From 200 B.C.E. and 1450 C.E., the Silk Road Changed

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CCOT Essay

From 200 B.C.E. and 1450 C.E., the Silk Road changed, while at the same time holding on to its original purpose. The trade of spices and goods, to and from, Asia and Europe remained constant, while the materials being traded slowly changed. The political boundaries as well as the national identities of the countries in the Silk Road also were altered. While the basic purpose of the Silk Road remained mostly unchanged, the goods traded on it, and the areas it went through, did. While the Silk Road originally began on a scale as small as a simple route of transport for Eurasian merchants, it later grew into an international necessity, not only economically, but culturally as well. Once exposed to Asian spices, fabrics, etc., Europeans became more and more “addicted” to their new luxuries. This, in addition to Europe having the same effect on Asia, gradually shaped both cultures. Because of the abundant political changes that took place during this time period, the route travelled by Silk Road merchants passed through new nations formed at the collapse of the Roman Empire. This, in turn, shaped the identities of additional nations/cultures along the Silk Road. Despite changes in materials, the original purpose of the Silk Road remained strong throughout this time period. Asian merchandise was traded with European merchants along the road and vice versa. Asia’s economy, China specifically, remained heavily reliant on the money from Silk Road trade, regardless of the origin or type of goods. Comparably, Europe’s economic status remained fueled by Asian trades. Overall, the Silk Road’s basic purpose remained intact from 200 B.C.E. to 1450 C.E., but the specific patterns of interactions that occurred along it did not. Empires fell, new nations were formed, and that brought myriad changes to Silk Road cultures and the interactions between those that traveled on it.
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