Thursday, April 20, 2006

The Ancient Trade Road : The Silk Road China

During the Tang (618-906 A.D.) and Yuan (1279-1368 A.D.) Dynasties, Changan, the capital of China was a major destination for most Western travelers. Sogdians*, Turks, Persians, Indians, Arabs,
and other peoples of Central Asia and Europe crowded into a section of the city called the Western Market, where they traded and sold their wares at innumerable bazaars.

A large volume of goods traveled along the Silk Road. Successful trading meant high profits for the trader and also for the towns along the Silk Road trade routes. Local townspeople profited from trade by catering to the needs of the passing traders.

Each route had advantages and disadvantages. Some routes were more dangerous; other routes took longer to travel.

Deciding on the routes was very important to the success of the trade expedition. If one section of the route fell prey to bandits or was impassable because of the weather, then the trader would have to alter his plans and would lose valuable time and energy.

Sometimes, traders would exchange their goods for other goods without the use of money. This is called "bartering". For example, a Middle Eastern trader might set out on an eastward trade route with goods he knew were unavailable farther east, such as colored glass or white jade.

He would trade these goods for a profit and then buy other goods, such as silk, that could be sold for a high price in Europe.

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