Commerce and Culture Along Eurasian Trade Routes (500-1500 CE)

Timeline created by nguyensc
In History
  • 400

    Shi Li Converts to Buddhism

    The ruler of the Jie people converted to Buddhism after an encounter with a Buddhist monk named Fotudeng. His conversion led to thousands of conversions and hundreds of new Buddhist temples.
  • 500

    Silk Production Spreads Beyond China

    The valuable material grew continuously more popular and the knowledge of how to make it spread along the various trade routes. Koreans, Japanese, Indians, and Persians all learned how to make the precious fabric. Of course with the new areas of production, different varieties of silk emerged and circulated across Afro-Eurasian trade routes.
  • 500

    Funan

    An inland state in Southeast Asia that flourished during the first six centuries of the Common Era. Its economy, like other Southeast Asian states, was based mostly on domestically produced rice and didn't have a large focus on international trade, but it still participated in it. Funan often hosted merchants from India and China.
  • 534

    Bubonic Plague in the Mediterranean

    Outbreaks of the bubonic plague broke out along the coastal areas of the Mediterranean. These outbreaks were caused by black rats that traveled on Indian boats for trade. The disease prevented the Byzantine Empire from reintegrating Italy. Over the next several centuries, the plague weakened the ability of Christendom to resist Muslim armies.
  • 600

    Silk Roads Flourish

    The Byzantine Empire, the Muslim Abbasid dynasty, and Tang dynasty China created an almost continuous belt of strong states across Eurasia. The many strong states encouraged interactions, which helped the Silk Roads flourish.
  • 600

    Rise of Islam

    Rise of Islam
    Islam spread widely along the Sea Roads to a lot of the Afro-Eurasian world. The creation of a large and powerful Arab empire brought together in a single political system a range of economies and cultural traditions. Muslim traders continued to grow in wealth and numbers and established communities from East Africa to the south China coast. Islamic powers continued emerging and eventually caused a widespread conversion.
  • 618

    Women Contribute to the Chinese Economy

    The silk trade in China became so prominent that by the time of the Tang dynasty (618-907 CE), women made large contributions to the household economy, new technology in the silk industry, and to the state through their production and trade of silk.
  • 618

    Revival of China

    During the Tang and Song dynasties (618-1279), China was able to reestablish an effective and unified state. This actively encouraged maritime trade (specifically along the Sea Roads), sent Chinese goods into Indian Ocean commerce, and provided a vast market for Indian and Southeast Asian goods.
  • 670

    Rise of Srivijaya

    Rise of Srivijaya
    The Sumatran kingdom comes to power based on its control of the Strait of Malacca. Its location on this key trade route between the Indian Ocean and China allowed it to profit off of ships engaged in trade by charging taxes.
  • 700

    Buddhism and Hinduism in Southeast Asia

    A large scale building program started by the Sailendra kingdom in central Java took place between eighth and tenth centuries that built many Hindu temples and Buddhist monuments. The Indian Ocean trade network helped spread both Hinduism and Buddhism to Southeast Asia.
  • 800

    Buddhism Changes

    As Buddhism spread along the Silk Roads, new ideas developed within the religion. It evolved from Theravada Buddhism into Mahayana Buddhism, picking up elements of other cultures along the way. Greco-Roman influences are greatly present.
  • 800

    Rise of Angkor

    The Southeast Asian Khmer kingdom flourished for the centuries between 800 and 1300 CE. Its trade focused on exporting exotic forest products and receiving in return Chinese and Indian handicrafts using the Sea Roads. It also welcomed a large number of Chinese merchants.
  • 800

    Building of Borobudur

    Building of Borobudur
    Borobudur is the most famous religious building built during Java's massive building program in the eighth century. It is the largest Buddhist monument in the world and has distinct Javanese influences, showing how deeply rooted Buddhism became in Southeast Asia. However the monument was later abandoned after Java became Islamic.
  • 1000

    Rise of Venice

    The Italian city of Venice emerged as a major center of the Indian Ocean trade network with its ships and merchants active in the Mediterranean, Black seas, and on the Atlantic Coast. Most of its wealth came from Venetian merchants picking up goods from Asia and reselling them. Many of the goods they had went up the Red Sea through Alexandria (Egypt).
  • 1000

    Champa Flourishes

    A mainland Southeast Asian state that participated in Indian Ocean commerce. Its traders operated in China, Java, and elsewhere and would practice piracy whenever trade dried up. It attempted to control the trade between China and Southeast Asia but was unsuccessful and only provoked warfare with its commercial rivals.
  • 1100

    Building of Angkor Wat

    Building of Angkor Wat
    Angkor Wat is the largest religious structure in the premodern world. It was build in the Angkor kingdom during the twelfth century and was built to express a Hindu understanding of the cosmos. It was later used by Buddhists as well as Hindus. This structure shows how deeply rooted Hinduism became in Southeast Asia after its spread along the Indian Ocean trading network.
  • 1100

    Silk in Islamic and Christian World

    By this time, silk had integrated itself into many different cultures. It was used as a symbol for high social or religious status. No independent silk industry developed in Western Europe until the twelfth century, so they mainly relied on silk imported from the Islamic world. These silks were sometimes inscribed with Arabic passages from the Quran. The fabric circulated in places all over Eurasia.
  • 1200

    Mongol Empire Encompasses Silk Roads

    Mongol Empire Encompasses Silk Roads
    The Mongols grew stronger and ended up claiming more land for themselves; for a brief period of time, this covered almost the entire route of the Silk Roads in a single state. This gave a renewed vitality to long-distance trade.
  • 1200

    Queen Pwa Saw

    A queen from Pagan who exercised extensive political and religious influence for forty years amid internal intrigue and external threats. At the same time she donated some of her lands and property to a Buddhist temple. A major Southeast Asian ruler being Buddhist shows how widely Buddhism spread and her being Buddhist most likely caused thousands of people to convert.
  • 1340

    The Black Death in Eurasia

    The Black Death in Eurasia
    The largest breakout of the bubonic plague that spread from China to Europe. Almost half of the population of Europe died during this period, and it also played a large role in the fall of the Mongol Empire. Though the results were catastrophic, some farmers and workers benefited because of the lack of available workers.