Religions of the Silk Road: Overland Trade and Cultural Exchange .

To both Asia and Europe the Roads were a key point of cultural interaction between civilizations, especially in the early travel of both goods and philosophies.

To first understand the Silk Road, we must look at a broad overview of its history.

The second most important point on the Silk Road is the city of Dunhuang.

Although the term “Silk Road” would lead one that it was on road, this term actually refers to a number of different routes that covered a vast amount of land and were traveled by many different people.

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With the Silk Road, valuable goods and ideas spread efficiently; areas were revolutionized and it allowed for cultural diffusion to occur.

"The Himalayas are only passable through icy passages 5,000 metres in altitude and are surrounded by deep ravines." The Silk Road extends to extreme lengths, over nearly half the world.

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-The Chinese were eager for western products, such as : Horses, walnuts, sesame, spinach, and other new crops
- Traders going west carried new fruits such as peaches and apricots
Different religions become intertwined with each other to form new religions; many sects of the same religion also formed

A key factor for the growth and development of both trade routes was the eagerness of nations to obtain goods that could not be obtained in their homelands

Many parts and regions across Eurasia commence to become connected through religion, creating a Buddhist community that will eventually come to be one of the most dominant religions in the world.
Both trade routes created large and wealthy cities as well as important trading ports along the coast
- Merchants traveling the silk road needed places to stay during voyages, this created large wealthy cities

- Trading ports used as destination points along the Indian Ocean trade became wealthy as merchants invested their money in those ports.
Change, Silk Roads
Change, Trans-Saharan
Large cities, that would eventually become dominant political forces in Eurasia, were created as a result of these trade routes
Through the Trans-Saharan Trade Route, African leaders were able to spread the Muslim faith.
Islam was slowly and peacefully introduced into Africa by Muslim merchants.

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Took significantly longer to reach their destination.
A more favorable shift of trading was leaning towards oceanic voyages because of how efficient and profitable it was to merchants and traders.
Continuity, Silk Road
Even though the Silk Road underwent significant changes, religion continued to thrive and spread across the the trade network
Even with the variety of rule and monopolies on the Silk Road, religion was still able to spread across the land.

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The Roman Empire’s conquest of Egypt led the the blossoming of the Silk Road; many ideas and different religions were transmitted and traded along the trade network
The introduction of gunpowder led to the decline of integration in the Mongol Empire and trade declined; however, religion still spread slowly across the land
The ongols took over most of Asia and united it under their rule; not having to cross multiple countries and borders to trade goods stabilized trade

The fragmentation and disintegration of the mongol empire led to less focus on trade and control over the silk road
Mongol control helped stabilize the silk road and made the trade route safer, allowing for Buddhism to continue to spread.