Clarify the Maritime Silk Road

The Maritime Silk Road was a conduit for trade and cultural exchange among China’s south-eastern coastal locations and foreign nations. There had been two major routes: the East China Sea Silk Route plus the South China Sea Silk Route. Get far more details about Maritime Silk Road

A visitor appears at Quanzhou-style lanterns through an exhibition on intangible cultural heritages along the ancient Maritime Silk Road in Quanzhou, southeast China’s Fujian Province, Nov. 23, 2019. (Xinhua/Wei Peiquan)

Starting from Quanzhou Fujian Province, the Maritime Silk Road was the earliest voyage route that was formed within the Qin and Han dynasties, created in the Three Kingdoms Period to the Sui Dynasty, flourished within the Tang and Song dynasties, and fell into decline inside the Ming and Qing dynasties.

Through the Maritime Silk Road, silks, china, tea, and brass and iron had been the 4 principal categories exported to foreign nations; whilst spices, flowers and plants, and rare treasures for the court had been brought to China. Hence, the Maritime Silk Road was also known as “the Maritime China road” or “the Maritime spices road”.

The Maritime Silk Road, like its overland counterpart, had its origins throughout the Han Dynasty (202 BC-220 AD). Despite the fact that vast seas separate the 4 corners from the Earth, with advances in shipbuilding and navigational technologies, maritime transport came to supply unprecedented access to the most distant destinations.

It is actually known that the bulk from the raw and processed silk transported along the overland Silk Road through the Han Dynasty was developed mostly along China’s southern coast and in the coastal Wu, Wei, Qi, and Lu regions (present-day Shandong Province). Since ancient times, these locations have already been thriving centers of shipbuilding also as silk production. They have been hence in a position to provide both commodities for export as well as the suggests to transport them across the sea. It was this mixture that provided the social and material situations important for the development of maritime trade throughout the Han Dynasty.

The maritime routes opened by Emperor Han Wudi (reigned 140-87 BC) supplied access to the Roman Empire through India, marking the very first oceanic route as well as the earliest maritime trading route in the world. This enabled China to actively seek out overseas markets and establish foreign trade relations, and laid the foundation for the development on the Maritime Silk Road.

Han Shu Record (also called The History in the Han Dynasty) kept the initial complete vivid record on China’s boats sailing into the Indian Ocean from the South Sea through the Malacca Strait in Southeast Asian waters. Han ships would leave from Xuwen in South China’s Guangdong Province, or Hepu in South China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Area, and by means of the South Sea, would arrive in India and Sri Lanka — a transfer station, exactly where pearls, colored glazes, and also other exotic factors could possibly be purchased. Chinese silk was transported to Rome hereafter. Such was the Maritime Silk Road.

In his book Nature History, Gaius Plinius Secundus, a knowledgeable scientist in ancient Rome, recorded, “four sailors from (today’s Sri Lanka) left for Rome (through the Caesar Era). In line with one with the sailors named Rutgers, both Rome and Sri Lanka had direct trade relations with China.”

In 166 from the Han Dynasty, the Roman Emperor sent envoys to China, presenting many such gifts as ivory and hawksbill turtles for the imperial royal court, which marked the earliest friendly relations in between China and European countries. A direct route from the East for the West was thus opened up.

Through the Tang Dynasty (618-907 AD), Chinese ships set sail from Guangzhou, bound across the South China Sea, therefore pioneering by far the most crucial routes from the maritime Silk Road. Furthermore to transporting silk, the South China Sea routes stimulated each material and cultural exchange. Nations all through Southeast Asia, South Asia, West Asia, and even Europe dispatched emissaries to China by means of the new maritime routes to establish diplomatic relations, purchase silk, and engage of trade of all sorts. Silk, because the principal maritime trade commodity, flowed within a steady stream from China to other countries.

Profits from the maritime trade have been one with the Chinese government’s major sources of income for the duration of this time. The Tang, Song (960-1279), and Yuan (1279-1368) Dynasties all appointed special Commissions of Maritime Affairs at coastal cities including Guangzhou (Canton), Mingzhou (present-day Ningbo), and Quanzhou. These offices were responsible for overseeing maritime trade and providing logistic support and preferential treatment for foreign merchants in China. The maritime Silk Road as a result became a conduit for promoting friendly relations and linking East and West.

East China Sea Route
Kaiyuan Temple in Quanzhou, the starting place of Maritime Silk Road. The East China Sea Route enjoys a extended history of about 3,000 years. It was through the Zhou Dynasty that Ji Zi, a court official, was sent on a journey east, setting off from Shangdong Peninsula’s Bohai Gulf and navigating his way across the Yellow Sea, which led towards the introduction of sericiculture (silkworm farming), filature and silk spinning into Korea.

When Emperor Qin Shi Huang united China, numerous Chinese fled to Korea and took with them silkworms and breeding technology. This sped up the development of silk spinning in Korea. These new capabilities and the technologies have been subsequently introduced into Japan throughout the Han Dynasty. Because the Tang Dynasty, the silks developed by Jiangsu and Zhejiang Provinces have been straight shipped to Japan. Several Japanese envoys and monks have been also able to travel to Chang’an (now Xi’an) along this sea route.

South China Sea Route

Guangzhou represented the starting-point of your South China Sea Route, which extended across the Indian Ocean and after that on to different countries situated about the Persian Gulf. The varieties goods dispatched for trade consisted mostly of silk, china and tea, when imported merchandise incorporated several different spices, flowers and grasses – therefore it becoming frequently known as the sea’s ‘China Road’ as well as the sea’s ‘Flavor Road’ .

The route was 1st used in the Qin and Han Dynasties, and enhanced in reputation from the Three Kingdoms Period (220-280) for the Sui Dynasty (581-618). Up till the Tang Dynasty Anshi Rebellions (755-762), this route was viewed as a secondary option to the Silk Road, On the other hand inside the latter half with the eighth century, owing for the scourge of wars in the vast Western Regions, trade volumes along the Maritime Silk Road boomed as those on its overland counterpart steadily declined.

Delicate Silk Technologic advances in shipbuilding and navigation led for the opening of new sea-lanes towards the Southeast Asia, Malacca, places within the Indian Ocean along with the Persian Gulf. Guangzhou became the very first excellent harbor in China about the time on the Tang and Song Dynasties, even though it was later substituted by Quanzhou within the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368) as the most significant trade port.

The Naval Expedition towards the West by Zheng He inside the early part in the Ming Dynasty demonstrated the excellent value in the Silk Road and was to represent the peak of its reputation. The governments of the Ming and Qing Dynasties issued a ban on maritime trade, contributing to huge decline in its use. Because the Opium War broke out in 1840, the Silk Road on the Sea totally disappeared.

As early as 2,000 years ago, the Maritime Silk Road started from China’s south-east coastal regions, traversing a vast expanse of oceans and seas to countries in Southeast Asia, Africa and Europe.

This trading route that connects the East as well as the West, had enhanced the exchanges of commodities, people and culture amongst nations situated on the road.

In an effort to revive the ancient Maritime Silk Road and bring a lot more benefits towards the relevant nations and peoples, the initiative that China and nations along the ancient Maritime Silk Road would create with each other a brand new Maritime Silk Road in the 21st Century was proposed by China.

Such an initiative draws inspiration both from history and from most up-to-date developments within the 21st century. The aim would be to inject powerful impetus in enhancing political mutual trust, deepening economic cooperation, and promoting cultural at the same time as people-to-people exchanges amongst relevant countries via joint cooperation, prevalent development and regional integration. All countries along the Maritime Silk Road are welcome to strategy, develop and advantage together in the initiative.

Since the initiative was initial raised, lots of countries have actively supported and engaged themselves in the development of the or the Silk Road Economic Belt (the “Belt and Road” for short) or each.

On Oct. 24, 2014, twenty-first Asian nations signed the Memorandum of Understanding on Establishing the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) in Beijing, aiming to finance and facilitate infrastructure constructions for Asian nations along the “Belt and Road”.

The MOU specifies that the authorized capital of AIIB is 100 billion U.S. dollars and the initial subscribed capital is anticipated to be around 50 billion dollars. The paid-in ratio are going to be 20 percent.

The 21 nations are Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, China, India, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Laos, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Oman, Pakistan, the Philippines, Qatar, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Uzbekistan and Vietnam.

In the APEC Summit 2014 held in Beijing in November, 2014, China announced to contribute US$40 billion to setup a Silk Road Fund to supply investment and financial support to carry out infrastructure, sources, industrial and financial cooperation along with other projects associated to connectivity for nations along the “Belt and Road”.

With additional support from other countries and wider coverage across the area, the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road has develop into an initiative not for one nation but for all countries who welcome and support the initiative and are functioning together closely with each other for financial and social advancement too as for the welfare of their peoples. The 21st Century Maritime Silk Road has generally been and can still be open to all countries along the road.

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