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Around 114 BCE – 1450s CE
The Silk Road was a network of trade routes connecting the Western world with the Middle East and Asia. It was a major path for trade between the Roman Empire and China and later between medieval European kingdoms and China. The east-west trade routes between Greece and China began to open during the 1st and 2nd centuries B.C.
Trade along the Silk Road economic belt included fruits and vegetables, grain, livestock, leather and hides, artwork, religious objects, tools, precious stones and metals, language, culture, religious beliefs, philosophy and science. The rich spices of the East quickly became popular in the West.
The Silk Road routes also helped explorers seeking to better understand the culture and geography of the Far East. Marco Polo used the Silk Road to travel from Italy to China. His book, "The Travels of Marco Polo," gave Europeans a better understanding of Asian commerce and culture.
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