The roots of chinese civilization dates back to thousands of years B.C.(4000
to 5000 B.C.) As with all ancient cultures, the first societies were agriculture
based. The first dynasty(Hsia or Xia dynasty) occurring around 2000 to 2100
B.C. Chinese history can be tracked from those beginnings through mid 20th
Century, by a series of chinese "dynasties". Each dynasty added to the wealth
of china and it's unique culture.
Much is written about chinese dynasties. Educational sites on the net have
covered the topic well. The dynasties believed they had a "Divine Mandate"
to rule, given to them from the gods.The following link gives an excellent
starting point for a more in-depth journey through time visiting each of
these dynasties through to today.
Marco Polo romanticized the Silk Road, documenting his travels in the late
The routes of the Silk Road began during the Han dynasty around 125 B.C.
as numerous expeditions west from China established the route.
The Silk Road begins in the ancient city of Changan and traverses westward
along a variety of paths into Persia(Iran).
Zang Qian is considered the Father of the Silk Road.
The Silk Road gets it's name because caravans of traders travelling westward
brought with them silk material which was exotic, soft and colorful, quickly
While silk transport and trade is the root for it's name, caravans and traders
carried a wide variety of goods.
The "Silk Road" name was coined by German scholar Von Richthofen in the
The Silk Road experienced a long up and down history. Warring tribes, the
impact of different dynasties, the effects of harsh climate in the region
and eventually alternate means of moving people and goods, especially ocean
routes all impacted the popularity and use of the route over thousands of
A very significant blending of cultures existed along the route, caused by
both the traders passing through and the many tribes and dynasties warring
across this area.
Today, the route is not a means of travel, but retains much historic, archeologic
and some tourist value.