CCTV.com - CNTV English - CCTV News

Historical Overview

07-16-2009 17:09 BJT

The Silk Routes (collectively known as the 'Silk Road') were not only conduits for silk, but also for many other products. They were very important paths for cultural and technological transmission that linked traders, merchants, pilgrims, missionaries, soldiers, nomads and urban dwellers among China, India, Persia and Mediterranean countries for almost 3,000 years.

Extending over 4,000 miles, the routes enabled people to transport trade goods, especially luxuries such as slaves, silk, satins and other fine fabrics, musk, other perfumes, spices and medicines, jewels, glassware and even rhubarb, while simultaneously serving as a conduit for the spread of knowledge, ideas, cultures, and diseases[2] between different parts of the world (China, India, Asia Minor and the Mediterranean). Trade on the Silk Road was a significant factor in the development of the great civilizations of China, India, Egypt, Persia, Arabia, and Rome, and in several respects helped lay the foundations for the modern world. Although the term the Silk Road implies a continuous journey, very few who traveled the route traversed it from end to end. For the most part, goods were transported by a series of agents on varying routes and were traded in the bustling mercantile markets of the oasis towns.

The central Asian sections of the trade routes was expanded around 114 BCE by the Han Dynasty, largely through the missions and explorations of Zhang Qian, but earlier trade routes across the continents already existed. In the late Middle Ages, transcontinental trade over the land routes of the Silk Road declined as sea trade increased.

Though silk was certainly the major trade item from China, many other products were traded, and various technologies, religions and philosophies as well as the bubonic plague (the so-called 'Black Death') also traveled along the Silk Routes.

Editor:Zheng Limin |Source: CCTV.com

Hot Videos view more

The celebrations are still continuing as the victorious coach, Joachim Loew, has been honored for his achievement in his hometown of Freiburg.
Germany coach Loew honored in hometown of Freiburg

Chinese men´s national team continued its preparations for next year´s Asian Cup, as they managed a one-all draw against visitors Jordan during a football friendly in Harbin, the capital city of Northeast China´s Heilongjiang Province.
China held to 1-1 draw by Jordan

The defending world champs came into the contest with a perfect 6-and-oh record, but they would be in for a tough first half before opening things up in the second.
USA beat Slovenia 119-76 in quarter-finals

Hot Stories more

UK authorities believe killer of James Foley is a British national

Across the UK the hunt is on for James Foley’s killer, who authorities believe is a British national. As Richard Bestic reports from London, Prime Minister David Cameron cut short his summer break to lead his government’s response.

Israeli war jets renews Gaza strike as truce talks stalled

Three Palestinians were killed and 40 others wounded in the intensive Israeli war jets´ airstrikes on the Gaza city on Tuesday night, shortly before an end of a 24-hour ceasefire in the Gaza Strip,

Missouri police arrest dozens after violent night

As the protests in the town of Ferguson, Missouri turned violent with police facing ´heavy gunfire´ from some ´criminal elements´, cops fired tear gas, stun grenades and arrested 31 demonstrators on Monday night.

Picture in news more

More Video News

Choose TV Program