Trade routes are routes that are used on a widely known basis to transport goods to and from different places. Some trade routes across the world are more significant than others, due to the course that they take or the goods that are transported along them; some of them are important culturally because they were used to experience things you can’t buy, like religion. Here are some of the trade routes that shaped world history.
The Amber Road has been used to transport goods since the year 3,000 B.C. Amber might not seem like it has any significance to us, but it has actually been incredibly useful and valuable over the years. The Romans valued amber very highly for decorative purposes, and it played a big role in the design of their homes, palaces and other buildings, which we have been able to discover today thanks to Amber’s long lasting quality. The ‘Amber Highway’ as it came to be called has also been witness to a lot of deaths, following the rise of demand for Amber in the 12th and 13th centuries, where people would kill merchants who were transporting the precious stone.
The Silk Road is not just one of the most famous trade routes in the world, it’s also one of the oldest, and its use dates back to as far as the first century B.C! It was used by the ancient civilizations of China and by the Roman Empire. At first, the route was used to transport a lot of practical and luxury items, ranging from anything between wool and gold, but over time, more important things were transported down this route; knowledge, trade secrets, art, and religion. Of course, one of the most famous products transported down this trade route was silk, which started during the Han Dynasty. The Chinese were so protective of their trade route that they constructed the Great Wall of China, just to keep it safe!
The Salt Route
Salt might just seem like an everyday household commodity now, but hundreds and thousands of years ago, salt was incredibly precious – so much so that in the Roman age, it actually used to make up a portion of people’s wages. It is used for food and for flavoring, to preserve things, and to heal things with its antiseptic qualities. It is so versatile and used to be so difficult to get hold of that salt routes were crucial. There were several trade routes known as ‘salt roads’ such as Via Saleria in Italy and the Old Salt Route in Germany.
Tea Horse Road
There’s no denying we all like a cup of tea every now and then (daily if you’re British), but do you know how dangerous transporting tea used to be? The Tea Horse Road is one of the most precarious of all the world famous trade routes, with over 6,000 miles of winding roads through mountains and over rivers. Of course, one of the main commodities transported along this route was Chinese tea, but it was also the route for trading Tibetan Warhorses too.
These trade routes have all changed the world around us, in one way or another. Without some of these famous (and often dangerous) trade routes, we wouldn’t have commodities such as tea or salt in our homes today. How strange would that be?