World History – Trade Routes

World History – Trade Routes

Silk Road – Where they travelled
Wound across arid interior of central Asia

Profits from the trade made cities along the caravan route wealthiest and most sophisticated in the world

Silk Road – goods and ideas (types of item)
Luxury items – silk, cloth, gold, precious stones

Paper money used to trade

called “silk” road because of amount of silk that flowed westward across it from China

Silk Road – major chronologies – COT
Volume of products began to be too large for caravans to handle

Maritime travel increased in popularity

Silk Road – Major belief system spread
– Buddhism spread along the silk road from India to China
– Invasion of Arabs of the West and collapse of Tang Dynasty led to rise of Islam
– Islam spread along silk road
Silk Road – Ways people traveled
“Pax Mongolica” allowed peaceful trade along the trade route

Traveled by cart (horses, oxen)


Silk Road – using environmental knowledge and technology to flourish
can travel by land or water, but water is more dangerous for merchandise

the existence of substantial oases across Central Asia allowed this to be possible

The Silk Roads helped spread technology for producing raw silk from China across Eurasia.

Indian Ocean – Where they travelled
– Across the Indian Ocean
– India, Africa, Asia, China, Spice Islands
– Natural division of maritime traffic into three zones: one on South Pacific, one in Western Indian Ocean, one in Eastern Indian Ocean
Indian Ocean – goods and ideas (types of item)
Luxuries and Bulk items because ships could carry more than carts
China: silk, tea, porcelain
East Africa: gold
Arabia: perfume, myhrr
India: precious stone, spices, cotton
Southeast Asia: cloves, nutmeg, rice
Crops: bananas, sugar cane, yams, coconuts, wheat
Indian Ocean – Major belief system spread
spread of Islam via Muslim Diaspora
Indian Ocean – Ways people traveled
dhows (triangular lateen sails)
via monsoon winds
Indian Ocean – using environmental knowledge and technology to flourish
Monsoon winds
Lateen sail
Mediterranean – Where they travelled
Phoenician merchants
Around the Mediterranean Sea
Mediterranean – goods and ideas (types of item)
Specialization of products was the basis for trade.
food, raw materials, and luxuries

Greece: olive oil, wine
Lebanon: cedar wood, timber
Egypt: gold, silver, linens/textiles, leather, dried food, slaves
Russia: slaves
Other: grain, fish, honey, wax, amber

Mediterranean played a huge part in the outbreak and spread of the plague across Europe. It was spread by Italian merchants who fled infested sea ports on the Black Sea.

Mediterranean – major chronologies – COT
– in 643 Muslim Arabs captured Alexandria, most important port in eastern Mediterranean
– following this three things occur:
1. Mediterranean becomes war zone between Christians of Southern Europe and Muslims of Eastern Africa

2. trade continued, but more weakly, with fate of Europe’s economy and warfare on the Mediterranean

3. European Merchants felt blocked from the Indian Ocean world, which was controlled by the Muslims who they were often unable to do trade with

– Some merchants began seeking alternate routes to the Indian Ocean

Mediterranean – Major belief system spread
– Southern and Southeastern Mediterranean a “Muslim Lake”
– Northeast, however, was still Greek Orthodox
– Northwest = Roman Catholic
– in 643 Muslim Arabs captured Alexandria, most important port in eastern Mediterranean
Mediterranean – Ways people traveled
Mediterranean – using environmental knowledge and technology to flourish
ship-building technology

Phoenician bireme – 80-foot long battleship
with two levels of rowers

Trans-Saharan – Where they travelled
Travelled across the Sahara Desert (in West Africa)

Three major empires arose near Timbuktu where sahel met sahara: Ghana, Mali, Songhay (kept trade routes open and secure – amassed profit from control)

Trans-Saharan – goods and ideas (types of item)
North: gold, slaves, cloth, ivory, ebony, pepper, kola nuts

South: salt, dates, horses, brass, copper, glassware, beads, leather, textiles, food

Mostly luxuries since had to use caravans, and could not carry bulk goods

GOLD – central attraction

Trans-Saharan – Major belief system spread
Although the Ghanaian king and court did not convert to Islam, they made elaborate arrangements to accommodate Muslim traders and government servants in a separate settlement a few miles from Khumbi’s royal preserve. Muslim traders were prominent at court, literate Muslims administered the government, and Muslim legists advised the ruler.

After Ghana, in which Islam was just beginning to pop up, African rulers began to adopt Islam while ruling over populations with diverse faiths and cultures.

Many of these rulers blended Islam with traditional and local practices. Over time, the population began to adopt Islam.

Arabs became more involved in trade & supported people converting to the Islam faith

Mansa Musa (r. 1312-1337): Islamic icon, Golden Age King

Trans-Saharan – Ways people traveled
camel caravans – stopped at oases for nourishment
Trans-Saharan – using environmental knowledge and technology to flourish
Domestication of camels allowed for long-distance trade

Oases opened up trade across desert

Arab Diaspora
– Dominated Indian Ocean Trade networks
– carried religion along with goods
– Islam encouraged trade (hajj created connections)
– Lateen sails
– Islam became primary religion in Indonesia, and attracted 10s of millions of Chinese followers
Jewish Diaspora
– religious diaspora that linked Europe and China
– Cairo, Egypt was a large trade community that housed significant Jewish population
– When Portugese explorer Vasco Da Gama reached Calicut in 1498, Jew able to serve as translator
Mongols – where they were from
Area around the silk road
Mongols – Chinggis Khan
– Mission was to unify Mongols once again
– conquered surrounding tribes and united
– infamous for brutality
– “women are spoils of warfare”
– established Mongol dynasty
– after his death, Khan’s 4 sons continued the expansion relentlessly
Growth of Mongol Empire
– Chinggis Khan united tribes / areas through brutality and warfare
– “Pax Mongloica” allowed peace along silk road
End of Mongol Empire
– Mongols could not govern the entire empire by horseback
– split into 4 sub-empires, and eventually 4 seperate empires
– absorbed by the people they had conquered
– Tartars emerged from intermarriage
Malay Sailors
– Sailors in South China Sea / Indian Ocean
– junks
– learned pattern of monsoon winds to sail with
– made regular 3000-mile trips across Indian Ocean
– established as primary Madagascar population
– Established trade routes from East Africa to China
China – International Trade (Indian Ocean)
– with the Indian Ocean
– by 1500 most economically advanced region in the world
– Zheng He- Muslim explorer who led 7 expeditions of trade
– terminated by Ming Dynasty for several reasons: wanted more defendable borders against Mongols and other groups, coastal trade enabled by Grand Canal,
China – Internal Trade
– politically unified nation
– technologically advanced nation
– wealth based on agriculture technology and conditions
– excellent textile making
– trade monetized (copper, and eventually paper)
– luxury goods (silk, tea, china) continued to attract foreign merchants
– state practice for foreign merchants: quarters set aside, apply own laws to issues, shops/schools cater to foreign interests, farewell feasts
Spread of Disease
“Pax Mongolica” allowed disease to spread along Silk Road (bubonic plague)
followed Mongols from central Asia to China (kills 1/2 population
plague-infested rats traveled to Europe on ships, killing 1/3 of population