The Silk Road and Sea Trade: The Two Drivers to a Worldwide Expansion of Cross-Cultural Connections
Before there were trains, planes, or automobiles, people had much more elementary ways of traveling long distances to interact with other cultures. There were no paved highways and signs showing where to turn to get to Mecca. Nope, the Mongols had to travel across the terrain that lay ahead of them, as difficult as it might have been, to conquer the Middle East. Also, they had the form of horses as their transportation, which wore out after a while. However, when certain things happened all at once, the way cultures interacted changed forever. When the Silk Road was created as a safe trade route, it allowed cultures all along its stretch to trade with each other with more ease than ever before. The Silk Road essentially promoted the trading along its entirety. The second thing that truly initiated more long distance trade was the invention of the under-the-boat rudder, as it allowed boats to steer themselves and not rely on wind patterns. This allowed boats to travel to unchartered waters, and thus much longer distance trading. However, although both things acted as drivers for trade, a main part of trading is interacting with other people. These personal interactions are what led to the downfall of the prospering times of trade, primarily due to the introduction of two diseases: the bubonic plague and smallpox. Therefore, although connections in the pre-modern world had the issues of disease and conflict, the connections developed exemplify the word trade.
There were many reasons why networking between cultures in the pre-modern era was easy. The main reason was the creation of the largest trading route the Earth has seen, which was also known as the Silk Roads. They are known as the Silk Roads due to the main product that was traded on the routes: Chinese silk. The route stretched from Europe to Asia, thus connecting all empires and societies...
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