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Change Over Time Essay

1078 words - 5 pages

In 300 C.E., trade routes were primarily between Europe and North Africa. The way that they changed by 1450 C.E. was that they expanded southward and westward. By 1450, these trade routes went all the way through West Africa, sub-Saharan Africa, and the Indian Ocean. One factor that was unchanged during this time period was that the northern coast of Africa was always involved in the trade between Africa and the rest of Eurasia. The trade networks between African and Eurasia remained very important during this time period by means of the trade networks contributions to the Afro-Eurasian world. The ebb and flow of trade between Africa and Eurasia during the period 300 to 1450 C.E really reflects the struggles and fortunes of the three dominant religions in the area; Christianity, Buddhism and an upstart known as Islam. Although Christianity and Buddhism were well established by this time, the growth of Islam was a catalyst to many of the changes about to occur, such as new trade partners. Christianity and Buddhism were continuities, whereas a new religion called Islam was an example of change.

In 622 C.E., Islam was founded which helped flourish trade. The founding of Islam amplified trade because Islam linked Swahili city-states to the larger Indian Ocean which was an important part of the trade routes between Africa and Eurasia. In the Southern ends of the Swahili world the birth of Islam extended the impact of the Indian Ocean trade well into the African interior. Trans-Saharan trade instituted Islam in East Africa. It also introduced writing, enriched education and business, and caused a shift in political structures. The unexpected spurt of urbanization that accompanied the growth of Islamic civilization promoted trade. This was a change, because the birth of Islam was during this time period which changed trade networks by helping them grow as well as assisting the growth of Islam. Islam linked many places, such as China together, as a result, it helped trade and connections during this time. As Islam evolved, the two existing religions, as well as the population evolved with it, creating new urban centers, trade routes, and trade partners.

One quality that was retained by the Afro-Eurasian trade network was that the trade networks of these regions served as conduits for religion. The spread of religious ideas has always been important along trade routes especially because of the usefulness merchants found in a common religion. An example of this continual spread of religion through trade networks can be found on the Eurasian Silk Road. Buddhism was the foremost faith of Silk Road merchants until 700 C.E., and managed to spread to Indian merchants in Ceylon, Bactria, Iran, and China. Indian merchants utilizing the sea routes of the Indian Ocean also spread Hinduism all over Southeast Asia throughout this entire time frame. Two religions that had been in balance in Asia were suddenly thrown out of balance by Islam. As a result, Muslim...

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