Essay on the History of the Silk Road
Trade has been prevalent in history since the first civilizations. Trade became popular and evolved into elaborate systems that extend long distances. The silk road was a 4,000 mile long trade route that lasted from 130 BCE to 1324 CE. The silk road is responsible for the spread of religion, goods and disease. The silk road was in transit for almost 2,000 years.
During this time many things were traded from Asia to Europe. One of the main religions that spread because of the silk road was Buddhism, as it spread it eventually reached China. Buddhist monks traveled, teaching their religions to people at different trading places on the route from India to Central Asia and China. People began worshiping Buddhist Gods and considered themselves bodhisattvas. Many years after the silk road began, Christianity became apparent from East to Central Asia and further to China.
The silk road helped religious diversity and introduced many religions to civilizations all along Asia to Europe. The silk road’s main purpose was for trading goods, silk was a major good because having silk showed wealth and status. The Chinese exported silk, they were given the name ‘land of silk’ by the Romans. China also exported teas, salt, sugar, porcelain, and spices. Central and East Asia and East Mediterranean exported woolen goods, carpets, curtains, blankets and rugs. China was unaware of these types of goods and were willing to send their silk for these goods. Military equipment, gold and silver, gemstones, glass items and camels were also traded by Central Asia. Other traded products were animal skins, wool, cotton fabrics, gold embroidery, fruits like watermelons, melons and peaches.
All of these were traded and much more, all of these goods were what kept the silk road in transit. Not everything that was traded was always good. Fatal diseases traveled the silk road along with the goods people were introduced to illnesses that they had no immunity to. The silk road was responsible for the spread of smallpox and measles, the impact these disease had on both the Roman Empire and Eurasia lead to political collapse. Although these diseases devastated the population, they helped to grow the religions that were spread. The black death also traveled the silk road and took out more than ⅓ of Europe’s population. Aside from the wreckage these diseases caused, some good came from it. Tenant farmers and urban workers could ask for more pay because their services became in higher demand.
Although at the time of the destruction the diseases took out many people, strength has come out of it. People have created immunity to fight off horrible diseases like these. The silk road is responsible for the spread of religion, goods and disease. The interaction of people from Asia to Europe was very important; the different religions that spread is still used today, silk would be foreign if China did not export it, and the diseases helped build an immunity that people still benefit from today.