Give two examples of different types of global exchanges which took place before the seventeenth century, choosing one example from Asia and one from the Americas.

Examples of the different types of global exchanges which took place before the seventeenth century:

Example from Asia: The silk routes.

From the second century BC to the end of the fourteenth century AD, a great trade route originated from Chang'an (now Xian) in the east and ended at the Mediterranean in the west, linking China with the Roman Empire. Because silk was the major trade product which traveled on this road, it was named the Silk Road in 1877 by German geographer Ferdinand von Richthofen. This ancient route not only circulated goods, but also exchanged the splendid cultures of China, India, Persia, Arabia, Greek and Rome.

● Chinese silk cargoes used to travel the silk routes.

● Later Chinese pottery, textiles and spices from India and Southeast Asia also travelled through these routes.

● In return, precious metals – gold and silver flowed from Europe to Asia.

● For centuries before the Indian Ocean had known a vibrant trade with goods, people, knowledge, customs, etc. cross-crossing its waters.

● Silk routes helped in linking Asia with Europe and northern Africa.

● Buddhism which emerged from eastern India also spread in several directions through interconnecting points on the silk routes only.

From the Americas: Foods

● Many of our common foods such as potatoes, soya, groundnuts, maize, tomatoes, chillies, sweet potatoes, and so on were not known to our ancestors until about five centuries ago.

● These foods were only introduced in Europe and Asia after Christopher Columbus accidentally discovered the vast continent that would later become known as the Americas.

● In fact, many of our common foods came from America’s original inhabitants – the American Indians.