This chapter discusses the affect of the Silk Road and the exchange networks that occurred between 300 BCE until 1100 CE. The routes were brought up in this chapter, which were the Silk Road, the Indian Ocean, and the trans-Saharan trade route. These routes were used to transport goods, livestock, ideas, and shape new cultures.
The Silk Road connected China to the Middle East across Central Asia and Iran. This route was necessitated by the Chinese demand for western products such as horses and the Western demand for more trade. General Zhang led eighteen expeditions and is credited to have brought back alfalfa, wine grapes, and new crops for the farmers to plant and cultivate. These included pistachios, walnuts, pomegranates, sesame, coriander, spinach, and more. Artisans and physicians also benefited by getting jasmine oil, oak galls, copper oxides, zinc, and precious stones. The West received new fruit such as peaches and apricots and called them Persian or Armenia plums. The West also bought cinnamon, ginger, and other spices that were not found anywhere in the West. Nomads in Central Asia helped the Silk Road stay alive. Pastoral nomads provided animals, animal handlers, and protections to traders. Without these nomads, the Silk Road would have been inconvenient for the traders. The impact of the Silk Road was tremendous. Iranian people settled in cities centered on trade and farmed the surrounding villages. The people began to speak both Turkic languages that were not related to the basic Iranian dialects. Some rich individuals built great big homes with brightly decorated wall paintings. In these paintings, historians have found people wearing Chinese silk, Iranian brocades, and riding on outfitted horses and camels. The painting perfectly describes the diversity and blend of products and culture because of the Silk Road. The Indian Ocean was the second trading route. It was officially called the Indian Ocean Maritime System, which was a trade network...
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