Chapter 7: Commerce and Culture

Chapter 7: Commerce and
3rd wave civilizations
Economic Globalization
• Why was trade significant
Altered consumption
Encouraged specialization
Diminished economic self-sufficiency
Traders became distinct social groups
Sometimes a means of social mobility
Provided goods for the elite (usually)
Sometimes created state creation
Other ideas, innovations, diseases, animals and plants were spread
Silk Road
Exchange across Europe
• Silk Roads form one of the world’s extensive and sustained networks of
• Relay of trade
• Provided unity and coherence in Eurasian history
• The Growth of the Silk Road
• Eurasia divided in “inner” and “outer” zones
• Outer- relatively warm, well watered (China, India, Middle East, Mediterranean)
• Inner- harsher, drier climate and pastoral (Eastern Russia and Central Asia)
• Creation of 2nd wave civilizations/imperial states tried to control pastoral people
• Trading networks did best when security was provided by states
• Roman and Chinese anchored commerce
• 7th and 8th C- Byzantine, Abbasid and Tang dynasty
• 13th and 14th C Mongols
Goods in Transit
• Many goods, usually by camel
• Luxury goods for elite
• High cost of transport did not allow movement of staples
• Silk symbolized Eurasian exchange
• China had the monopoly on silk at first
• By 6th C- others were producing
• Silk was used a currency in Central Asia
• Silk was symbol of status
• Volume of trade
• Peasants in the Yangzi River delta of S China produced market goods
• Silk, paper, porcelain
• Well placed individuals could make enormous profits
Products that contributed to Silk Road
• China: silk bamboo, mirrors, gunpowder, paper, rhubarb, ginger,
lacquer ware, chrysanthemums
• Siberia and Central Asia: furs, amber, livestock, horses, falcons, hides,
copper vessels, tents, saddles, slaves
• India: cotton textiles, herbal medicine, precious stones, spices
• Middle East: dates, nuts, almonds, dried fruit, dyes, lapis lazuli (ore to
make blue dye), swords
• Mediterranean: gold coins, glassware, glazes, grapevines, jewelry,
artworks, perfume, wool and linen textiles, olive oil
Culture in Transit
• Cultural transmission was more important than exchange of goods
• Buddhism
Appealed to merchants
Conversion was heavy in oasis cities and was voluntary
In China was the religion of foreign merchants and rulers
Transformed during its spread
Spread of Buddhism
Spread of Hinduism (Blue route)
What accounted for the spread of Buddhism
along the Silk Roads?
• Your Turn:
Disease in transit
• Major populations in Afro-Eurasian world developed disease patterns
• Long distant trade meant exposure to new diseases
• Early case- Athens
• Roman and Han empires
• 534-750 CE
• The Black Death
• Spread because of the Mongols- thanks Mongols  (remember spread 13th and 14th
• Bubonic plague ?/ anthrax?
• Killed up to ½ of European population in 1346-1350
• Similar death toll in China and Islamic World
• European advantage
• Western hemisphere after 1500s- Columbian Exchange
What was the impact of disease along the Silk
• Your turn:
Sea Roads- Indian Ocean
Indian Ocean Trade- LOOK up the word
• History
• Mediterranean Sea- from the time of the Phoenicians
• Venice was center by 1000 CE
• Controlled trade of imports from Asia
• Linked Europe to the much greater trade networks of Indian Ocean
• Indian Ocean network
Trade grew from environmental and cultural diversity
Transportation was cheaper by sea than land
Bulk goods
Commerce was between towns- not states
Lateen Sails: dhow
The exact origins of the dhow are lost to history. Most scholars
believe that it originated in China from 600 B.C. to 600 A.D.
►Lateen Sail allowed
sailors to sail across the
Indian ocean, could sail
into wind
Weaving the Web of an Indian Ocean World
• Indian Ocean trade started in the 1st wave of civilization
• Indus valley writing may have been stimulated by cuneiform (who had this?)
• Ancient Egypt/Phoenicians traded down the Red Sea
• Malay sailors reached Madagascar in BCE
• Tempo of commerce increased in early centuries with understanding of the
• Merchants from Roman empire settled in S. India and E Africa coast
• Growing trade in E Indian Ocean and S China Sea
• Center of trade was India
• Two great encouragers for Indian Ocean trade
• Economic and political revival of China
• Rise of Islam in 7th C (friendly to commercial life)
• Developed communities- spread their faith
Sea Roads as a Catalyst for Change: SE Asia
• Ocean commerce transformed SE Asia and E Africa
• Stimulated political change
• Introduced foreign religious ideas
• SE Asia
• Malay sailors opened all-sea route through Straits of Malacca 350 CE
• Small sea ports competed to attract traders
• Malay Kingdom
• Srivijaya- dominated trade from 670-1025 CE
• Gold, spices, taxes on ships created state
• Inland States based on rice production also participated
• Funan- 0-600 CE (Vietnam and E Cambodia)
• Khmer kingdom- Angkor (800-1300 CE) forest products
• Champa- Vietnam- tried to control trade and provoked warfare
• Elements of Indian culture spread to SE Asia, Chinese culture to Vietnam
• Indian alphabets, artistic forms, political and religious ideas (Buddhism)
• Sailendras Kingdom- Central Java influenced from India
• Massive building of Hindu and Buddhist centers
• Shows Buddhist cultural grounding
• Hinduism
• SE Asia, Champas and Angkor areas
• “Indianization”
• Mixed Indian ideas and practices with existing
• Little conflict
• Less patriarchal tradition
• Islam came later
Products from Indian Ocean Trade
►Mediterranean—ceramics, glassware, wine, gold, olive oil
►East Africa—ivory, gold, iron goods, slaves, tortoiseshells, quartz,
leopard skins
►Arabia—frankincense (desired far beyond Indian Ocean world),
myrrh, perfumes
►India—grain, ivory, precious stones, cotton textiles, spices, timber
►SE Asia—tin, sandalwood, cloves, nutmeg, mace
►China—silks, porcelain, tea
Influence of Buddhism in Java
Hindu temple in Java
Sea Roads as a Catalyst for Change: E Africa
• History of Swahili Civilization
• Blend of Bantu and Islamic Indian Ocean life
• East Africa Coast- 1000-1500 CE
• Urban
• Cities politically independent
• Ruled by a king
• Most of trade was in Arab ships
• Deep participation in the Indian Ocean World
• Regular visitors from Arab, Indian and Persian merchants
• Swahili was written in Arabic script
• Spread conversion of Islam
• Islam and Swahili culture didn’t reach much beyond coast until the 19th c
• Traded with interior had an impact
• Trade with interior for gold led to Great Zimbabwe (1250-1350 CE)
What was the role of Swahili civilization in the
world of Indian Ocean commerce?
• Your Turn:
To what extent did the Silk Roads and the Sea
Roads operate in a similar/different fashion?
• Your turn:
Silk Road
Sea Road
West African Trade Routes
Sand Roads: Exchange Across the Sahara
• Commercial Beginnings in W Africa
• Based on environmental variation
• N Africa- manufactured goods
• Sahara- copper, salt and dates
• Earliest Trade
• People among the Sudan
• Emergence of urban clusters
• Jenne-Jeno (Niger Valley Civilization)
• Gold, Salt and Slaves
• Camel
• Regular trans-Saharan commerce by 300 CE
• Merchants really wanted gold
• Sahara become international trade route
• Trade encouraged new political structures
• Ghana, Mali, Songhay, Kanem, Hausa
• Monarchies- elaborate court life
• Slavery
• West Africa, mostly women
• Male slaves- porters, craftsmen,
miners, laborers
• Raided from further South
The Americas
An American Network: Commerce and
Connection in the Western Hemisphere
• NO interaction between E. and W. until Columbus
• American trade networks were not as dense as Afro-Eurasian
• Important limitations
• Lack of domesticated large mammals, wheeled vehicles, large ocean going ships
• Geographical/environmental obstacles
• “Loosely interactive web”- Great Lake to Andes
Cultural elements spread gradually
Cahokia was center of widespread trading network
Amazon and Orinoco river exchange
Caribbean peoples had interisland trade
Chincha people traded along Pacific Coast of S America
• Major trade network in Mesoamerica
Chaco canyon culture interacted with Mesoamerica
Maya and Teotihuacan traded by land
Maya traded by Sea on BOTH coasts (dugout canoes)
Aztecs by 15th C had professional merchants - pochteca
• Major trade network in Andes was state run
• Inca distributed supplies from great state storehouses
• 20,000 miles of road
• Some local exchange at fairs along borders of empire
Andes/Incan Road System
Continuities and Change
• Changes
Move from barter to coins as system of exchange
Greater interaction between civilizations – direct links between Rome and
Cultural diffusion through trade – spread of religion, architecture, disease
Decline in trade in Europe after fall of Rome
• Continuities
Dominance of India in trade
The importance of the Silk Road and maritime trade routes
Constantinople as western trade hub

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