Thursday, November 18, 2021

The Silk Road: A Very Short Introduction

The silk road is a place and a legend. It brings to mind long treks over barren landscapes to connect Europe and Asia. The area was ancient "flyover country". Central Asia was a place you went through, not a destination. However, the area was more than just pass-through country. Great armies rose out of central Asia and conquered much of the known world. The Genghis Khan and the Mongols conquered a huge swath of the world. Horses were one of the key exports from the silk road region. The landscape has high on area and low on population. The towns that did exist would often have their own markets with a plethora of good traded.

The book focuses as much on the modern central Asia as it does on the ancient silk road. The area from Western China to Eastern Europe remains vast and underpopulated, yet rich with natural resources. The population is still fairly dispersed, with even the urbanized areas remain sparse by world standards.

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