Tuesday, May 13, 2008

From conquest to commerce...

From conquest to commerce...

First published at Qassia:

During its heyday the Yuan dynasty, founded by Kublai Khan, fostered trade and travel, leading to what has been termed "the greatest expansion of commerce in Eurasian history." This was the era of the great Venetian traveller, Marco Polo(1254-1324). Travelling overland or by ship, Arabian, Persian, Indian, and European traders took with them horses, carpets, gems, and spices, which they exchanged for ceramics, lacquerware, and silk.

In 1492, Christopher Columbus, with a copy of Marco Polo's travels in hand, sailed westward from Europe, hoping to re-establish trading contact with the Mongol court. He was, however, unaware that the empire had ceased to exist more than a century earlier! Its fall had caused a collapse of communications , and the Muslims barred use of the land route from Europe to the East.

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