Silk Roads, Sea Routes, and Columbian Exchanges
silk route is a chain of trade and routes for cultural transmissions that were
fundamental to interactions of culture through Asian continent regions. These
regions connected to the West and East by linking monks, pilgrims, urban
dwellers, merchants, nomads, traders, and soldiers from China to India to
Mediterranean Sea during different periods. The Silk Road derived its name from
Chinese silk’s lucrative trade that was practiced along its length after
extending for 4000 miles. This was during the Han Dynasty after Hellenistic
kingdoms and networks of trade that extended from Mediterranean to the modern
Afghanistan and Tajikistan on China’s boarders. The Han dynasty expanded the trade
roués in 114 BC through explorations and missions of the Chinese imperial
envoy. The Chinese had a great interest in their trade products’ safety, and
they, therefore extended the Great Wall of China to protect the trade route
Road trade played key roles in development and civilization of china, Persia,
Arabia, and Europe, opening long-distance economic and political interactions
among these civilizations. Silk was the main item of trade but other goods such
as gold, tea; spices and jade were also traded. Various religions, syncretic philosophies,
technologies, and diseases, were also acquired on the routes. Silk Road also provides
a means for cultural trade practicing among the civilizations. The main traders
in this trade were Persians, Syrians, Romans, Americans, Greeks, Indians,
Chinese, and Bactria’s. The Sogdians also participated in the trade from the 5th
to the 8th century. Arabs became prominent in the trade during the
coming of age of Islam.
the period of Eastern Han Dynasty, the sea route ran from the mouth of Red
river, through Malacca Straits to Southeast Asia, India and Sri Lanka, then to
the Persian Gulf and the red sea. Silk and other goods were transported overland
from the port of the red sea to the Nile, then to Alexandria. From Alexandria,
the goods were shipped to Rome and other ports along Mediterranean. There was
another segment of the sea routes that led down the coast of east Africa to port
Rhapta, as referred to by the Romans, which was located river Rufiji delta in
modern Tanzania. Silk Road on the sea pulls out from southern china to present
day Brunei, Malacca, Thailand, India, Ceylon, the Philippines, Pakistan, and Iran.
It extends from Israel, Egypt, Lebanon, and Italy in Europe. It extends to
Portugal and Sweden in the Mediterranean Sea (Ceceri, 2011).
goods led to advancement s from Europe to Africa to china and Japan. Long
distance trade supplied people with variety of products and varied diets, which
improved the quality of life. This improvement in the quality of life led to
increased population. Trade also led to the establishment of kingdoms, empires,
and states. There was appearance of empires in South America, Mesoamerica, and West
Africa. The economic systems and states linked to these empires became strong
and complex. This era of trade saw the growth and multiplication of cities and
led to the emergence of Indian Ocean basin as a focus of economic interchange
societies were not connected to a single river, even though there were many
rivers in the new world. Civilization in Americas occurred later than elsewhere
due to separation from Africa, Asia, and Europe. Mesoamerica is divided vertically
into an intermediate temperate zone, tropical lowlands, and cooler highlands. Mesoamerica’s
civilization lacked cultural unity, and different societies rose and fell over
time. The most widely known societies were the Olmec, Toltec, Zapotec, Mexica,
Mixtec, Inka, and Aztec. Civilization of Mesoamerica achieved several
advancements in mathematics, engineering, etc. with respect to urban
population, e.g. the city of Teotihuacan in Mexico valley reached the size of
over 100000 by 100 Ce (Menchaca, 2009).
Mexica’s official language is Spanish, but there are other more than one
hundred American native languages that are spoken. The centre of the social
structure is the family as it provides a sense of stability. The businesses and
societies are vertically structured and they emphasize hierchical
relationships. Rank is important among the Mexicans and there is respect to
authority. Mexicans have a great positive attachment to gifts and they treat
different gifts with different perspectives. For example, marigolds given as
gifts symbolize death and they value flowers as good gifts. They observe different
etiquettes e.g. dinning and business etiquettes. They also believe in decent
dressing e.g. business men should wear dark suits that are conservative. The
Mexican has no official religion. This is as a result of the division of state
and church guaranteed by the constitution (Menchaca, 2009). However, most of
the population is supposedly affiliated with Roman Catholicism.
Columbian exchange refers to the transfer of plants, animals, technology,
culture, human populations, ideas, and diseases between the afro-Eurasian and
American hemispheres in the 15th and 16th centuries. This
contact led to the flow of a variety of livestock and new crops, which
supported population, increase in the hemispheres. Traders brought tomatoes potatoes,
and maize to Europe. The Europeans pioneered peanut and manioc to Asia and
tropical West Africa. Diseases that were brought to the American hemisphere initially
led to population decrease among the indigenous Americans. The Dutch, English
and Portuguese trading empires encouraged the establishment of a global trading
system for flows of globalization, since no single nation is self-sufficient. A
global trading system is also essential in enabling the mobility of factors of
production and to ensure development of global production networks. These
trading empires encouraged development of global trading systems to facilitate
trade and international transportation.
K. (2011). The Silk Road: Explore the world’s most famous trade route.
White River Junction, VT: Nomad Press.
M. (2009). The Mexican outsiders: A community history of marginalization and
discrimination in California. Austin: Univ. of Texas Press.
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