The Silk Road
By Samantha Rice
The Silk Road
The Silk Road can be very misleading if you don't know what you're talking about. As it turns out the Silk Road isn't made of silk. It's not even a road! Crazy, right? The Silk Road is actually a trade system involving many routes connecting cities and villages. The road was really efficient in the middle ages for traveling merchants because they didn't have modern day technology. But even though sometimes the road was really helpful I still think it had a negative impact on the world. A lot of the goods traded were helpful, like camles and silk, but sometimes things got out of hand. Below is a map of the Silk Road.
Negative Impact #1
What got out of hand you might ask? Well, imagine if you moved into a new city. Life was nice, you had food/water, protection and shelter. But then your neighbor gets sick. Very sick. So sick that after 4-5 days he's dead. Then everyone else in your village gets sick and dies so your the only one left. Then you get sick and die a miserable death. But that's not just happening to your town, it's happening to the entire country. Well, as it turns out that is exactly what happened to Europe during the middle ages. The plague (AKA Black Death) spread far and wide, and ended up killing almost a half of Europe's population! We don't know this for a fact, but it might have been caused by rats and fleas carried among the merchants traveling on the Silk Road. It was certainly a negative impact, so many people died over the course of four years. Below is a graph of the Black Death and how it spread.
Negative Impact #2
Do you know about the Civil war? It was one of the most violent, most bloody wars, throughout American History. Well the war was because of slaves. When humans would own other humans and make them do hard work. Treating them like animals or something. At the time of the middle ages Africa was the most wealthy continent, partly because of Mansa Musa (The richest man on Earth). Most places wanted to offer Africa goods in exchange for money. And throughout the years Africa became less and less rich because they traded all of their money. So, they came to the conclusion that they needed to trade their own people, to work as slaves. Now that wasn't the very beginning slavery but it still made it much more popular. Definitely negative.
Positive Impact #1
Being 400 miles long the Silk Road was actually more efficient than you think. Everything in our time is simple because of the technology we've created. So when they didn't have Amazon, or the United Parcel Service they had to figure out how to trade goods to faraway places. Well the Silk Road really came in handy back then. It's lots of routes (Land and Water) that merchants travel on selling goods along the way. The goods traveled farther than the people though. It was unusual for one person to cover the entire path. That's a really big positive impact right there. Although the question is, "Is it bigger than the negative effect?" Below is a chart that shows what was traded and where along the Silk Road.
The Negative Effect
Even though the Silk Road may have helped spread culture and , it also spread the black death and started the idea of slaves. Which were some pretty bad moments in history. You have to admit it, there are more negative impacts than positive impacts based on my research. Overall I think the Silk Road had a negative effect on the world, and we might have done better off without it.
"The Black Death." N.p.: n.p., n.d. 336-37. Print.
Crash-course. "The Silk Road and Ancient Trade: Crash Course World History #9." YouTube. YouTube, 22 Mar. 2012. Web. 28 Apr. 2016. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vfe-eNq-Qyg>.