✨ ap world survival packs are ready!
📑 Document Based Questions (DBQ)
🚀 Thematic Guides
Theme 1 (ENV) - Humans and the Environment
Theme 2 (CDI) - Cultural Developments and Interactions
Theme 3 (GOV) - Governance
Theme 4 (ECON) - Economic Systems
Theme 5 (SOC) - Social Interactions and Organizations
Theme 6 (TECH) - Technology and Innovation
🗺 Regional Guides
The Pacific from 1200 to the Present
🐎 Unit 1: The Global Tapestry
1.0Overview of Unit 1: The Global Tapestry
1.1East Asia from 1200-1450
1.2Dar al-Islam from 1200-1450
1.4The Americas from 1200 to 1450
1.6Europe from 1200 to 1450
🐫 Unit 2: Networks of Exchange
2.0Overview of Unit 2: Networks of Exchange
2.3Indian Ocean Trade Routes
2.4Trans-Saharan Trade Routes
2.5Cultural Effects of Trade
2.6Environmental Effects of Trade
🕌 Unit 3: Land-Based Empires
3.0Overview of Unit 3: Land-Based Empires
3.1Expansion of Land-Based Empires
3.2Governments of Land-Based Empires
🍕 Unit 4: Transoceanic Interconnections
4.0Overview of Unit 4: Transoceanic Interconnections
4.1New Technologies from 1450-1750
4.4Maritime Empires Established
4.5Expansion of Maritime Empires
4.6Resistance to European Expansion
✊ Unit 5: Revolutions
5.2Revolutions from 1750-1900
5.5Technology in the Industrial Age
5.7Economic Effects of Industrialization
🚂 Unit 6: Consequences of Industrialization
6.0Overview of Unit 6: Consequences of Industrialization
💣 Unit 7: Global Conflict
7.0Overview of Unit 7: Global Conflict
7.6Causes of World War II
🥶 Unit 8: Cold War & Decolonization
8.0Overview of Unit 8: Cold War & Decolonization
8.2The Cold War
8.3Effects of the Cold War
8.4Spread of Communism After 1900
8.5Decolonization After 1900
8.6Newly Independent States After 1900
8.8End of the Cold War
✈️ Unit 9: Globalization
🤓 Historical Thinking Skills
Continuity and Change Over Time in the AP Histories
Causation in the AP Histories
Comparison in the AP Histories
👉 Introduction to AP World
⏱️ 3 min read
June 19, 2020
The Silk Roads were the biggest land network in the time period, stretching from Constantinople all the way to the very eastern edge of China (Hangzhou). Needless to say, they were a pretty big deal in Afro-Eurasia. So let’s get into it!
Great question! In a nutshell, it was the growth of empires and development of new technology.
In a little bit longer of a nutshell, empires were rapidly expanding (such as Song China), and with a growing empire came a growing desire for goods. But although these economies were expanding as fast as they could, sometimes they couldn’t provide everything. The rich especially wanted goods that the empires often couldn’t afford. This is the main reason why most trade routes at the time (but the Silk Roads in particular), traded mostly luxury goods, such as sugar, gold, porcelain, and silk (duh!)
But how to make all of this happen? Profit-seeking merchants began to build off of old trade technology to make it work for this much bigger trade network. Some key examples are caravanserai, roadside inns along trade routes merchants could rest in, bills of exchange, which were essentially early IOUs similar to paper money (convenient because they were much lighter than the gold used as currency), and banking houses, which would issue bills of exchange.
As you can imagine, such a massive trade network would lead to some massive effects. Trading cities such as Kashgar and Samarkand grew massively as merchants began to exchange their goods from all over the world. Additionally, the economies of the countries trading expanded as demand for their goods increased.
Map of the Silk Road (can you find Kashgar and Samarkand?)
Image Courtesy of encyclopediabritannica.com
Textile production dramatically increased across Eurasia as well as steel in China. The Song Dynasty in China, in particular, rapidly expanded as demand for their silk grew, and they began to rely on peasant and artisanal labor to fuel their commercializing economy.
Additionally, the ideas of the merchants carrying the goods would travel along the roads. Religions like Christianity, Buddhism, Islam, Hinduism, and even traditional Chinese customs spread via the trade routes, along with goods such as Champa rice (a specific kind of rice resistant to drought).
With such simple ways to travel now, common people were more free to travel the world and share their observations through writing, such as Marco Polo, who traveled the Silk Roads and wrote about it. But more on him in 2.5!
Diseases, too, spread along trade routes. You know the Black Plague, which is famous for having killed at least ⅓ of Europe? Yeah. That started in China. Now I wonder how it got all the way to Europe…
|Formation of New Trading Cities||Kashgar, Samarkand||New trading cities emerged along these routes|
|Trading of Credit and Monetization||Bills of exchange, Banking houses, Use of paper money||Emergence of global economy, Increased access to capital|
|Creation of Diasporic Communities||Muslim, Chinese, and Sodigan merchants||Ethnic enclaves emerged in new regions as communities migrated|
|Diffusion of Literary, Cultural, and Artistic Traditions||Spread of Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, and Hinduism||1. Merchants brought religions with them and spread new and old belief systems across the world 2. Classical texts were preserved and adapted into new traditions|
|Diffusion of Crops and Diseases||Crops: Banana, New Rice, Cotton, Sugar & citrus Diseases: Bubonic Plague (Black Death), Justinian Plague, Plague of Cypria||Greater access to diverse foodstuffs increased the population globally|
🎥Watch: WHAP - Silk Roads
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