Silk Road
What is the
Silk Road (CC)
? Was it a road made out of silk? What did they trade? How did they trade? And who was involved are many asked questionswhen you talk about the Silk Road. In this chapter all these questions will be answered. The Silk Road was built during the Han Dynasty. The Chinese started to manufacture silk as clothing, which was the leading product in the Silk Road. The Silk Road was actually a 4,000 mile long network of routes stretched westward from China across Asia's deserts and mountain ranges through the Middle East, until it reaches the Mediterranean Sea.

Emperor Wudi (CC)

What really caused the Silk Road was greed and the want of more land. Silk was very valuable at this time. No one in the world even knew about it or how to make it. It was so secret that if you told someone out of China how to make the silk you would be killed. During the Han dynastygoods from other countries were very valuable. Trade increased due to the fact that Han armies conquered land in Central Asia. Farther west people wanted that silk. Emperor Wudi wanted strong Central Asia horses for his army. Then the Central Asian people would trade the silk with other countries for other products. They also needed a safe way trade from Asia to Europe. They traded in packs, called caravans, so it was safer. The Armies also protected the traders them from thieves. Also, people wanted resources that could not be found where they were. So, they had to trade with other people to get the resources they wanted. An example of that is, today we want things like toys and clothes that we don’t have so we trade money for the things.

What was traded:
The people on the Silk Road traded many items. The items where traded from mainly Central Asia. The main products that were traded were traded were paper, iron, gold, cloth. Salt, camels, silk and metal sword. Metal Swords where very important, the swords brought war. Some other items that where traded from the silk road are cotton, leather boots, cheese, carpet, grapes, porcelain, hay, jade, turquoise and wooden blocks. Not only products were traded on the silk road, ideas where also traded. The ideas traded helped bring new inventions and even more ideas. Religion was also traveled across the silk road. This was called Cultural Diffusion. Cultural Diffusion was the spread of religion and culture. Not only good things where traded on the silk road, one bad thing was traded Disease. People got very sick, some even died, because of the disease that was traveled across the silk road. People did not notice that they were passing disease to other people until they started dying. The Black Death was one of the diseases that killed a lot of people and one reason it spread.

Who was involved:
There where many people involved in the Silk Road such as the Chinese, the Europeans and Central Asia.
Genghis Khan (CC)
One of the first people that where involved in the silk road was Emperor Wudi. He wanted to expand China's empire, so he relied on a strong army but to have a strong army you need strong horses. The strongest horses that existed lived in Central Asia. Emperor Wudi wanted their horses and the Central Asian people wanted China's silk. Without Emperor Wudi the Silk Road would not have become successful. During the Crusades , Crusaders would walk 5,000 miles just to get to the Holy Land . On their way there they would cross through the Silk Road. Many Crusaders where greedy and wanted fame and fortune instead of glory so they bought silk and fled from there army. After bringing these products home many people wanted silk and porcelain . This increased profit on the silk road. One of the most important people involved was Genghis Khan . Genghis Khan was the ruler of the Mongol Empire and helped expand the Mongol Empire .
He kept the Silk Road open and made it safer for the travelers. He helped start The Renaissance. .


The Silk Road has many effects because of all the causes. One effect is the paper was traveled across the silk road. Without the paper not everybody will have paper to write on and draw on. There would be no books or bibles. We wouldn't be able to do some religious things without the silk road. Also without the silk road we would not have inventions that effected the world today. The world would not be the way it was today. Buddhism was a major effect to the world a lot of people started to follow the religion Buddhism. The effects of the silk road are also bad. The diseases killed many people, that was a major effect because what if a very important person got killed than we wouldn't have some things that we have today. The diseases also have a good impact the diseases also helped invent medicine. With medicine invented people stopped dying. The silk road also spread lots and lots of ideas. Without those ideas we would have important things and this world wont be the was it is now. All the products and ideas traded across the silk road did something good to help inventions be made.


In this chapter we learned what the Silk Road was. The Silk Road was the largest trade route in the world. We learned about the Causes and the effects of the Silk Road. We also learned about what was traded and who was involved. Without it Buddhism wouldn't of spread and we wouldn't have books. Even though the Silk Road doesn't seem important it really was.

This is a pod cast created in the November of 2008. It focuses on the Silk Road.


  1. Burstein, Dr. Stanly M., and Dr. Richard Shek. World History. Holt, Rein and Winston, 2006.
  2. "Silk Road." Silk Road. 28 May 09 <>.
  3. "Silk Road." Wikipedia. 1 June 2009 <www.wikipedia>.
  4. "Emperor Wudi." Wikipedia. 1 June 2009 <>.
  5. "Emperor Wudi." Wikipedia. 1 June 2009 <>.
  6. "History of Silk." Silk road foundation home page. 1 June 2009.

Created June 2, 2009
Samantha and Bijal
Edited May 2011: Bagatur