The Silk Route


China is credited with being where silk was originally found around 7000 years ago. The Chinese people kept the methods a well-guarded secret and instead focused their efforts on exporting silk fabric to far-off regions. They travelled on foot, horses, and camels, and the path they took eventually became known as the silk road. The Roman Empire could be reached by land by travelling via Iran and the rest of West Asia. The wealthy citizens of the Roman Empire were drawn to the silk fabric because of its lustrous sheen and its velvety smoothness.

Silk was very expensive because it had to be transported by merchants via difficult routes, including mountains and deserts. They were making their way through the area while paying their respects.

Images Coming soon

Origin of the Silk Route

The establishment of a commercial network along the Silk Route around 2,000 years ago had a major effect on the known world and is seen as a crucial step towards the globalization of the globe today. This influence may be attributed to the Silk Route's spirit of exchange. It is impossible to identify exactly where the Silk Route first emerged as a distinct entity.

It is well knowledge that China engaged in commercial interactions with western nations throughout the Han Dynasty, which lasted from 206 BC to 220 AD and controlled China from 206 BC to 220 AD. Zhang Qian, an imperial ambassador, was sent by the Han emperor Wu to make contact with the civilization of Central Asia, most likely to gather friends in the face of challenges at home.

The papers that Zhang brought back from his trips were useful information and spoke of the potential advantages that enhanced connections may have for China, both in terms of trade and as an educational experience. In the year 130 BC, this assisted in officially creating a commerce network.

Images Coming soon

These trade routes allowed for the mixing and blending of many civilizations throughout the subsequent 1400 years and permitted the extensive movement of products. Roughly speaking, this was developed when the Chinese Han Dynasty interacted and built partnerships with the nomadic tribes of central Asia. These interactions included trade and political alliances. With their assistance, halting trade stations were established, and these posts eventually became essential stopping sites for travellers negotiating the difficult terrain, especially in the area around the Bactrian desert.

Rulers Who Exercised Authority Along the Silk Routes

Around 2000 B.C., the kings and wealthy people of Central Asia, West Asia, and the Roman Empire began to choose wearing silk fabric as their preferred article of clothing. Silk was a fabric that was highly prized throughout the majority of nations, which contributed to the fame of the silk route.

Some monarchs wanted to take advantage of the taxes, tributes and presents carried by the silk merchants, so they attempted to gain control of major segments of the route. In exchange, however, the monarchs would often safeguard the merchants from being robbed by bandits. The Chinese kings, the Kushanas, the Persian rulers, and the Roman emperors had authority over a portion of the routes at various times.

Around two thousand years ago, the Kushana people held sway over most Central Asia and North-West India. Peshawar served as their primary capital, while Mathura served as their secondary capital. During their reign, a section of the Silk Road reached from Central Asia down to the seaports at the mouth of the river Indus. From there, silk was transported across the Indian Ocean to the western regions of the Roman Empire.

Additionally, silk was transported across the ocean from China. In addition to the islands located in the southeastern part of Asia, continuing to South India, Baruch, the Red Sea, the Mediterranean Sea, and finally, the Roman Empire.

Global Transformation Brought by the Silk Route

Ideas, whether philosophical or scientific, and approaches to art, science, and societal organization, are bound to be exchanged and disseminated whenever and wherever two distinct cultures interact with one another through commercial means. This is an unavoidable consequence of the interaction between cultures. Ideas tend to spread in places where commerce is prevalent. The exchange of religious ideas is one of the most important breakthroughs made possible due to the mixing of different civilizations.

Buddhism arrived in China during the second and third centuries AD due to the first extensive and persistent missionary effort to disseminate the religion. In East Asia, Buddhist monks translated writings into Chinese, and the religion eventually merged with Daoism, replacing earlier forms of ancestor worship along the way. As they moved through the cities along the silk road, the missionaries increased their money and strengthened their influence in governmental affairs.

The monasteries provided merchants with a convenient and pleasant place to rest during their travels. In this manner, the mutually beneficial connection between merchants and monks expanded commerce along the Silk Road and ingrained Buddhism into the culture of many of these cities.


Along the pathways, other religious traditions than Buddhism also spread. But the dissemination of these beliefs also paved the way for the dispersion of Jewish, Muslim, and Christian communities across the area, where each of these communities established enclaves. The growing interconnection of the world's population has had several unintended consequences, one of which is the facilitation of the transmission of illness. There is mounting evidence that the commerce along the Silk Road was directly responsible for the spread of illnesses such as anthrax and leprosy.

The most notable instance of this is the Black Death, which occurred in 1346 and was responsible for the deaths of as much as one-half of all Europeans. As diseased rodents made their way unobserved through the caravans travelling over the Silk Road, it is thought that the bubonic plague might have originated at the waystations located in central Asia along the Silk Road.


Q1. Define Silk route.

Ans. China is credited with being where silk was originally found around 7000 years ago. The Chinese people kept the methods a well-guarded secret and instead focused their efforts on exporting silk fabric to far-off regions. They travelled on foot, horses, and camels, and the path they took eventually became known as the silk road.

Q2. What was the land route of the Silk Route?

Ans. The land route was through Iran, and West Asia, to the Roman Empire.

Q3. Describe the origin of the Silk Route.

Ans. The Silk Route trade network's creation 2000 years ago had a huge influence on the known world and is viewed as a step towards globalisation. The Silk Route's origin is unclear. The Han Dynasty (206 BC-220 AD) traded with the west. Wu, emperor of Han, ordered Zhang Qian to Central Asia to enlist allies against domestic challenges. Zhang's tour reports included vital information on how better ties may boost China's business and learning. In 130 BC, this formalised a commerce network.

Q4. How the Silk Route changed the world?

Ans. Wherever two different cultures trade with each other, ideas are shared and spread, whether they are about philosophy, science, or different ways of looking at art, science, or running a society. Where trade went, ideas went, too. One of the most important things that have happened because of this mixing of cultures is that religious ideas have spread.

Q5. What was the bad side of Silk Routes?

Ans. Diseases spread more easily due to globalisation. Anthrax and leprosy have been linked to the Silk Road trade. The 1346 Black Death destroyed half of Europe's population. Infected rats may have spread the bubonic plague in central Asian Silk Road waystations.

Updated on: 13-Oct-2022


Kickstart Your Career

Get certified by completing the course

Get Started