Trading Exchanges: c. 600 BCE - 600 CE

Trading Exchanges: c. 600 BCE - 600 CE
AP Concept: 2.3 Emergence of Transregional Networks of Communication and Exchange
Key Concepts
  • Trading networks allowed the exchange of people, religious and cultural beliefs, disease, crops, and animals as well as trade items
The Silk Road
  • Consisted of a network of roads connecting Central Asia with Europe; merchants would travel in stages with their caravans so that no one person made the entire journey
  • Formally began during China's Han dynasty and operated until 1453, when the Ottoman Empire banned trade with the west
  • Facilitated the exchange of belief systems, disease, crops, animals, and luxury goods, such as:
  • Luxury goods:
  • Silk - moved westward from China as a popular luxury good
  • Spices - moved westward from India and China
  • Cotton - westward
  • Ivory - westward
  • Paper - westward
  • Olive oil - eastward from the Mediterranean
  • Bronze - eastward
  • Religion:
  • Buddhism - spread from India to China in the fourth and fifth centuries CE
  • Christianity - when the Roman church outlawed certain sects, they moved eastward
  • Animals, such as horses - highly in demand in China, imported from the west
  • Plants, such as China's cardamom
  • People, such as slaves
  • Trade often contributed to the spread of infectious diseases, such as smallpox, measles, and the bubonic plague. People could rarely combat foreign diseases without immunity or proper medicine
  • Outbreaks could weaken an empire's trade and social structure, and they often contributed to empires turning inward
  • During the second and third centuries CE, the Han and Roman Empires suffered from epidemic diseases
  • Rome's population dropped by 25% in the second century
Movement of People
  • Trade could contribute to the movement of peoples from one region to another
  • Once the banana arrived in Africa, thanks to Indian Ocean trade, around 500 CE, the Bantu people in sub-Saharan Africa began moving to forested regions of Africa, thus relieving the pressure of a growing population

Related Links:
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Expansion of Trade and Exchanges: c. 600 CE - c. 1450