Reviewed by Sep 30, 2020| Updated on
The Silk Route was a trading route dating back to the second century B.C. By the fourteenth century A.D. It stretched across China, India, Persia, Arabia, Greece, and Italy from Asia to the Mediterranean. Due to the heavy silk trade that took place during that time, it was called the Silk Road.
This valuable fabric originated in China, which originally had a silk manufacturing monopoly until it's creation's secrets spread. The route, in addition to silk, facilitated the trade in other fabrics, wood and metal work, fruits and vegetables, spices, animal hides, grains, precious stones, and other valuables.
The Silk Route's opening brought a lot of goods that would have a big impact on the West. Many of these goods, including gunpowder and paper, had their origins in China. These have become some of China's most traded goods with its Western trading partners. Paper was particularly important because it ultimately led to the invention of the printing press, which gave way to newspapers and books.
China has pushed to reopen the Silk Route to enhance cooperation between Asian, African, and European countries.
Zhang Quian, a Chinese official and diplomat, set up the original Silk Road during the Han Dynasty. Quian was arrested and imprisoned on his first expedition during a diplomatic mission for 13 years before fleeing and exploring other routes from China to Central Asia.
During the Tang Dynasty, the Silk Route was popular between 618 and 907 A.D. Travelers could choose to reach their destination from a number of land and sea paths. As well as territorial boundaries and changes in national leadership, the routes evolved.
With a $900 billion strategy called ""One Belt, One Road"" (OBOR), China began officially rebuild the ancient Silk Route under President Xi Jinping in 2013. The project was a way to improve China's interconnectivity in Asia, Europe, and East Africa with more than 60 other countries.