Silk Road Trade & Travel Encyclopedia

Interesting Facts & Trivia

31 - QUESTION:  What type of routes increased as Silk Routes became less travelled?

Answer:  Maritime (Sea routes).

Due to the explorers of the "Age of Discovery," and the development of new types of shipping vessels, transcontinental Eurasian trade along the overland Silk Routes began to decline after the 15th century. Although maritime routes to China were well known even in antiquity, the increased use of maritime routes led to the rise of maritime trade. Like the Silk Road, trade upon these routes was usually conducted not by one person making a lengthy journey, but of a great many “middlemen” who each traveled a portion of the route, bartering or trading as they traveled. In the 15th century, the Portuguese under Prince Henry the Navigator “discovered” the sea route, which became known in later centuries as “The Porcelain Route.”

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