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Unit 2

2.0 Overview of Unit 2: Networks of Exchange

2 min readjune 19, 2020

Katie Moore

The one thing you need to know about this unit:
Networks of Exchange connected the world together.
New Trade Routes = More Trade = Mass Production of goods = More people = More interactions = spread of beliefs, politics, ideas and technology.

Contextualizing the Unit 

Before 1200, trade networks were largely local, usually between civilizations bordering each other. However, with more technological inventions allowing merchants to travel farther more efficiently, and the growing demand for goods in growing empires, trade routes began to rapidly expand. 
As the routes (such as the Silk Roads) began to spread, they carried new goods and ideas with them, such as Buddhism and the development of diasporic communities where merchants settled down in different states other than their own. Knowledge began to travel faster than ever before. 


Main Events

1095-1492: Crusades
1258 CE: Mongols sack Baghdad (end of the Abbasid Caliphate)
1271 – 1295 CE: Marco Polo’s Travels
1279: Peak of Mongol and Pax Mongolica on the Silk Roads
1299-1921: Ottoman Empire
1324 CE: Mansa Musa’s pilgrimage
1325 – 1349 CE: Ibn Battuta’s Travels
1347 – 1348 CE: Bubonic Plague in Europe
1405 – 1433 CE: Zheng He’s voyages

Major Trends Between 1200-1450

  • More Trade → Trade of Commercial Tech 
    • Examples of commercial technologies include: Astrolabe, compass and caravanserai
  • New Commercial Tech → Commercial Growth
    • State practices and highly developed commercial infrastructure led to commercial growth
      • State Practices: Grand Canals, Hanseatic League & Inca Road System
      • Commercial Infrastructure: Grand Canal
  • Expansion of empires through trade
    • Empires that expanded: Mongols, Islamic Empire, Byzantium Empire and Imperial China
  • Migration of people → Cross Exchange of cultures
    • Migration: Bantu, Polynesian & Turk and Arab Migration
    • Exchange of religions, military ideas, diseases, animals, farming techniques, food, etc.
🎥 Watch: Unit 2 Review - Networks of Exchange
Here's a map of the Major Trade Routes to keep in mind throughout this unit!


Image credit: apworldpedia.com


Silk Road Samarkand Kashgar Banking Houses
Caravanserai Champa Rice Battle of Talas Bubonic Plague
Sodigans Pax Mongolica Genghis Khan Ibn Battuta
Camel Saddles Mamluk Sultanate Junks Mansa Musa
Timbuktu Caravan Trans-Saharan Slave Trade Dar-al-Islam
Gunpowder Compass Pax Islamica Spread of Buddhism

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