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Earth and Its People Chapter 7 Outline

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Table of contents

The Impact of the Silk Road

  • The Silk Road at first caused many pastoral groups to form. Eventually, rich families did settleand build large establishments.
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  • The Silk Road allowed the spread of religions ( see chart above ) such as Nestorian Christianity,Manichaeism, Zoroastrianism, and Buddhism.
  • The stirrup spread though out the Silk Road. It allowed riders to be much more stable and thuscaused military innovation. i. e. the superiority of the Tang calvary in China.

The Indian Ocean Maritime System

  • The Indian Ocean Maritime System was a society of seafarers established across the IndianOcean and South China Sea.
  • This trade system linked a network of sea trade routes from Africa to China. The main playerswere Africans, South Arabian Persian, and the Southern Chinese people (including theIndonesians and Malays).
  • Although much of the discoveries of new lands and waters were attributed to famous peoplesuch as Zhang Jian or Hippalus, we must not forget the the indigenous people of these areasalso greatly contributed to their expansions.

Origins of Contact and Trade

  • Madagascar is the world’s fourth largest island.
  • 2000 years ago, people from one of the many Indonesian islands of Southeast Asia establishedthemselves in the mountainous land of Madagascar, 9,500 kilometers from home.
  • These people kept much of their traditions but eventually lost most of it.  The Impact of Indian Ocean Trade
  • The precious materials wanted in trade included ivory and minerals.
  • Evidence of ancient copper mines has been found in Oman in southeastern Arabia.
  • However, this volume of trade was less than the amount occurring in the Mediterranean.
  • In the Indian area, the ports were small due to geographical problems such as inland monsoonwater not by the sea.
  • India, the Malay Peninsula, and Indonesia afforded more hospitable and densely populatedshores with easier access to inland populations.
  • The empires that existed through out this Indus area never bothered to develop as muchmaritime powers as the Greeks or the Phoenocians did.
  • The families around the coastal Indian area established bilingual and bicultural systems.

Routes Across the Sahara Early Saharan Cultures

  • The Sahara is broken only by the Nile River.
  • The trans-Saharan Caravan Routes were forced into existence due to the lack of water in manyareas.
  • Before the Sahara became dry (pre 2500 B. C. E. ), this area was quite wet with a diverse group of animals.
  • Many believe that people from Mediterranean civilizations such as the Minoans, Mycenaeans, orRomans may have rode chariots into the Saharan deserts. However, this evidence is lacking. Trade Across the Sahara
  • Traders developed into two groups: the north and south.
  • The North primarily focused on salt trade.
  • People from the souther Sahel brought forest and agriculture goods.

Sub-Saharan Africa. A challenging Geography

  • The use of rivers was limited by the many rapids in the rivers.
  • The Southern Sahara area was limited and surrounded by many obstacles such as the Niger,Zaire, Senegal Rivers, the Red Sea, the Saharan Desert, etc.
  • South of the Sahara are the steppes and savanna rain forests. These places were difficult totraverse.

The Development of Cultural Unity

  • "Anthropologists call “Great Traditions” those that typically include a written language, commonlegal and belief systems, ethical codes, and other intellectual attitudes.
  • They loom large inwritten records as traditions that rise above the diversity of local customs and beliefs commonlydistinguished as “small traditions. ”
  • The elite culture in the sub-Saharan area turned the area into a Great Tradition area.
  • This area is home to ~ 2000 languages. African Cultural Characteristics
  • African culture is shaped by the geographically different conditions of the lands.
  • The post ice age time caused the diverse group of people to form.
  • Although the population flourished at first, the increase in dryness over the long period of timecaused the diverse groups of people to recede into specific areas.

The Advent of Iron and the Bantu Migrations

  • Agriculture started in the 2nd millennium B. C. E. and spread southward from the area by theSahara.
  • Archaeology has also uncovered traces of copper mining in the Sahara from the early firstmillennium B. C. E.
  • Copper smelting was during 400 C. E.
  • Iron smelting was around the 1st millennium C. E.
  • The Africans of Bantu probably figured out how to smelt iron by themselves. The Spread of Ideas Ideas and Material Evidence
  • In SE Asian, pig domestication was extremely important.
  • Coinage in Anatolia and Europe was extremely popular. At the same time coinage in China was also very popular.
  • The Spread of Buddhism

The Silk Road

The Silk Road was an overland route that linked China to the Mediterranean world via Mesopotamia, Iran, and Central Asia. There were two periods of heavy use of the Silk Road: (1) 150 b. c. e. –907 c. e. and (2) the thirteenth through seventeenth centuries c. e. The origins of the Silk Road trade may be located in the occasional trading of Central Asian nomads.

Regular, large-scale trade was fostered by the Chinese demand for western products (particularly horses) and by the Parthian state in northeastern Iran and its control of the markets in Mesopotamia. 3. In addition to horses, China imported alfalfa, grapes, and a variety of other new crops as well as medicinal products, metals, and precious stones. China exported peaches and apricots, spices, and manufactured goods including silk, pottery, and paper.

Turkic nomads, who became the dominant pastoralist group in Central Asia, benefited from the trade. Their elites constructed houses, lived settled lives, and became interested in foreign religions including Christianity, Manicheanism, Zoroastrianism, Buddhism, and (eventually) Islam. Central Asian military technologies, particularly the stirrup, were exported both east and west, with significant consequences for the conduct of war.

The Sasanid Empire, 224-600 CE

The Sasanid kingdom was established in 224 and controlled the areas of Iran and Mesopotamia.The Sasanid Empire made Zoroastrianism its official religion. The Byzantine Empire made Christianity its official religion. Both Zoroastrianism and Christianity were intolerant of other religions.  In the third century Mani of Mesopotamia founded a religion whose beliefs centered around the struggle between Good and Evil. Mani was killed by the Sasanid shah, but Manichaeism spread widely in Central Asia.

Arabs had some awareness of these religions conflicts and knew about Christianity.

The Indian Ocean Maritime System

There is evidence of early trade between ancient Mesopotamia and the Indus Valley. This trade appears to have broken off as Mesopotamia turned more toward trade with East Africa. Two thousand years ago, Malay sailors from Southeast Asia migrated to the islands of Madagascar. These migrants, however, did not retain communications or trade with their homeland. The Impact of Indian Ocean Trade 1. What little we know about trade in the Indian Ocean system before Islam is gleaned largely from a single first century Greco-Egyptian text, The Periplus of the Erythrean Sea. This account describes a trading system that must have been well established and flourishing when the account was written. The goods traded included a wide variety of spices, aromatic resins, pearls, Chinese pottery, and other luxury goods. The volume of trade was probably not as high as in the Mediterranean.The culture of the Indian Ocean ports was often isolated from that of their hinterlands. In the western part of the Indian Ocean, trading ports did not have access to large inland populations of potential consumers.

Even in those eastern Indian and Malay peninsula ports that did have access to large inland populations, the civilizations did not become oriented toward the sea.  Traders and sailors in the Indian Ocean system often married local women in the ports that they frequented. These women thus became mediators between cultures.

Routes Across the Sahara

Undateable rock paintings in the highland areas that separate the southern from the northern Sahara indicate the existence of an early Saharan hunting culture that was later joined by cattle breeders who are portrayed as looking rather like contemporary West Africans. The artwork indicates that the cattle breeders were later succeeded by horse herders who drove chariots.

There is no evidence to support the earlier theory that these charioteers might have been Minoan or Mycenaean refugees. But there is also no evidence to show us either their origins or their fate. The highland rock art indicates that camel riders followed the charioteers. The camel was introduced from Arabia and its introduction and domestication in the Sahara was probably related to the development of the trans-Saharan trade. Written evidence and the design of camel saddles and patterns of camel use indicate a south-to-north diffusion of camel riding. The camel made it possible for people from the southern highlands of the Sahara to roam the desert and to establish contacts with the people of the northern Sahara. Trade Across the Sahara  Trade across the Sahara developed slowly when two local trading systems, one in the southern Sahara and one in the north, were linked. Traders in the southern Sahara had access to desert salt deposits and exported salt to the sub-Saharan regions in return for kola nuts and palm oil.

Traders in the north exported agricultural products and wild animals to Italy.

Sub-Saharan Africa

Sub-Saharan Africa is a large area with many different environmental zones and many geographical obstacles to movement. Some of the significant geographical areas are the Sahel, the tropical savanna, the tropical rain forest of the lower Niger and Zaire, the savanna area south of the rain forest, steppe and desert below that, and the temperate highlands of South Africa. The Development of Cultural Unity Scholars draw a distinction between the "great traditions" of ruling elite culture in a civilization and the many "small traditions" of the common people. In sub-Saharan Africa no overarching "great tradition" developed. Sub-Saharan Africa is a vast territory of many "small traditions. " Historians know very little about the prehistory of these many "small traditions" and their peoples.  African cultures are highly diverse. The estimated two thousand spoken languages of the continent and the numerous different food production systems reflect the diversity of the African ecology and the difficulty of communication and trade between different groups.

Another reason for the long dominance of "small traditions" is that no foreign power was able to conquer Africa and thus impose a unified "great tradition. "

African Cultural Characteristics

Despite their diversity, African cultures display certain common features that attest to an underlying cultural unity that some scholars have called "Africanity. "  One of these common cultural features is a concept of kingship in which kings are ritually isolated and oversee societies in which the people are arranged in age groups and kinship ivisions.  Other common features include cultivation with the hoe and digging stick, the use of rhythm in African music, and the functions of dancing and mask wearing in rituals. 4. One hypothesis offered to explain this cultural unity holds that the people of sub-Saharan Africa are descended from the people who occupied the southern Sahara during its "wet period" and migrated south the Sahel, where their cultural traditions developed.

The Advent of Iron and the Bantu Migrations

Sub-Saharan agriculture had its origins north of the equator and then spread southward. Iron working also began north of the equator and spread southward, reaching southern Africa by 800 c. e.  Linguistic evidence suggests that the spread of iron and other technology in sub-Saharan Africa was the result of a phenomenon known as the Bantu migrations. The original homeland of the Bantu people was in the area on the border of modern Nigeria and Cameroon. Evidence suggests that the Bantu people spread out toward the east and the south through a series of migrations over the period of the first millennium c. . By the eight century, Bantu-speaking people had reached East Africa.

The Spread of Ideas

It is extremely difficult, sometimes impossible, to trace the dissemination of ideas in preliterate societies.

For example, eating pork was restricted or prohibited by religious belief in Southeast Asia, in ancient Egypt, and in eastern Iran. Because Southeast Asia was an early center of pig domestication, scholars hypothesize that the pig and the religious injunctions concerning eating the pig traveled together toward the west. This has not been proved. Another difficult problem involves the invention of coins. In the Mediterranean world, the coins were invented in Anatolia and spread from there to Europe, North Africa, and India.

Chinese made cast copper coins—was this inspired by the Anatolian example? There is no way of knowing.

The Spread of Buddhism

The spread of ideas in a deliberate and organized fashion such that we can trace it is a phenomenon of the first millennium c. e. This is particularly the case with the spread of Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam. The spread of Buddhism was facilitated both by royal sponsorship and by the travels of ordinary pilgrims and missionaries.

In India, the Mauryan king Ashoka and King Kanishka of the Kushans actively supported Buddhism. Two of the most well-known pilgrims who helped to transmit Buddhism to China were the Chinese monks Faxian and Xuanzang. Both have left reliable narrative accounts of their journeys. Buddhist missionaries from India traveled to a variety of destinations: west to Syria, Egypt, and Mesopotamia, as well as to Sri Lanka, southeast Asia, and Tibet.  Buddhism was changed and further developed in the lands to which it spread.

Theravada Buddhism became dominant in Sri Lanka, Mahayana in Tibet, and Chan (Zen) in East Asia.

 The Spread of Christianity

1Armenia was an important entrepot for the Silk Road trade. Mediterranean states spread Christianity to Armenia in order to bring that kingdom over to its side and thus deprive Iran of control of this area.  The transmission of Christianity to Ethiopia was similarly linked to a Mediterranean Christian attempt to deprive Iran of trade.

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