by Wikipedia
published on 28 April 2011
Hellenic Trade Routes, 300 BCE (Jan van der Crabben)

Trade is believed to have taken place throughout much of recorded human history. There is evidence of the exchange of obsidian and flint during the Stone Age. Materials used for creating jewelry were traded with Egypt since 3000 BCE. Long-range trade routes first appeared in the 3rd millennium BCE, when Sumerians in Mesopotamia traded with the Harappan civilization of the Indus Valley.

The Phoenicians were noted sea traders, traveling across the Mediterranean Sea, and as far north as Britain for sources of tin to manufacture bronze. For this purpose they established trade colonies the Greeks called emporia. From the beginning of Greek civilization until the fall of the Roman empire in the 5th century CE, a financially lucrative trade brought valuable spices to Europe from the Far East, including China.

Roman commerce allowed its empire to flourish and endure. The Roman Empire produced a stable and secure transportation network that enabled the shipment of trade goods without fear of significant piracy.

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Visual Timeline
  • 7500 BCE
    Long-distance trade in obsidian begins.
  • c. 3000 BCE - c. 2600 BCE
    The rise of the great Indian cities of Mohenjo Daro and Harappa.
  • c. 1900 BCE - c. 1400 BCE
    Trade flourishes between Mesopotamia and other regions.
  • c. 620 BCE
    Posible founding date for Ostia, the port of Rome.
  • 138 BCE - 126 BCE
    Zhang Qian, as envoy of the Han emperor, opens up the 'Silk Road' trading route between China and central Asia.
  • c. 1 CE
    First non-stop voyages from Egypt to India.
  • 200 CE
    Completion of the Roman road system.
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