Transregional Networks: c. 600 BCE - 600 CE

AP Concept: 2.3 Emergence of Transregional Networks of Communication and Exchange
Key Concepts
  • Transregional trade and communication networks developed along land and water routes
  • New technologies allowed the spread of these networks
Land Routes
  • The construction of roads often contributed to a rise in trade within empires and with other empires
  • Empires contributed to regional stability by constructing roads, as in the Han dynasty, which secured routes through Central Asia
  • Roads also developed communication networks within empires, such as the Royal Road in the Persian Empire, and the extensive network of roads in the Roman Empire
  • Trade along the overland Silk Road developed thanks to regional stability, extensive roads, and new technologies
  • Silk Road route began in Changan (China), and moved west through Mongolia and Turkestan, where it diverged both north and south around the Taklimakan Desert; it then moved southeast to India or west to the edge of the Roman Empire
  • Technologies such as yokes, specialized saddles, and horse stirrups allowed merchants to travel further with more goods
  • Water Routes
    • Imperial control of water routes made these safe and secure for trade and communication
    • The island-based Greeks controlled much of the Mediterranean Sea and relied heavily on sea trade
    • Later, the Roman Empire surrounded and controlled the Mediterranean (calling it Mare Nostrum, or "Our Sea"), making it safe for sea trade to move from Syria to North Africa and Spain
    • Sailors mastered difficult wind and water patterns, which allowed them to travel and trade with distant empires
    • Indian sailors in particular understood how the monsoon winds in the Indian Ocean operated (they allowed merchants to sail one way during the winter and the other way during the summer), and used them to their advantage when trading with Southeast Asia
    • Large ships such as the trappaga and cotymba helped Indian sailors navigate the coast along western India, and were used to guide foreign ships to port

    Related Links:
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    AP World History Notes
    Trading Exchanges: c. 600 BCE - 600 CE