of the Ming Dynasty, China began producing and trading white dishes decorated with blue artwork called porcelain. Porcelain is sometimes referred to today as “China”. The goods that were traded along the Silk Road changed over time as trade expanded and different societies either collapsed or grew around the trade route.

Many societies used the Silk Road from 200 B.C.E. to 1450 C.E., in the early years of the trade route; the two major civilizations to use it were the Han Dynasty and...
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