The most extensive of the land-based trade routes in the world during c. 600 BCE – c. 600 CE. It was named after its highly valued silk, which China could only make for centuries. The exchange of grains and fabrics acrossed Eurasia due to this trading route changed farming techniques and allowed crops to grow in new regions (ex.qanat system: form of irrigation that developed). Merchants and missionaries from S. Asia introduced Buddhism along these trade routes which had lasting effects on E. and Southeast Asia. The Black Death was able to reach widely because of these trading routes as it crossed Afro-Eurasia along these routes. These routes ran roughly east to west.
Sahara Caravan Routes
Commerce across North Africa. Merchants who ventured into it exchanged commodities like dates, cotton, dyes, cloth, leather goods, and glass supplied from coastal cities on the Mediterranean and carried out gold, salt, ivory, animal hides, and slaves connecting into the Silk Road network. These routes introduced the camel.
North-South Eurasian Routes
Directly connected trade routes to the Silk Roads that ran north and south, and linked Central Asia to South and Southwest Asia. Along these routes merchants carried cotton, spices, and rice from S. Asia, Southeast Asia, and horses and textiles (cloth) to and from Central Asia. These routes also connected to the edges of the Baltic Sea in Europe, involving Russia and the Black Sea trade connections.Contstantinople was a key center that linked these routes together.
Indian Ocean Trading Network
Was the largest sea trading area in the world until Europeans began crossing the Atlantic in the late 1400s. It connected Southeast Asia and China to Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia. It was a major conveyor of Buddhism from S. Asia into East and Southeast Asia, and in the next era c. 600-c. 1450, Muslim merchants and missionaries spread their faith across the Indian Ocean into the same regions. Its trade depended on ocean currents and wind. People interacted via the Indian Ocean trade routes: E. Asians, S. Asians, E. African Swahilis, Arabs from Southwest Asia, Malays from Southeast Asia, Turks, Greeks, and Russians participated. It traded the same items traded in the Silk Roads and other Eurasian land routes.
Mediterranean Trading Areas
Beginning with the Egyptians and Phoenicians, and continued by the Greeks, Romans and Byzantines, this network of trade was vast and long-lasting. Olives, pottery, glass, woodwork, leather, and wool textiles were exchanged across all parts of these areas. Out of Africa, merchants traded gold, ivory, salt, copper and slaves. Christianity was carried into eastern and western Europe by boats that carried cargo and people across the Mediterranean.
Black Sea Trading Areas
With Asia on its eastern shore and Europe on its western coastline, it was another important trading area before, during, and after the Classical Era. Contstantinople was one of its and the world’s great points of exchange. Through these areas, merchants carried goods from the Silk Roads, the Mediterranean, and Russia.
Afro-Eurasian Trading Cities
(c.600 CE- 1450 CE) These consisted of Djenne, also known as Jenne, Timbuktu, and Gao in West Africa; Byzantium and Novgorod in Europe; Baghdad in Southwest Asia; Samarkand and Bukhara in Central Asia; and Dunhuang and Chang’an in East Asia.
First developed in China for centuries, and traded as the most desired commodity along the Silk Roads, it remained a highly prized luxury commodity throughout Afro-Eurasia.
Growth of Trade
During 600 CE – 1450 CE trade grew by numerous factors. Some of the most important was how governments did not interfere in trade, (seen in the Indian Ocean region most prominently); money was minted and printed by governments to facilitate trade; canals were built to access trade regions easier (Grand Canal Project-China-581-1368, Suez Canal, Panama Canal); and other empires connected to trade.
Trade with Vietnam led to a new quicker-ripening rice that became a permanent part of the Chinese diet and spurred its population growth.
Three Field System
System that consisted of rotating varieties of crops in a field to increase crop yield since the soil’s nutrients were less depleted. Developed in Europe as a result of exchanges with Muslims in North Africa and Southwest Asia.