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Silk Road Significance in Promoting Cultural Exchanges

Significance of the Silk Road in promoting economic, cultural, intellectual and religious exchanges and integration since the first century BCE

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The Silk Road was the most important trade route since the first century BCE. The Silk Road refers to a trade route that links China, Persia, Central Asia, Western Asia and Europe together. Trade continued on the Silk Road till sea trade route transcended land trade route between the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries AD.

Trade on the Silk Road all started when people from the different countries that were involved in the trade desired commodities that were produced in other countries; as a result of this, a trade partnership was formed along the Silk Road. China most especially was greatly endowed with several luxurious commodities, and this made the Central Asians, Persians and the Roman Empire to crave for most of their goods especially silk, hence the name Silk Road was coined for the Road that the trade of Silk products took place on.

As the group of trade merchants passed through Eurasia in their business voyage to Silk Road, they experienced some political and economic turbulence due to the harsh terrain and climate they passed through. Persia and China were the two most significant trade routes on the Silk Road; Rome was also an important trade center as it directed major parts of Western Asia and it supplied several commodities such as silk. Silk helped in integrating the Afro-Eurasian world commercially.

Various routes on the Silk Road were constructed due to changes in political and environmental situations. The group of traders had to traverse through the craggy mountain ranges of Central Asia. Routes to the Silk Road also passed through countries like Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Iran and Turkey. Commodities were also traded along these routes and the provision of water, horses, camels and food was important for a smooth business transaction on the Silk Road. The various ethnic groups that the travelling caravans came across helped promote trade and communication as there was a rich exchange of language, culture and religion on the Silk Road.

The rich socialites of Europe and Western Asia were ready to pay huge sums of money for products such as silk, bamboo, wood, spices, metals, precious stones and textiles. It could have been really difficult for Persia, China and Rome to have survived without their involvement in the trade of exotic goods on the Silk Road. Palmyra, for instance used the earnings from the trade on the Silk Road to build a huge marble city in the desert.

Though, the economic impact of the trade on the Silk Road was limited, it had huge religious and cultural impact. As the group of traders, artisans and crusaders journeyed through the routes of the Silk Road; they brought specific products, ideas, technologies and practices to their respective countries. China, for instance discovered Buddhism, which was a new religion that was introduced to them by Silk Road travelers from India. Other religions such as Christianity and Zoroastrianism also spread to countries in Central Asia as a result of trade that occurred on the Silk Road. Buddhism deeply influenced the spiritual outlook, cultures and eating practices of the Chinese. The Chinese and Central Asians’ style of architecture and paintings were greatly influenced by the Buddhist culture and this helped promote the integration of the Indian civilization across China and Central Asia.

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The Silk Road represented the most significant trade route since the first century and what aided the success of the Silk Road was the ubiquitous sharing of various cultures and religions, which still lingered on after the trade had vanished from the regions that were involved in the trade. The regions witnessed a change in their political and social structure through the influence of the globalization contacts that took place as a result of trade in the Silk Road.

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StudyCorgi. (2021, November 9). Silk Road Significance in Promoting Cultural Exchanges. Retrieved from https://studycorgi.com/silk-road-significance-in-promoting-cultural-exchanges/

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