57 Days. 1,368 Hours. 82,080 Minutes.
We’ve seen the routes. We’ve seen what was going along those routes. So, before we look at the Empires doing all the work; let’s look at the impact that these trade routes will have in the long run…
3.1: Expansion & Intensification of Communication and Exchange Networks:
Long distance travel is new to this era. Here are some of the impacts:
LONG DISTANCE TRAVEL: Vikings (longships), Arabs, Berbers (Camels), Central Asians (horseback) travelled long distance using new methods.
ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT: Bantu migrations changed sub saharan Africa by bringing both farming and iron working. While the Polynesians brought plants and domestic animals as far as Peru!
LANGUAGE: As people come together, languages change. This era was no different. Bantu led to Swahili in Africa. Also, Arab and Turkic languages were spread by… Arabs and Turks.
CULTURE: There is one gigantic addition to the religious world at this time. It’s Islam and it spread as far as Portugal to the West and Indonesia to the East (via trade and war). Also, Toltec/Aztec and Inca traditions around Latin America and Hinduism/Buddhism into Southeast Asia.
DIASPORA: Not new, but there are some examples of people living away from their homelands: Muslims in the Indian Ocean; Chinese Merchants in Southeast Asia; Jewish Communities throughout the Mediterranean.
TRAVELERS: Did anyone actually walk the length of these trade routes? Yes. And, here they are in order of importance.
Ibn Battuta (AfroEurasia)
Marco Polo (Italy to China)
Xuanzang (China to India)
KNOWLEDGE: Greek & Indian math was re-discovered and improved by the Muslims of the Islamic Caliphates. Greek philosophy was rediscovered by the Cordoba Caliphate (Spain).
CROPS: Bananas. This is relatively new historiography here, but bananas are actually from Southeast Asia. Not Africa. That happened in this era. Also; Champa rice from Vietnam to Song China.
DISEASE: Open the trade route, and you never know what’s gonna show up at your door. SPOILER ALERT: It’s bubonic plague and you’re all gonna die.
OK. Trade routes were super important. You’re gonna find each era has a focus. This one is trade. Next one is european exploration. After that? Industrialization. The last one=Science. So, don’t overlook these trade routes. Tomorrow we start in on the Empires of the Post Classical. And, we start with the big one: ISLAMIC CALIPHATES.