The Silk Roads

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Chinese silks broadened the knowledge of people, brought peace among foes and established trade in Eurasia. These silks were traded along the silk roads. The silk road originates from ancient Chinese people and the nomads that surrounded them. There were three major groups that first really started the silk roads. The Han Dynasty of China, the Yuezhi and the Xiongnu. The Yuezhi and the Xiongnu were nomadic groups and the Chinese were a civilized population. The Xiongnu were north of the Chinese and have many raids on the Chinese villagers. The Xiongnu were elite fighters compared to the Chinese mainly because of their battle dress attire and their horses they used. The Chinese used chariots and the Xiongnu used horseback archers. “…King Wuling ordered his soldiers to abandon their Chinese clothes and put on nomad-style narrow-sleeved, knee-length robes and trousers. In addition he made them practice archery from horseback.” (Liu and Shaffer, 23) The Yuezhi, who were allied to the Chinese and foes to the Xiongnu, also had the elite horses, which were called the “blood sweating horses”. So when the Han Dynasty of China found this out they began trading for these horses. In return for the horses, the Chinese would give the Yuezhi food because the Yuezhi could not grow food well. The Yuezhi also had jade, which was highly prized by the Chinese. So the Yuezhi became very rich because they would take silk from the Chinese and offer it to other tribes for more horses in which they could train. So essentially the Yuezhi, as stated by Liu and Shaffer in Connections Across Eurasia, were middle man. This shows us how silk played an important role how it established trade in Eurasia. When the Chinese went to make peace with the Xiongnu, they first offered the Xiongnu some of their beautiful women, hoping that the kids of the Xiongnu and the Chinese wives would bring peace to the land. When this did not work the Chinese offered the Xiongnu silk. Silk was highly...
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