We have learned in class that the Silk Road benefited people from China to Rome because it consisted a network of trade routes over land and sea by which goods, technologies and ideas were exchanged between C.100 BCE and 1500 CE.
Trading was an important factor done on the Silk Road as merchants traded their goods for money and vice versa. Merchants hardly travel the whole route as they would only travel from their home town to the next for goods that were not available in their own.
Having said so, our focus will be more towards the advantages over the disadvantages that took place due to the Silk Road.
Benefits on Trading
Trade definitely brought many benefits to people living on the Silk Road because they could easily get their hands on goods they did not have. It became much more convenient for people who lived on the Silk Road. Apart from food and goods that played a crucial role in survival, animals were also traded to help people with their current lives (Farming, war and traveling).
One of the advantages from Silk Road was that it created an easy trade between countries. This information can be found from (Omarebly), which include countries such as Central Asia, the Mediterranean, China and Japan. These countries not only traded but also exchanged ideas and technologies on the route during that time. Due to their exchange of knowledge about the route of the Silk Road, it made it fairly easy to exchange goods around the Silk Road.
(UNESCO) stated that silk was the more popular product to be traded, apart from goods like “textiles, spices, grain, vegetables and fruit, animal hides, tools, wood work, metal work, religious objects, art work, precious stones and much more.” This shows that Silk Road actually created more opportunities and allowed Countries to advance together.
Another benefit from the Silk Road would be the increase in economic growth for many countries. This information can also be found from (Omarebly). Due to the Silk Road, it created more opportunities for people from different Countries to start as merchants. One fine example would be China as mentioned in the article we found, “As Chinese silk became more popular among the world, more Chinese people started working in the silk industry.” Due to the high demand of silk, it created more job opportunities for the people in China. People who were struggling in their income would be able to seek for a job and be able to create a better living from what they earn.
Finally, Silk Road aided in the spread of religious ideas from one country to another. For instance, (Omarebly) stated that Buddhism was almost extinguished. However, with the help of the Silk Road, Buddhism managed to spread from one country to another and it is still a well known religion up till today.
As mentioned in (TravelChinaGuide), Buddhism lead off from Yutian, also known as Hetian now. Buddhism then dominated in China during the Eastern Han Dynasty. In addition, Nestorianism, was also introduced through Silk Road in 635 BC. Moreover, Muslims also took the Silk Road or sea route to share their Islamic belief. This in turn created an effect in China. Through this, we are able to tell that Silk Road played a significant part in the spreading of religions.
Impact on Trading
One of the more serious or rather disastrous impact that affected the people trading and travelling on the Silk Road; would be the diseases being transmitted to and fro when traders come in contact with one another. In the article from (Omarebly), they mentioned that “Measles, small pox, and, most importantly, the bubonic plague spread because of the Silk Road.” Proper healthcare and sanitation was not build up, thus people were not in proper and safe hygiene to protect themselves from those diseases. In addition (Omarebly) also stated that, “The bubonic plague became known as the Black Death because of how many people died because of it. In fact, the bubonic plague killed off half of Europe and even killed ¾ of England. “ It was expensive to see a doctor and get medication back then. Thus, people either die instantly due to a certain disease they contracted, or suffer to death.
The Silk Road definitely brought many benefits to the people living on or around it. In times of survival, goods can be easily bought and transported one city to another. The Silk Road not only created an easy route for merchants to do their trading which resulted in an economic growth, but it also helped spread religious ideas from one country to another. Although merchants and villagers should be careful of the diseases transmitted through body contact, but with proper healthcare and sanitation, all these deaths from illnesses can be prevented. To conclude, the Silk Road created a more positive than negative outcome for the people.
Done by: Joey Lee & KangJing