History of Silk Road
|Big Wild Goose Pagoda|
Silk Road in Different Dynasties
This route was opened up by Zhang Qian in the Western Han Dynasty and the routes were gradually formed throughout the Han Dynasty. This trade route spent its childhood and gradually grew up in this dynasty. With the establishment of the Tang Dynasty, which saw rapid development of economy and society, this famous trade route reached its most prosperous stage in history. During the reign of Yuan Dynasty, it experienced its last flourishing period.
Silk Road in Western Han Dynasty (206 BC–24 AD)
From 139 BC to 129 BC, Zhang Qian set out on his journey to the Western Regions twice, pioneering the world-famous route. Several successful wars against the Huns were commanded by Wei Qing and Huo Qubing (famous generals in Han Dynasty), which removed obstacles along this trade route. In 60 BC, Han Dynasty established the Protectorate of the Western Regions in Wulei (near now Luntai) to supervise this northwest area, which greatly protected the trade along this time-honored route.
|A Piece of Silk|
Ban Chao and Ban Yong conducted several expeditions to the Western Regions to suppress rebellions and re-established the Protectorate of the Western Regions, ensuring peace and trade along this important route.
Silk Road in Tang Dynasty (618–907)
With the establishment of the Tang Dynasty and great prosperity during this time, the road rose to its most flourishing period in history. Before the Anshi Rebellion (755–762) in the Tang Dynasty, this world-famous road experienced its "Golden Age" of development.
Silk Road in the Yuan Dynasty (1271–1368)
Along with the growth of the Mongolian Empire and the establishment of the Yuan Dynasty, the route regained its vigor and became prosperous once again. It enjoyed the last glorious era during this period.
In 1271, the great Mongolian ruler Kublai Khan established a powerful Mongol Empire – Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368) at Dadu (the present Beijing). The territory of the giant empire was the largest one in Chinese history, which stretched as far as Mongolia and Siberia in the north, South China Sea in the south, Tibet and Yunnan in the Southwest, Stanovoi Range (Outer Khingan) and Okhotsk in northeast, Xinjiang and Central Asia in the northwest. Even West Asia and Russia were under the control of this empire.
|Xian Silk Road Sculptures|
Although maritime transport had an influence on the route, many westerners, Chinese envoys and caravans traveled along this ancient trade route. However, the historically important route could not contend with expansion in the field of navigation which assisted its demise.
Famous Travelers on Silk Road
|Camel Team of Tourists, Dunhuang|
Ban Yong and Fu Jiezi
Memorabilia along the silk road
Many great events happened on this ancient road, making the trade route historically important. Famous travelers along the road were its bright pearls, making it glorious. A great number of soldiers gave their lives to protect it. These are some of the reasons the road is still a time-honored treasure.