The ancient Silk Road in China is not just an ordinary route or road. It has a great significance to history because of its contributions that affected not only China but the whole Asia itself and as well as the western world. This road was basically intended for some economic activities that involve trading and exchanging of goods. But later, there was a more complex outcome.
What is a Silk Road?
It is an ancient strategic channel that is composed of different interlinking trade routes starting from China going to different places such as Central Asia, West Africa, Africa, Europe, and west Asia. Actually, it started in China during the Han Dynasty for the Chinese to trade their Silk to the neighboring countries. Then time came that several extensions were made for improvement.
The Results of Trading of Goods
The economic activity in the ancient Silk Road serves as a foundation of the whole outcome which is actually more significant than trading. The exchange of goods also means that there was an exchange of information, culture, belief, ideas, technologies, and resources. And the following are the few examples of things which are being exchanged:
- Paper Making
- Gun Powder
- Civil Service
- Architectural Designs
- Calendar System
- Raising of Silk Worms
- Medical Science
These are only very few among the many things which were exchanged. Buddhism originated in India, but with the ancient Silk Road, it became the religion of the majority in China up to now. The paper making that was practiced by some Chinese were brought to Central Asia. Gun power from China was brought to several countries as well as in different European countries. That’s why European warriors have invented a better weapon such as bombs in which Chinese were became victims also in the end. One example was during the Opium war when Great Britain attacked China with bombs then Chinese surrendered Hongkong as their peace offering. Chinese were helpless that time because their weapons were no match compare to the big canyons of Britain. (Question: how about their own gun power?) Another interesting thing is the compass invention of the Chinese. This technology paved the way of COLONIALISM when explorers were using this during their exploration for a more accurate direction. But, Chinese did not succeed in their own explorations. But European nations such as Spain Great Britain, France and Portugal invaded a lot of colonies from different parts of the world.
Marco Polo: The Silk Road Traveler and Explorer
Among the travelers of the ancient Silk Road, Marco Polo is the most significant. This man
belongs to a merchant family in Venice, France. Because of trading, his father and uncle reached China and shared a lot of stories to the young Marco Polo. Thus, with all his curiosity, Marco Polo traveled the Silk Road to reach China. During that time, Kublai Khan was the emperor of the Yuan Dynasty. And because of the wit of Marco Polo, he became an official in the high courts of China. He then quickly learned to speak Chinese and Mongolian. Actually, he liked the customs and the traditions in China. He was very observant to everything that happened in there. Thus, his service reached for seventeen years. After that, he went back home by sailing and brought different stories about China. His stories triggered more curiosity to the people of Venice. And because of that there was a book with a title: The Travels of Marco Polo which became very famous in the entire Europe. And because of this, thousands of westerners have traveled to China.
This story only shows how History could be formed by just a simple book of Marco Polo’s travel. His descriptions of the wealth and the beautiful culture of China and other eastern countries of Asia had triggered a lot of emotions, dreams, and longings of the western people. Thus, in the end, many western countries invaded or colonized some countries in Asia with a thought that they could get a lot of gold, spices, and other wealth.
Thus, there’s a great significance of the ancient Silk Road of China. At first, you might not be interested of this road. But once you will dig deeper about this, you will understand that it is very significant not only for China but also to the entire world. Take note that with this kind of route, the Western and the Oriental culture have emerged. So, if you want to make your own travel, why not take a tour to the Ancient Silk Road of China and that would be very interesting.