The Silk Road was and is a network of trade routes connecting the East and West , and was central to the economic, cultural, political, and religious interactions between these regions from the 2nd century BCE to the 18th century. The Han dynasty expanded the Central Asian section of the trade routes around BCE through the missions and explorations of the Chinese imperial envoy Zhang Qian , as well as several military conquests. The Silk Road trade played a significant role in the development of the civilizations of China, Korea ,  Japan ,  the Indian subcontinent , Iran , Europe, the Horn of Africa and Arabia, opening long-distance political and economic relations between the civilizations. So in addition to economic trade, the Silk Road was a route for cultural trade among the civilizations along its network. In the present day trade takes place on the Silk Road on land and on the maritime branch. The Indian portion is on the tentative site list.
Asian shipwrecks: Trade routes map
Asia - Trade | Britannica
In ancient times, regions of Asia had commercial relations among themselves as well as with parts of Europe and Africa. In the earliest days nomadic peoples traded over considerable distances, using barter as the medium of exchange. Particularly important in such trade were fine textiles, silk, gold and other metals, various precious and semiprecious stones, and spices and aromatic products. Trade between Europe and Asia expanded considerably during the Greek era about the 4th century bce , by which time various land routes had been well established connecting Greece , via Anatolia Asia Minor , with the northwestern part of the Indian subcontinent. Further development of land and sea routes from the Mediterranean basin, especially to southern India , occurred during Roman times. This east-west trade flourished in the first four centuries ce but was subject to considerable vicissitudes in later centuries. During that period trade also expanded considerably to Southeast Asia and to China through what are now Malaysia and Cambodia.
10 Historical and Trade Route Maps of Southeast Asia
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