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The Silk Road

The Silk Road

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The Silk Road

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  1. The Silk Road The Silk Road was one of the reasons the Han dynasty prospered with a network of smaller trade routes that stretched more than four thousand miles. The Roman empire dominated the Mediterranean, but the silk road connected both powerful empires and linked the people of the east and the west for over a thousand years.

  2. The father of the Silk Road • The expansion of the Han empire made the Silk road possible by opening up trade routes. • A Chinese explorer named Zhang Qian is often called the father of the Silk Road. • Zhang Qian was sent to make an alliance with the Huns, which was never successful. He did however learn about crops such as grapes, a more powerful horse for combat, and established trade relationships. Zhang Qian father of Silk Road

  3. Silk as a trade good • Silk was a valuable trade good because it was a cloth that was strong, warm, light, and soft. • It was valuable because at the time only the Chinese knew how to make it. • Under Han rule revealing the silk making process was punishable by death.

  4. Rome trades glassware for silk • When people of other culture learned about silk, it was a highly prized material. • The roman wanted silk and it was considered luxury item. • The Roman traded glassware and gold something the Chinese really wanted.

  5. The Eastern Silk Road • The Silk road was not one continuous route, but a series of shorter trade routes so the goods could change many time before reaching the final destination. • From Luoyang , the silk road led west along the Gobi Desert to Dunhuang in Northwestern China. Travelers rode a Camel on the eastern silk road. • From Dunhuang travelers choose either a northern or southern route across the Takliman desert to Kashgar. • Travelers faced many problems such as bandits often attacking sandstorms, and lack of water.

  6. Goods exchanged along the eastern silk road • Silk was the perfect trading good, because it was light and valuable. Goods had to be easily carried so that merchants could transport more goods on fewer animals. • Besides silk, the Chinese also traded fine dishware, ornaments, jewelry, cast iron products, and decorative boxes. • The Chinese received a variety of trades for their goods such as horses, jade, furs, gold, cotton, spices, pearls, and ivory.

  7. The Western Silk Road • Kashgar was the central trading point and they traveled Westward. Instead of carrying goods by camel they carried goods by Yak. • The Western Silk road went through mountains, deserts, and then finally reached the Mediterranean ports. • The dangers of the Western Silk road were treacherous Mountains know as “Trail of bones.” In the Syrian Desert traders were threatened by tigers, lions, and scorpions.

  8. Goods excahnged along the western silk road • Rome sent a number of products to be exchanged for Chinese silk such as vases, trays, small bottles, asbestos, and gold. • Tiberius the emperor of Rome passed a law where it was illegal to wear silk. • It was believed that Tiberius though it would make the Romans look soft and weak, but many believed it was because of the shortage of gold.

  9. Cultural Exchanges and the Silk Road • The trade between east and west created cultural diffusion. • By 500 B.C.E. the West and east had learned to make new products from each other such as glass and silk. • With the sharing of cultures such as India, Buddhism spread throughout china and other surrounding civilizations. • Food were also brought throughout the silk road. China imported new food such as grapes, figs, pomegranates, and walnuts. The West imported oranges, peaches, pears, and different flowers such as chrysanthemums.