The silk road

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  • A silk road was a different method of trade routs and it helped the two places. The two places were roman and china.
  • Under Han rule, new trade routes allowed the Chinese to trade with other ancient cultures. In this chapter, you will explore the great trade route known as the Silk Road. The Silk Road was actually a network of smaller trade routes. It stretched for more than four thousand miles across Asia from Loyang and the Han capital of Chinana  in China to Mediterranean ports such as Antioch in Syria.
  • The Father of the Silk Road A Chinese explorer named Zhang Qian (jahng chee-ehn) is often called the Father of the Silk Road. His travels opened the way for trade between China and its western neighbors. In 138 B.C.E., a Han emperor sent Zhang Qian west with 100 men. His mission was to persuade western peoples to form an alliance against China's northern enemy, the Huns. Zhang Qian traveled across Central Asia to what is now the country of Iran. Twice, he was taken prisoner by the Huns. Both times, he was able to escape. 
  • Silk as a Trade Good Silk is a fiber used to make cloth. Silk cloth is strong, but also warm, light, and soft. Silk was a valuable good for trade because, at first, only the Chinese people knew how to make it. During the Han dynasty, the Chinese had discovered how to make silk out of the fibers taken from the cocoon of the silkworm. To protect the trade value of silk, the Chinese tried to keep their production process a secret. Under Han rule, revealing the silk-making process was a crime punishable by death. Rome Trades Glassware for Silk When people of other cultures learned about silk, it became a highly prized material. The Romans, in particular, eagerly traded valuable goods for silk.
  • Traveling the Eastern Silk Road From Luoyang, the Silk Road led west along the Gobi Desert to Daung  in northwestern China. This part of the route was protected by the Great Wall to the north. From Dunhuang, travelers could choose either a northern or a southern route across the Taklimakan Desert to Kashgar. Many chose the northern route, where the distances between oases like Loulan and Kucha were shorter. Several dangers faced traders crossing the Taklimakan Desert. Bandits often attacked travelers on the northern route between Dunhuang and Kucha. Throughout the desert, sudden sandstorms sometimes buried travelers in sand. Mirages may have lured travelers off the main path to their deaths.
  • Goods Exchanged Along the Western Silk Road Many goods traveled along the Western Silk Road and eventually ended up in China. Traders from Egypt, Arabia, and Persia brought perfumes, cosmetics, and carpets. Central Asian traders brought metal items and dyes, and sometimes traded slaves. Rome sent a number of products to be exchanged for Chinese silk. The Chinese highly valued Roman glass products. These included trays, vases, necklaces, and small bottles.
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