An Brief Introduction To The Silk Road

Silk Road was referred to a network of interconnecting overland trade routes that beginning in the Han Dynasty carried goods and ideas from the Chinese capital of Chang’an (modern Xi’an) west to Damascus, Alexandria and Constantinople. Silk and other Chinese luxury goods, such as porcelain, tea, gems, incense and spices were transported by camel caravans westward along the Silk Road. Silk was so valued by the Romans that it was traded on a par with gold- one ounce of gold for one ounce of silk at that times.

The origins of the Silk Road based in Chinese military history. Emperor Wudi (r.141 -87BEC) of the Han Dynasty wanted to forge alliances with kingdoms to the north and west against invading nomadic tribes. In 138 BCE he sent a mission headed by General Zhang Qian, who went as far west as Afghanistan and returned many years later, but without alliances. He did bring back detailed reports of commercially active kingdom in the prosperous Ferghana Valley (modern-day Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekstan and Tajikistan), who were eager to trade Chinese silk for their prized horses.

Only very rarely did a single merchant or camel caravan travel the entire length of the Silk Road from China to the Mediterranean. Traders would travel only parts of it, buy and sell goods, and then return home. The Silk Road was thus controlled by the middlemen operating at the various oasis cities that had grown up along the route. These middlemen then passed on goods to other middlemen farther along the route. Foreign goods and cultural influences were introduced into China; the Chinese were eager for Western glassware, jade, silver, dyes, and particularly a special breed of Central Asian horse known for its strength and stamina.

Source by Vivian Lu