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Networks of Trade between Afro-Eurasian Civilizations: A Historical Overview

Afro-Eurasian civilizations and network of trades

Civilizations are considered to be an important part of understanding human history. It has been noticed that human civilizations always have some sort of great ancient history related to it. Afro-Eurasian Civilization is one of the known civilizations across the globe. It has been noticed that this civilization made its presence as early as 2300 BCE and it was noticed that this civilization also showed the traits of the commercial relationship. It can be said that this civilization has a different set of trade networks and to date, it has been noticed that trade in this civilization was way different from others. This essay will talk about the networks of trade that existed between Afro-Eurasian civilizations. It will also include the significant points of this trade between Afro-Eurasian civilizations.

Afro-Eurasian civilizations and network of trades

Afro-Eurasian civilizations are known for a lot of things and one of the major things which were noticed between them was the way they traded. It has been noticed that before 1492 there was a big amount of trade exchange going between the two civilizations. It was noticed that the major part of the trade was done through the road network and it was seen that the trade between these civilizations was quite different (Beaujard, 2017). One thing which has been noticed over the years is that for any civilization to grow it is important to have a network of trades. Networks of trade always present an opportunity for the civilization to grow and make sure that there is regular development taking place. Afro-Eurasian Civilizations have a major role in history as it was seen that the trade between these two civilizations started the movement from the East to the West side of the world. The network of trades between these two civilizations changed over time as it was witnessed that there were new routes adopted by the rulers of this region.

Silk Road – A mode of trade connection

The Silk Road was one of the common paths of trade between Afro-Eurasian civilizations. Silk Road was a network of Eurasian trade routes which were connected to the East and the west. Through this route, a significant amount of trade used to take place and it was seen that a vast amount of things were exchanged between these two civilizations (Guan, 2016). The silk route started in the ruler ship of the Han dynasty in China in around 130 B.C. Through this route, the journey to the west begins, and at the same time, it was witnessed that this route turned out to be one of the most extensive routes of that time. This route also connected southeast of Asia (Castillo, Bellina & Fuller, 2016). Silk route was spanning from the Korean Peninsula and Japan to the Mediterranean Sea.  It can be said that this was by far the longest trading route in that time and it can be said that the development in West and East is due to this trade route. This trade route connected the two giants of that civilization and made sure that there is proper interaction between the two civilizations. The name Silk Road or Silk Routes was given because China was a big exporter of Silk and through this route, there was great trading of silk. This route was there till the late 14th century. When someone turns down the pages of the history, then the name of the Ancient and historic Silk Route is always mentioned.

Silk Road – A mode of trade connection

Importance of trade connection between Afro Eurasian civilizations

Trade between two countries is termed to be a room which can help in the development of two regions. In ancient times, trade was considered to be important for the local civilization. East and West were considered to be quite distinct but with trade connections between these two civilizations, there was room for change. It was seen that this trade between Afro-Eurasian was just not about the material good. But there were some major exchanges between Afro-Eurasian civilizations as one witnessed the trading of social, religious, and philosophical ideas between two civilizations (Whitfield, 2019). It can be said that this trade route was more about exchanging ideas and also learning new languages. Whenever such exchange takes place between two civilizations then there is a major change taking place. It was also noticed that even diseases were transmitted through this trade channel. Silk Road can be termed as one of the longest routes which connected two different civilizations and which witnessed a lot of changes taking.

Silk Road/Route Importance

Silk route has its importance as this route is regarded as one of the historic as well as ancient forms of the route. It can be said that if there was no Silk route or Silk road then it could have been difficult for the Eastern part of the world to connect with the western side. It was seen that Silk Route was the major conduit for trade between China and Roman Empire. There was a huge transfer of resources from this route. It was just not about the trade of routes which were quite common in the Silk Route (Rui, 2021). Silk Route was the major reason through which religion and its basic spread between the regions. It can be said that the Silk route is important in history because without it the big trading path was not possible. The connection of the two biggest civilizations was not possible without the Silk route. It was seen that Silk traveled to the Western side of the world and Wools, gold, and silver went to the east side. It was also seen that the ideas of Buddhism and Christianity also spread through this trade path (Taylor et al., 2018).

Major global trade routes from 1400

The silk route is considered to be one of the significant trade routes which connected the eastern part of the world with the western part of the world. It was witnessed that there was another network of trades that existed between Afro-Eurasian civilizations. One such trade route was the sea route which connected Asia – Africa and Europe. It can be said that this route was majorly used by voyages of Zheng He. It was seen that this route was from Southern Asia and later connected to Africa as well as Europe. This was considered to be a trade route that was used for trade for a major time. This trade route was considered to be quite a dangerous route of the network as it was seen that this trade route was having the risk of ocean waves. It was also noticed that the number of casualties from this sea route was quite high as compared to the Silk route.

Importance of trade connection between Afro Eurasian civilizations

The Mali Empire

Mali Empire is considered to be an important empire belonging to Africa. It was witnessed that they were an important part of the trade as it was seen that the network from Africa for trades to Europe and Asia got high significance under this empire. It was seen that through trade there was a change in tradition in the Empire (Zaid, 2020). They were another empire that considered the Silk Route as one of the major network routes of connection and they supported the trade between the countries and regions.


Based on the above discussions, it can be summarized that the Silk route was one of the major routes in the African-Eurasian civilization. This route proved to be a major route as it was seen that through this route, there was the transfer of resources between western and eastern parts of the world. It was witnessed that there even scholar and religious ideology got heavy exchange through this path. One major thing about this path was that it made interaction between two sides of the possible. This was a route that was majorly on land. On the other hand, there was another route, which was majorly through the sea route. This sea route was used by the Chinese emperor Zheng He. It can be said that these major networks of routes proved to be significant for both sides of the civilization and one can witness major development in ancient history through this route.


Beaujard, P. (2017). The progressive integration of eastern Africa into an Afro-Eurasian world-system, first–fifteenth centuries ce. In The Swahili World (pp. 365-377). Routledge.

Castillo, C. C., Bellina, B., & Fuller, D. Q. (2016). Rice, beans and trade crops on the early maritime Silk Route in Southeast Asia. Antiquity, 90(353), 1255-1269.

Guan, K. C. (2016). The maritime silk road: history of an idea. NSC Working Paper23, 1-20.

Rui, C. (2021). On the Ancient History of the Silk Road. World Scientific.

Taylor, W., Shnaider, S., Abdykanova, A., Fages, A., Welker, F., Irmer, F., ... & Boivin, N. (2018). Early pastoral economies along the Ancient Silk Road: biomolecular evidence from the Alay Valley, Kyrgyzstan. PloS one, 13(10), e0205646.

Whitfield, S. (Ed.). (2019). Silk Roads: Peoples, Cultures, Landscapes. University of California Press.

Zaid, S. (2020). Trade and Civilisation: Economic Networks and Cultural Ties, from Prehistory to the Early Modern Era ed. by Kristian Kristiansen, Thomas Lindkvist, and Janken Myrdal. Journal of Eastern Mediterranean Archaeology and Heritage Studies, 8(2), 202-205.

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