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Beginning around 2nd century BCE, between Parthian empire and Han China Connects northern China with Mesopotamia and cities on the Mediterranean coast,

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Presentation on theme: "Beginning around 2nd century BCE, between Parthian empire and Han China Connects northern China with Mesopotamia and cities on the Mediterranean coast,"— Presentation transcript:



3 Beginning around 2nd century BCE, between Parthian empire and Han China Connects northern China with Mesopotamia and cities on the Mediterranean coast, Rome, and India Relay trade, no direct connections between Rome and China Interaction between pastoral and agricultural peoples -Chinese, Persian, Arab traders use Central Asians nomads and their animals (horses, camels) to carry their goods in caravans -Goods traded sold in markets in the cities of the large empires Trading Cities founded along the route between China and Black Sea (Samarkand, Buchara)

4 Technology involving horse riding and pack animals: -stirrup invented by Kushan 1st cent. CE, travels to Europe (knights) and China -Yokes and saddles to use on Bactrian camels (adapted to dry climate and cold winters) Paper making: Abbasids win battle of Talas against Tang dynasty, capture Chinese paper makers

5 Silk production: first in China, technology adopted by Byzantine empire in 6th century CE, later also Persians, Koreans, Japanese Gunpowder: first developed in China in 8th centurt CE, adopted by Mongols, brought to Middle East and Europe in 13th and 14th century CE

6 Westerner on a Bactrian camel, Tang dynasty

7 Exchange of luxury items between large empires First Flourishing of trade between Roman and Han Empires (2nd century BCE to 2nd century CE) Then again between Tang empire, Abbasids, and Byzantine Empire (7th century CE to 9th century CE) Last flourishing un 13th and 14th centuries with Mongols controlling all the trade routes between China and Europe

8 China: Silk, lacquerware Siberia and Central Asia: furs, walrus tusks, live stock, hides, slaves India: cotton cloth, precious stones, spices Middle East: dyes, lapis lazuli, swords, carpets Mediterranean: Gold coins, glassware, jewelry, olive oil

9 China: ginger, rhubarb India: cotton, sugar cane Middle East: dates, almonds Mediterranean: grapes, apricots Agricultural technology: qanats - First developed in Persia, knowledge of it passed along trade routes, spreads to many parts of the Middle East and Central Asia


11 Nestorian Christianity, Nestorian churches in Chinese capital Chang‘ An Buddhism adopted by Central Asians, spread to China by 2nd and 3rd century CE Iranian peoples replaced by Turkic speaking peoples by 6th century Muslims Arabs arrive in 8th century, bring Islam Islam dominant religion along Silk Road by 10th century

12 Buddhism spread to Central Asia through trade contacts Trading cities in Central Asia – Samarkand, Merv, Dunhuang – convert voluntarily to Buddhism, provided link to wealthy and prestigious Indian culture and society Foreign merchant communities introduce Buddhism to Northern China Buddhist monasteries provide culturally familiar places on a long journey Nomadic rulers of northern China convert to Buddhism in 3 rd century CE Mahayana Buddhism: Buddha as deity, bodhisattvas, emphasis on compassion, less on austerity

13 Mixing of ethnicities and religions: Blue-eyed Central Asian Buddhist monk, with an East- Asian colleague, Tarim Basin, China, 9th-10th century.

14 Smallpox and measles in the Roman and Han Empires (2 nd and 3 rd centuries CE) -devastating population, leading to collapse of empires -Both help the spread of Christianity or Buddhism as they offered compassion in times of extreme suffering

15 Out breaks of Bubonic Plague -Between 534 and 750 CE weakening Constantinople and Byzantine Empire, helping Arab conquest -In 14 th century from China to Europe -Killing about 1/3 of China’s and Europe’s population -Undermined Mongol rule in China

16 Trade routes connect the Hellenistic, Mauryan, and African cities

17 Trade in Indian Ocean since Sumerian times (with Harappa culture) First reports about trade in Indian Ocean in Europe in Greek times (Herodot, 4th century BCE) People from Indonesia travel along Indian Ocean coast to settle Madagascar (bring bananas and yams to Africa)

18 Large distances covered, made possible by monsoon -dhows with lateen sails, grow from 100 tons in 1200 to 400 tons in 1500 -In eastern part junks up to 1500 tons and 12 masts in 1400 -Larger cargo allows trade of bulk goods (timber, grains) -Large ships, compass, and a growing Chinese economy during the Song dynasty lead to a great increase in trade volume since the 10th century CE Navigation: Knowledge of the ocean currents Knowledge of the wend patterns Use of lateen sails and stern post rudders

19 IMPORTANCE: Facilitated sailing across the Indian Ocean!

20 A dhow with a lateen sail


22 Transportation costs lower than overland trade, more bulk goods than on Silk Road -From Arabia: incense, myrrh, carpet, horses, goods from Mediterranean -From India: precious stones, spices (pepper), cotton textiles -From Africa: gold, ivory, slaves -From Indonesia: spices -From China: silk, porcelain

23 Many different cultures involved (African –Swahili, Arab, Indian, Malay, Chinese traders) Network of IMPORTANT trading cities along coast (Sofala, Kilwa, Aden, Calicut, Basra, Malacca, Guangzhou) with merchants from many different nationalities Mariners in the Indian Ocean were a multilingual and multiethnic group of people due to the vast numbers of countries they encountered! Asian, Middle Eastern, Easter African

24 Malay Sailors: -Use outrigger canoes to travel to and settle in Madagascar (originally came from the islands of SE Asia) -Bring Austronesian language to Africa -New food crops: bananas, coconuts Greek and Jewish traders establish communities in Kerala, India -> Christianity, Judaism in India Christianity spread to Ethiopia Buddhism, Hinduism spread to South East Asia

25 Islam: -Friendly attitude towards merchants, common set of laws for everyone who is Muslim -Creation of Arab empire creates immense market and new opportunities for trade -Muslim traders come to India, East Africa, South East Asia, China -Slave trade from Africa stimulated (sugar cane plantations in Mesopotamia) -By 1000 CE majority of merchants Islamic, Islam replaces Hinduism and Buddhism in Indonesia

26 East Africa: -Bantu speaking peoples living along coast traded with Egyptians, Greeks, Romans -Arab traders bring Islam -Leads to syncretic culture: Most trading cities become Muslim, new language Swahili (Bantu-language with many Arabic words, written in Arabic script)

27 Swahili culture: -Dominates East African coast between 1000 and 1500 -About 30 city states (Sofala, Kilwa, Mombasa) -Export of gold, ivory, slaves -Import of luxury items from China, India, Middle East -Islamic, ruling families claim descent from Persia or Arabia -Islam and urban culture separated Swahili city states from African interior -Ibn Batuta praised Muslim learning and mosques -Society: Mercantile elite and commoners -Communities of Arab, Persian, Indian traders

28 Srivijaya on Sumatra -Controls choke points of trade between 670-1000 -Access to the sources of spices (cloves, nutmeg, mace) -Taxes passing ships -Beginnings of a bureaucracy -Adopts Buddhism, rulers claim to have special magic associated with higher prestige of Indian culture -Introduction of literacy -Thousands of Buddhist monks from all over Asia in Srivijaya


30 Sailendra: Buddhist kingdom in Java, agricultural base, builds largest Buddhist temple worldwide (Borobudur) Khmer Kingdom: in Cambodia and Thailand, large capital city with large Buddhist/Hindu temple (Angkor Wat) shows influence of Indian architecture

31 Angkor Watt in Cambodia, built in the 11th century as a Hindu Temple Evidence of the impact for the spread of religion (Hinduism) to SE Asia!


33 Borobudur, Java Evidence of the impact for the spread of religion (Buddhism) to SE Asia! Later Islam will also reach SE Asia


35 Camel allows trade across Sahara Two types of saddles – one for military purposes one for transporting goods (cargo) Caravans with sometimes thousands of animals, follow oases, lead by Berbers and Tuareg Starting in Roman times, declines with decline of Roman empire Regular trade in 8th century with rise of Arab Empire Berbers, Arabs in the North, mostly Bantu speaking peoples in the South

36 Middle East and North Africa: manufactured items, carpets Sahara: salt West African kingdoms: Gold, slaves, forest products (palm oil, nuts) First empire in West Africa Ghana (3rd century CE- 11th century, replaced by Mali (11th century -15th century), then Songhay (15th-17th century) Others: Kanem Bornu, Hausa states Islam became dominant religion, African traditional religions still strong Increase in interregional trade caused significant growth of cities in Afro-Euraisa from 1000 – 1450 CE

37 Spread of Islam in Sub-Saharan Africa (Timbuktu becomes famous for its mosques and Muslim scholars) Spread of literacy Mixing of population (Arab and Berber merchants settle in some African cities) Camels come into wide spread use in West Africa

38 African Kingdoms ann EXPORTS: Gold (export to ME & Europe) Gold Primarily in Ghana & Mali Salt: Saharan Forest Products in W. Africa (rainforests) Slaves in the Sudan Ivory – Sub Sahran Swahili: result of the trade patterns



41 Ibn Battuta on Mali: These people are Muslims, punctilious in observing the hours of prayer, studying books of law, and memorizing the Koran.

42 Ibn Battuta on Turkish women A remarkable thing which I saw in this country was the respect shown to women by the Turks, for they hold a more dignified position than the men. … When she (a turkish princess) reached the amir he rose before her and greeted her and sat her beside him, with the maidens standing round her.

43 Women in Mali: Their men show no signs of jealousy whatever; no one claims descent from his father, but on the contrary from his mother's brother. … their women show no bashfulness before men and do not veil themselves, though they are assiduous in attending the prayers…. One day at Iwalatan I went into the qadi's house, after asking his permission to enter, and found with him a young woman of remarkable beauty. When I saw her I was shocked and turned to go out, but she laughed at me, instead of being overcome by shame, and the qadi said to me "Why are you going out? She is my companion."

44 Checking, credit, banks: -introduced by Muslim merchants -Provided capital needed for long distance trade -Large empire and common system of laws (shari’a) make it easier to trust far away business partners Paper money in China: -Introduced by Song dynasty (10 th century CE) Common currencies: Arabic dinar, coins of Technolocial and scientific concepts between Afro-Eurasia and South Asia (Tang and Song China), make trade easier Decimal system & zero adapted by Arab, then Italian merchants

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