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When was the silk route active?

When was the silk route active?

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I searched for it but didn't find a particular answer. I didn't want the time when it was found. I know Silk route is dated to as old as 2 BC (from what I read) but when was it the most active ?

Thanks !

From circa 200 BCE to 1453.

"The Silk Road derives its name from the lucrative trade in Chinese silk carried out along its length, beginning during the Han dynasty (207 BCE - 220 CE)." wikipedia

"The Silk Road stopped serving as a shipping route for silk about 1453 with the Ottoman supremacy at Constantinople. " wikipedia

The Silk Road existed from about 220 BC (the establishment of the Han dynasty) to 1453 AD (the fall of Constantinople), but was active for much shorter periods of time, in two subperiods, under the Tang and Yuan dynasties.

The Tang Dynasty (630-760). This is not the whole period of the Tang Dynasty (618-907), but only its zenith. During the zenith, the Tang either subjugated troublesome tribes to the west (e.g. the Turks) or maintained good relations with them (the Tibetans). And the Tang were interested in connecting "east" to "west" China. As a result, trade goods enjoyed relatively safe passage from modern North China, through modern Turkestan and Tibet and north India, all the way to Persia and Arabia. Subsequent to 760, more and more of the "silk road" fell under hostile powers, until by 900, the Tang dynasty controlled very little of it.

The Yuan Dynasty (1271-the early 1360s). Kublai Khan finally managed to bring all of China under heel. His grandfather, Ghengis Khan, had already conquered Turkish and Persian, and Ukrainian possessions to the west, extending the silk road all the way to eastern Europe (e.g. the modern Ukraine), which were all ruled by other "family" members. This control lasted until the Ming Revolution of 1368.

Active: The 2nd Century BC to the 1st Century AD Location: From Asia to Europe passing through China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Turkey, Greece, and Italy. Chinese Regions along the Route: Shaanxi, Gansu, Qinghai, Xinjiang

The Han Empire was locked in a major war with the nomadic Xiongnu people, and the Han Dynasty wanted big Fergana Valley war horses for their cavalry to ride to defeat their enemies.

The main Silk Road branched at Dunhuang. Click for more Silk Road maps.
  • The main Silk Road went from China's capital through Central Asia to Europe,
  • a southern branch went through the Karakorum mountains,
  • a northern branch went into Russia and then west, went through Tibet to India, and went via seas to the Middle East and Europe.

The Silk Road: Connecting China with The Mediterranean Essay

The Silk Road, a series of passageways connecting China with the Mediterranean, completely changed the world. These trade routes allowed the advancement of technology and cultural diversity like never before seen. These routes connected many different civilizations allowing the exchange of goods and ideas. This variety of nationalities made it a “Cultural Bridge between Asia and Europe. ” Before these pathways were established trade was nearly impossible, due to extreme desert conditions and high


Operations Edit

Silk Road was founded in February 2011. [19] The name "Silk Road" comes from a historical network of trade routes started during the Han Dynasty (206 BC – AD 220) between Europe, India, China, and many other countries on the Afro-Eurasian landmass. [7] Silk Road was operated by the pseudonymous "Dread Pirate Roberts" (named after the fictional character from The Princess Bride), who was known for espousing libertarian ideals and criticizing regulation. [3] [20] Two other individuals were also closely involved in the site's growth and success, known as Variety Jones and Smedley. [21]

In June 2011, Gawker published an article about the site [22] which led to an increase notoriety and website traffic. [9] U.S. Senator Charles Schumer asked federal law enforcement authorities to shut it down, including the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and Department of Justice. [23]

In May 2013, Silk Road was taken down for a short period of time by a sustained DDoS attack. [24] On 23 June 2013, it was first reported that the DEA seized 11.02 bitcoins, then worth a total of $814, which the media suspected was a result of a Silk Road honeypot sting. [25] [26] [27] The FBI has claimed that the real IP address of the Silk Road server was found via data leaked directly from the site's CAPTCHA and it was located in Reykjavík, Iceland. [28] [29]

Henry Farrell, an associate professor of political science and international affairs at George Washington University, analyzed Silk Road in an essay for Aeon in 2015. [30] He noted that Ulbricht created the marketplace to function without government oversight but found it difficult to verify anonymous transactions. To sustain a steady stream of revenue, he started increasing oversight to ensure low transaction costs. To do this, he added measures to ensure trustworthiness with implementation of an automated escrow payment system and automated review system. [ citation needed ]

Arrest and trial of Ross Ulbricht Edit

Due, in part, to off-duty research conducted by IRS criminal investigator Gary Alford, [31] Ross Ulbricht was alleged by the FBI to be the founder and owner of Silk Road and the person behind the pseudonym "Dread Pirate Roberts" (DPR). He was arrested on 2 October 2013 in San Francisco [14] [32] [33] [34] at 3:15 p.m. PDT [35] in Glen Park Library, a branch of the San Francisco Public Library. [35] Ulbricht was indicted on charges of money laundering, computer hacking, conspiracy to traffic narcotics, [35] [36] and attempting to have six people killed. [37] Prosecutors alleged that Ulbricht paid $730,000 to others to commit the murders, although none of the murders actually occurred. [37] [38] Ulbricht ultimately was not prosecuted for any of the alleged murder attempts. [39]

The FBI initially seized 26,000 bitcoins from accounts on Silk Road, worth approximately $3.6 million at the time. An FBI spokesperson said that the agency would hold the bitcoins until Ulbricht's trial finished, after which the bitcoins would be liquidated. [40] In October 2013, the FBI reported that it had seized 144,000 bitcoins, worth $28.5 million, and that the bitcoins belonged to Ulbricht. [41] On 27 June 2014, the U.S. Marshals Service sold 29,657 bitcoins in 10 blocks in an online auction, estimated to be worth $18 million at contemporary rates and only about a quarter of the seized bitcoins. Another 144,342 bitcoins were kept which had been found on Ulbricht's computer, roughly $87 million. [42] Tim Draper bought the bitcoins at the auction with an estimated worth of $17 million, to lend them to a bitcoin start-up called Vaurum which is working in developing economies of emerging markets. [43]

Ulbricht's trial began on 13 January 2015 in federal court in Manhattan. [44] At the start of the trial, Ulbricht admitted to founding the Silk Road website, but claimed to have transferred control of the site to other people soon after he founded it. [45] Ulbricht's lawyers contended that Dread Pirate Roberts was really Mark Karpelès, and that Karpelès set up Ulbricht as a fall guy. [46] However, Judge Katherine B. Forrest ruled that any speculative statements regarding whether Karpelès or anyone else ran Silk Road would not be allowed, and statements already made would be stricken from the record. [47]

In the second week of the trial, prosecutors presented documents and chat logs from Ulbricht's computer that, they said, demonstrated how Ulbricht had administered the site for many months, which contradicted the defense's claim that Ulbricht had relinquished control of Silk Road. Ulbricht's attorney suggested that the documents and chat logs were planted there by way of BitTorrent, which was running on Ulbricht's computer at the time of his arrest. [47]

On 4 February 2015, the jury convicted Ulbricht of seven charges, [17] including charges of engaging in a continuing criminal enterprise, narcotics trafficking, money laundering, and computer hacking. He faced 30 years to life in prison. [1] [2] The government also accused Ulbricht of paying for the murders of at least five people, but there is no evidence that the murders were actually carried out, and the accusations never became formal charges against Ulbricht. [48] [49]

During the trial, Judge Forrest received death threats. [38] Users of an underground site called The Hidden Wiki posted her personal information there, including her address and Social Security number. Ulbricht's lawyer Joshua Dratel said that he and his client "obviously, and as strongly as possible, condemn" the anonymous postings against the judge. "They do not in any way have anything to do with Ross Ulbricht or anyone associated with him or reflect his views or those of anyone associated with him", Dratel said. [50]

In late March 2015, a criminal complaint issued by the United States District Court for the Northern District of California led to the arrest of two former federal agents who had worked undercover in the Baltimore Silk Road investigation of Ulbricht, former Drug Enforcement Administration agent Carl Mark Force IV and Secret Service agent Shaun Bridges. [51] [52] The agents are alleged to have kept funds that Ulbricht transferred to them in exchange for purported information about the investigation. [51] [53] The agents were charged with wire fraud and money laundering. [54] In late November 2016, Ulbricht's lawyers brought forward a case on a third DEA agent, who they claim was leaking information about the investigation and tampered with evidence to omit chat logs showing conversations with him. [55]

In a letter to Judge Forrest before his sentencing, Ulbricht stated that his actions through Silk Road were committed through libertarian idealism and that "Silk Road was supposed to be about giving people the freedom to make their own choices" and admitted that he made a "terrible mistake" that "ruined his life". [56] [57] On 29 May 2015, Ulbricht was given five sentences to be served concurrently, including two of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. [58] He was also ordered to forfeit $183 million. Ulbricht's lawyer Joshua Dratel said that he would appeal the sentencing and the original guilty verdict. [48] On 31 May 2017, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit denied Ulbricht's appeal, and affirmed the judgment of conviction and life sentence, in a written opinion authored by the Gerard E. Lynch, United States circuit judge. [59] The Supreme Court declined to review the case. [60]

Other trials Edit

In February 2013, an Australian cocaine and MDMA ("ecstasy") dealer became the first person to be convicted of crimes directly related to Silk Road, after authorities intercepted drugs that he was importing through the mail, searched his premises, and discovered his Silk Road alias in an image file on his personal computer. [61] Australian police and the DEA have targeted Silk Road users and made arrests, albeit with limited success at reaching convictions. [22] [62] [63] In December 2013, a New Zealand man was sentenced to two years and four months in jail after being convicted of importing 15 grams of methamphetamine that he had bought on Silk Road. [64]

Twenty-three-year-old Dutch drug dealer Cornelis Jan "Maikel" Slomp [65] pled guilty to large-scale selling of drugs through the Silk Road website, and was sentenced in Chicago to 10 years in prison on 29 May 2015 with his attorney, Paul Petruzzi, present. [66] [67] Dealer Steven Sadler was sentenced to five years in prison. There have been over 130 other arrests connected with Silk Road, although some of these arrests may not be directly related to Silk Road, and may not be public information due to legal reasons. [68] [69] [70]

Later seizures Edit

On 3 November 2020, after years of inactivity, observers of the bitcoin blockchain detected that two transactions totaling 69,370 bitcoin and bitcoin cash, [71] worth approximately $1 billion in total at the time of transfer, had been made from a bitcoin address associated with the Silk Road. [72] At the time of transfer, it was worth 58 times its value in 2015. [73] It was subsequently revealed that the transfer had been made by the United States government in a civil forfeiture action. [74] According to a press release by the U.S. Attorney's Office of the Northern District of California, the bitcoin wallet belonged to an "Individual X" who had originally acquired the bitcoins by hacking the Silk Road. [75]

In March 2013, the site had 10,000 products for sale by vendors, 70% of which were drugs. [22] [76] Drugs were grouped under the headings stimulants, psychedelics, prescription, precursors, other, opioids, ecstasy, dissociatives, and steroids/PEDs. [9] [19] [77] [78] Fake driver's licenses were also offered for sale. [79] The site's terms of service prohibited the sale of certain items. When the Silk Road marketplace first began the creator and administrators instituted terms of service that prohibited the sale of anything whose purpose was to "harm or defraud". [19] [80] This included child pornography, stolen credit cards, assassinations, and weapons of any type other darknet markets such as Black Market Reloaded gained user notoriety because they were not as restrictive on these items as the Silk Road incarnations were. [76] [81] There were also legal goods and services for sale, such as apparel, art, books, cigarettes, erotica, jewellery, and writing services. A sister site, called "The Armoury", sold weapons (primarily firearms) during 2012, but was shut down, due to a lack of demand. [82]

Buyers were able to leave reviews of sellers' products on the site and in an associated forum, where crowdsourcing provided information about the best sellers and worst scammers. [83] Most products were delivered through the mail, with the site's seller's guide instructing sellers how to vacuum-seal their products to escape detection. [84]

Based on data from 3 February 2012 to 24 July 2012, an estimated $15 million in transactions were made annually on Silk Road. [85] [86] Twelve months later, Nicolas Christin, the study's author, said in an interview that a major increase in volume to "somewhere between $30 million and $45 million" would not surprise him. [87] Buyers and sellers conducted all transactions with bitcoins (BTC), a cryptocurrency that provides a certain degree of anonymity. [88] Silk Road held buyers' bitcoins in escrow until the order had been received and a hedging mechanism allowed sellers to opt for the value of bitcoins held in escrow to be fixed to their value in US$ at the time of the sale to mitigate against Bitcoin's volatility. Any changes in the price of bitcoins during transit were covered by Dread Pirate Roberts. [89]

The complaint published when Ulbricht was arrested included information the FBI gained from a system image of the Silk Road server collected on 23 July 2013. It noted that, "From February 6, 2011 to July 23, 2013 there were approximately 1,229,465 transactions completed on the site. The total revenue generated from these sales was 9,519,664 Bitcoins, and the total commissions collected by Silk Road from the sales amounted to 614,305 Bitcoins. According to the government, total sales were equivalent to roughly $183 million and involved 146,946 buyers and 3,877 vendors. [90] [14] According to information users provided upon registering, 30 percent were from the United States, 27 percent chose to be "undeclared", and beyond that, in descending order of prevalence: the United Kingdom, Australia, Germany, Canada, Sweden, France, Russia, Italy, and the Netherlands. During the 60-day period from 24 May to 23 July, there were 1,217,218 messages sent over Silk Road's private messaging system. [14]

The Farmer's Market was a Tor site similar to Silk Road, but which did not use bitcoins. [91] It has been considered a 'proto-Silk Road' but the use of payment services such as PayPal and Western Union allowed law enforcement to trace payments and it was subsequently shut down by the FBI in 2012. [83] [92] [93] Other sites already existed when Silk Road was shut down and The Guardian predicted that these would take over the market that Silk Road previously dominated. [94] [95] Sites named 'Atlantis', closing in September 2013, and Project Black Flag, closing in October 2013, each stole their users' bitcoins. [15] In October 2013, the site named Black Market Reloaded closed down temporarily after the site's source code was leaked. [15] The market shares of various Silk Road successor sites were described by The Economist in May 2015. [96]

On 3 May 2019 a similar website was shut down, and three German men were arrested by the FBI and DEA agents. The website, called Wall Street Market, allowed for the illegal sale of drugs and fake documents such as driver's licenses. [97]

Silk Road had a Tor-based book club that continued to operate following the initial site's closure and even following the arrest of one of its members. Reading material included conspiracy theories and computer hacking. Some of the titles included mainstream books as well as books such as The Anarchist Cookbook and Defeating Electromagnetic Door Locks. Most of the titles on this book club were pirated. This book club still exists as a private Tor based chatroom. [98] [99]

Silk by Sea

Finally, it may be remarked that there was also a maritime Silk Road, which connected China to the West via Southeast Asia, the India, and the Arabian Peninsula. Like the merchants of the overland Silk Road, those who traveled along this route were also at the mercy of the forces of nature, especially storms that were highly unpredictable. Moreover, pirates who plied the oceans were also a threat to travelers, just as the desert bandits were for their overland counterparts.

Top image: A 14 th century depiction of a camel caravan on the Silk Road. Source: Public Domain

The history of Supply Chain From the Silk Road to Globalization

Trade has been eminent since the beginning of time. It evolved from a very basic form in the Stone Ages, over trade between goods for currencies during the Greek and Roman times, to trade with stocks and bonds in the Modern Ages. Not only did the way of trading change but there were also many historical developments within the individual eras.

Trade at first, was limited to its locality but over the course of time, it evolved to global trade, which today, almost all nations, participate in.

Trade has alw a ys been influenced by the buying and selling habits of the people. Primarily during the Modern Ages, the difference between buying and selling only describes the diverse perspectives in the aspect of purchasing. The terms supply chain and procurementwere first used in the 20th Century and are a reflection of overall trade. Through globalization, these terms are being used more and more frequently in the business world.

Hence, globalization has a large impact on the world’s economy, especially during times of economic crisis.

During current times, globalization is under a lot of pressure, due to changing custom regulations and trade agreements within countries (e.g. USA, China) as well as changes in the market areas (Brexit, NAFTA). Subsequently we will look at the evolvement of supply chain.

Examination of trade from different perspectives

By looking at the world map, one can still differ between individual trading zones. The largest trading areas had been Europe and Asia for many years- and after its discovery, the Americas. Through the expansion of the British Empire, more trading zones such as Australia and Africa were added, however, these did not play a significant role.

The European and Asian trading zones existed individually, next to one another. Although they were closed systems at first, they expanded their trade and eventually, after the First Millennium, started to trade with one another, due to the changing demands of their people.

The beginning of trade, particularly, the so-called supply chain was first seen with the Phoenicians.

Expansion of trade and hence, became a trading empire in the second millennium BC. Due to this fact, the trading business in the Mediterranean region also increased. Metals, such as ores and paints, were the main trading good at the time.

From 800 BC on, the trading base of Carthage developed into its own empire. This expansion impeded the rise of the Roman empire 600 years later and became its anti-pole.

After the establishment of Rome in the year 753 BC, the quick development of the Roman empire could hardly be stopped anymore.

Not only did the Roman empire expand, but also the Greek empire flourished. Due to its age and history, the Greek empire was several years ahead of the Roman empire in its development.

In ancient Greece, trade was greatly influenced by the establishment of the Delian League, in the year 478 BC. This league was first established to defend the Greek polies against the Persians, but it expanded its trade to the individual city states. Through this new development, the security within the states themselves, increased.

By the unification of China during the Han Dynasty, a great new empire arose. This enabled the empire to have an economic upswing from the year 200 B.C. onward. From this time on, there was regular overland trade between China and the Eastern Mediterranean area. This route led through Central Asia. In addition, overseas trade between Morocco, Japan and China took place.

However, the trade of the purchased goods and then the transfer via the Silk Road, as well as the sales along the Silk Road were of much greater importance. The road connected the high cultures of Persia, India and China, and integrated into the respective cultural areas with one another, without forming one homogeneous cultural area. However, several different vegetation levels were traversed, ranging from the East Persian plateau to the Gobi Desert. The course of the Silk Road was determined by the location of oasis towns. East of Kashgar, the Silk Road divided itself into a southern and a northern route.

With the expansion of the Roman Empire, the trade treaties within the empire were newly defined. The rapid growth of Europe, made a structured extension of the road system necessary, to provide the means for smooth trading. Primarily luxury goods, such as spices and ceramics were transported on it. The Roman aristocracy, in the conquered provinces, was completely depended on this long-distance trading.

The fall and the resulting separation of the Roman Empire in 395 AD meant a cultural decline of Europe as a whole. The Byzantine Empire, formally known as the Eastern Roman empire, had preserved the road system, whereas it decayed during the Western Roman empire’s reign. This decay led to an increase of robberies by vagabonds and looters. Therefore, the crime rate rose again.

It is assumed, that due to the warming of the climate around the 4th century, some oasis of the southern route dried up, so that the northern route was preferred from then on.

The founding of the Song Dynasty in 960, gave China an economic boost. The urbanization and industrialization that lasted until 1127, is compared by historians to the economic boom in Europe, 600 years later.

The oasis towns along the Silk Road, were places where an elevated level of spiritual and material culture prevailed. New techniques and ideas were exchanged among the neighboring cities. The most important trade goods were glass paintings from Syria, spices from India, and silk from China. Later, other luxury goods such as porcelain, jade or textiles were also traded.

The breeding of silkworms in East Asia started about 5000 years ago. The initially rather poor quality of the silk increased over the course of time. Therefore, the fabrics resulting from the thread of the silk spinners, were traded in a higher quality.

Trade in the North- and Baltic sea increased and so did the overall volume of trade on the entire continent. One example of this, was the Hanseatic league- in this example, the tradesmen and later on entire cities, united to become one league. At its peak, the Hanseatic league ranged from Reval (today Estonia) to Bruges, Belgium. The internationally acting trading unit, showed a clear sign of globalization.

Trade in the southern regions did not have leagues, comparable to the Hanseatic league, at the time. The North Italian traders, profited from the experience they gained from the Muslim traders. Especially Venice owed its wealth, to the trade with the Orient.

The southern route was once again used in the Mongol Empire in the 13th and 14th Century. Trade was not only carried out by land, but also by sea.

In the 13th and 14th Century, trade with the West was intensified. Especially the travels of Marco Polo drove trade forward. The use of the Silk Road was the preferred route, in times of peace.

Contrary to Venice, the city of Genoa traded primarily in the Western Mediterranean Sea and also at the European Atlantic harbors.

After the 14th Century, the Genovese sailors sailed under the Portuguese flag. Their main route to India, were the seaways of the Western coast of Africa.

1492 marked a change in trade. By the discovery of the “New World” America, national trade was extended to overseas trade as well. But it wasn’t until the declaration of Independence in 1776, that America was able to trade independently. After that day, trade between America and Europe flourished. The sea way of the Portuguese was not new, because the treaty of Tordesillas in 1494, gave them the sole right of passage on the southern route, all the way down from the Canary Islands. The Portuguese dominated the sea trade on the Indian ocean. The Iberian peninsula rose to become the heart of trading. Trade with the East also expanded after Vasco da Gama, traveled to India as the first European, in 1498.

The Spanish monopole was severely damaged by the buccaneer Sir Francis Drake in 1577, who sailed by the order of Queen Elisabeth I. The British and the Dutch sailed under the order of their heirs, whereas the Portuguese only had a license to sail. The privatization of trade was driven by the establishment of its own trading colonies, which was connected to multinational corporations.

In 1578, the first ship was able to sail, all the way from Lisbon to Malakka, without a stopover.

Therefore, not only did trade within Europe develop, but the Asian region was also strongly influenced by this.

Trade on the Silk Road ended in the 17th Century, with the collapse of the Ming Dynasty.

In addition, trade was shaped by the emerging wars of the following centuries. However, not only wars influenced trade but also the world economic crises shook commerce very much. Nevertheless, trade could continue to develop so that global trade is possible today.

The Effects of the War

The excessive frequency of war and chaos caused the land silk road to had no stable environment and was once broke down.

In 670 A.D, Tubo invaded the Hexi region and flames of battle raged everywhere. There were no merchants on the road, and the towns along the route lost their usual bustle, which undoubtedly led to the decline of the silk road.

By the time of the Song dynasty, another ethnic minority broke the silence of the silk road once again. This minority was Xixia who invaded hexi and took control of the area. The Xixia rulers often adopted the policy of "heavy taxation", which affected the silk road trade heavily. Moreover, the central plains rulers came after Xixia also had no intention of reviving the silk road, making it disappear in the history.

The silk road, which had been active for more than 2500 years, was the lifeline of China's ancient civilization. But for all of the above reasons, it depressed eventually and disappeared in the long river of history.

The Silk Road: the Revival of History

The Silk Road was not a single "road", but rather a network of trade routes that linked cities, trading posts, hostels and caravan-watering places. It was most active from about 300 BC to 200 AD and extended between the Eastern Roman frontier in the Middle East to the Chinese frontier, with other paths going north through Afghanistan from the Indian Ocean to the Siberian Steppe.

Products were seldom carried from one end of the Silk Road to the other by the same merchants. People in these widely separated locations participated in the trade network by adding various goods to the caravans as they passed through markets along the way: ivories from India, horses from Siberia and Mongolia, rubies and garnets from Afghanistan, and carpets from Persia and northern Central Asia.

Currently, according to the most conservative estimates, trade turnover of Asia and Europe will grow annually by an average of 2-3 percent. Thus, 7 years later, in 2020, it is estimated at 240 million tons in the physical terms and 1.8 trillion U.S. dollars in monetary terms. Even today there is a struggle for such a tidbit between countries that are expanding their transit potential, and between different modes of transport.

Considering the development of routes between Asia and Europe, the main accent is given to the transit of goods from China, which over the past three decades has demonstrated the growth of the economy by an average of 10 percent per year that allowed it to achieve GDP of 8.5 trillion U.S. dollars and move into second place in the world by this indicator after the United States. The share of the Middle Kingdom today accounts for over 20 percent of total world trade.

Most of the manufactured goods from China - 80 percent is transported in containers by sea. Despite the fact that this is the cheapest form of transport it demands more time for delivery than direct rail traffic from China to Europe.

It is therefore not surprising that in the framework of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) members of the "six" decided to revive the Silk Road. At a recent meeting in Bishkek, the Minister of Science and Technology of China Wang Gang said that the New Silk Road can be traced from China to Europe through Russia and Central Asia (Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan).

This is about creating a transnational corridor on almost entire territory of the Eurasian continent. Such corridors are meant not only for the ability to move goods and services, but also the creation of industrial clusters, new industries, high technologies.

A single way network from the Pacific Ocean to the Baltic Sea will eliminate trade barriers, reduce the delivery time of goods and increase mutual settlements in national currencies. Such a project will allow to minimize transportation costs, as the Silk Road about one-third shorter than the sea route that goes around Asia and the Arabian Peninsula.

It is planned that implementation of this project will reduce delivery of goods from China. If now the goods to Europe are delivered in 45 days by sea, by the Trans-Siberian - about two weeks, the new path will be the shortest and take no more than 10 days.

Earlier, representatives of Washington offered China a different route, the so-called TRACECA that passes around Russia through the Caucasus to the Caspian and Black seas. As it was more difficult and more expensive, the most effective was the project of the New Silk Road.

The possibilities for this project are also attractive with the fact that until the middle of the next year, the countries of the Customs Union - Kazakhstan, Russia and Belarus - are going to join forces for creating a powerful project that is called by experts as the most striking and perhaps the first joint project of the "three" aimed at minimizing timing of shipments in the direction of "East-West".

The authorities of the three countries claim that the project of the United Transportation and Logistics Company (UTLC) will increase the revenue base of all the national railway companies of the three countries and will provide a real breakthrough in the development of the logistics of the participating countries of CU. Actually , the Customs Union, was created as a kind of "link" between Europe and the Asia -Pacific region . Combining of natural resources, capital, strong human potential will enable Kazakhstan, Russia and Belarus to strengthen their positions in the industrial and technological race, the competition for investors and for the creation of new jobs.

If for the creating of the European Union it took more than 40 years, the Customs Union and Common Economic Space were created in record time, as it was taken into account the experience of the EU and other regional organizations.

It is not surprising that the economic integration started from the transport sector, because cooperation of rail carriers, like no other partnership is the least aggressive and competitive. Railways of one country cannot be used in isolation. Especially because in this direction there is a single route network, inherited from the time of the Soviet Union.

Kazakhstan, the main initiator of establishment of the Customs Union, is now increasing its investment to the railways. Railway authorities have set ambitious goals to themselves - increase freight and passenger traffic from Western Europe and Russia via Kazakhstan to South-East Asia, from China and the Persian Gulf in 2020 - twice, and in 2050 - to ten times.

Over the past few years for this goal it has been laid second railway from China with the capacity of 25 million tons, requiring investment of over one billion U.S. dollars. Such is the price of 293-kilometer stretch from Zhetygen to Khorgos at the Chinese border. This route became part of stretching for 10,800 kilometers highway from Chinese Chongqing to German Duisburg. This year, Kazakhstan intends to invest $ 1.3 billion to the development of railways .

Due to the construction of new corridors transit through Kazakhstan has become more convenient than the Trans-Siberian railway line linking the Pacific coast with the European Union.

The generated logistics company will be approximately 2 - 2, 25 billion U.S. dollars. It will use not only existing rail infrastructure, but will also involve the management of interests of the participating countries of this union.

It is assumed that the "Russian Railways" will contribute to the joint venture its 50 percent + two shares of "TransContainer" and 100 per cent stake of "Russian Railways Logistics . "JSC" Kazakhstan Temir Joly" will make assets of "Kaztransservice" and "Kedentransservice" and the Belarusian side , in turn, can provide nearly 3 thousand flatcars . In addition , all parties will give to UTLC wagons for the transportation of containers , the containers and the necessary property of rail freight terminals at stations Zabaykalsk (RF), Dostyk (Kazakhstan), Altynkol (Kazakhstan ), Brest - North (Belarus).

In addition to the use of existing transit corridors, creating of UTLC is also convenient because the union of carriers of the three countries allows to provide the most favorable conditions for shippers. With the establishment of UTLC the shipper does not have to negotiate separately with Kazakhstan, separate and apart from Russia and Belarus. He will be provided by shipping conditions from "Dostyk" (Kazakh-Chinese border - Auth.) to "Brest" (Belarus border town - Auth.).

Other than the direct economic benefits for the countries of Customs Union in the framework of increasing transit traffic between Europe and Asia (and vice versa), the development of the international transport corridor has another aspect: it will promote the mutual exchange of technology between customs and freight forwarders and between producers as well.

As a rule, for the transit and the construction of new sites there are fighting the countries of all over the world. One proof of this is the recent announcement of the largest operators in the world, who decided to combine their efforts for the implementation of container traffic in the field of maritime transport. In mid-June of this year, the three largest container operators - Danish Maersk Line, the Swiss Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) and the French CMA CGM agreed to create a unified network services.

At present, their total share to world container capacity is about 37 percent. They intend to collaborate on areas of Asia-Europe traffic across the Pacific and the Atlantic. Such a plan would require approval by regulators and numerous technical study, so the beginning of the joint operation is scheduled for the second quarter of 2014 (that is, as UTLC does, by the middle of next year).

At the same time, European and Eurasian analogs of new transport routes are unlikely to compete with each other. These projects will be implemented in the different modes of transport, and that’s why each of them will take its place , each - for defined category of consumers. Owners of high-value goods are generally not interested in the sea route, despite the fact that the latter is the cheapest. Land route in this case is two times shorter and three times faster by delivery terms, and is also safer. Cargo going by rail is much easier to control.

So far as it is known, according to world statistics first place among all types of transport by cargo turnover and total volume of transportation work is given to maritime transport, it carries more than 60 per cent of global turnover. Rail's share in the global turnover is 21 percent, the rest falls on motor mode of transport.

Motor corridor in the direction from China to Europe, by the way , also taken on the agenda of the countries that are actively developing their transit potential . Construction of the highway " Western Europe - Western China" began in 2009 . The total length of the corridor along the route St. Petersburg - Moscow - Nizhny Novgorod - Kazan - Orenburg - Aktobe - Kyzylorda - Shymkent - Taraz - Kordai - Almaty - Khorgos - Urumqi - Lanzhou - Zhengzhou - Lianyungang is 8,445 kilometers. Among them, 2,233 kilometers are on the territory of the Russian Federation, 2787 miles - the Republic of Kazakhstan , 3,425 kilometers - the People's Republic of China.

According to experts, the construction of the international transit corridor will reduce the delivery term of goods from China to Europe by road almost 3.5 times compared to the sea.

Trading hub

The regions role as a trading hub also meant that the area served as a currency exchange. Most western currencies never made it further east than this and most eastern and Chinese coins never made it further west than this. The traders in the Ganges Delta primarily used eastern currencies when they traded with eastern merchants and western currencies when they traded with western merchants. Traders would exchange currency with each-other to have the appropriate currency when trading with merchants from different areas. This was not strictly speaking necessary since the coins were made out of precious metals and their worth was determined by their gold or silver value. Many traders would none the less prefer to trade using currencies that was widely circulated in their part of the world. IE Western traders preferred the silver drachm of the Sasanian empire (Neo-Persian) or the gold solidus of the Byzantine empire (Eastern Rome) and eastern traders preferred Chinese currency.

Currency brokers

The traders in the Ganges delta did in other words fill a function similar to what currency exchange brokers do today. Currency brokers help facilitate the trade between different countries and cultures by allowing people to buy and sell currencies. Today these brokers also facilitate currency speculation and fx trading, The buying and selling of currencies to make a profit from changes in the exchange rate. This was not possible at the time of the silk road since, as earlier mention, the value of the currencies was fixed to the value of the metals they were made of. Many contemporary currencies in the area remains fixed to this day.

The Beginning

Ulbricht has claimed that when he started working on Silk Road in 2010, it was never his intention to enable the creation of the black market it would become. The recent Penn State University graduate had just earned his master’s in science and was struggling to make an impact with his entrepreneurial efforts. The used-book startup he joined with his friend Donny Palmertree, Good Wagon Books, was going belly-up when he left it to work on Silk Road full-time.

In a court letter during his sentencing, Ulbricht wrote that he built the marketplace because “people should have the right to buy and sell whatever they wanted so long as they weren’t hurting anyone else.” That the website became a hub for drug trafficking was an unintended (and regretful) consequence, he insisted.

“Silk Road was supposed to be about giving people the freedom to make their own choices, to pursue their own happiness, however they individually saw fit. What it turned into was, in part, a convenient way for people to satisfy their drug addictions. I do not and never have advocated the abuse of drugs.”

If he had been more “mature,” the court letter goes on, he would have 𠇍one things differently.” In a twisted sort of way, Ulbricht’s ostensible regret and his eventual arrest can be seen as a measure of the site’s success. 

For an anarchic market, Silk Road was fastidiously curated. Ulbricht created escrow accounts for transactions, drugs had product descriptions and pictures like you𠆝 find on other online marketplaces, and sellers and their wares even had review sections. It also had a strict set of rules regulating what could and couldn’t be sold child porn, weapons and anything that could be used to inflict harm on others were strictly prohibited. 

What started as Ulbricht selling his own homegrown psychedelic mushrooms to kickstart the marketplace swelled to 10,000 accounts in 2012 and, eventually, 1 million at its peak. Before its closure, analysts estimated that it attracted anywhere from $15 million to $45 million annually in black-market business. As the site swelled in popularity, Ulbricht kept a full-time staff and paid $50,000 a month for security.

Sikkim Silk Route – The First Century AD Route

Sikkim Silk Route or the Old Silk Route is the route that connects India and China. This route was used during first century AD for trade purposes. You could have guessed what type of goods would have been traded through this route. Yes, silk is the most common goods.

Along with silk tea, horses and many other treasured commodities were traded. This route connects Bhutan, Sikkim, West Bengal, China and many other places. During the winter season between November and April, this route would be totally covered by snow making it the most inhospitable route. During summer and early winter, this route would be a paradise. This route connects some of the heavens in the world.

Tourism Magnets in Sikkim Silk Route

1. Lingtam

It is a hamlet amidst the mountains. This is the first tourism destination in the route. It is a few kilometres away from Rishikhola There are a very few houses in this hamlet. The main attractions in this spot are the Aritar Lake, the mountains and the scenery filled environment.

2. Rishikhola

This is the most commonly sought destination is the route. It is named after the river that flows through this area, Rishi. Khola is translated as river. There are no standard resorts or hub in this place. You cannot find any luxury here. This is the place where you can enjoy nature. The hospitality of the people in this place is extraordinary. The river is worth visit. The crystal and chill water of the river is at its prime beauty all through the year.

3. Zuluk

Zuluk is for scenic value. Again, there are no resorts in this area. House stays are allowed. Usually people spend a night here and resume their travel. No matter where you see, you would find scenery that is worth taking a few pictures.

4. Nathang Valley

This area is maintained by Indian Army. There are a few British bungalows and lodges there for tourists. During winter, this place is covered with very chill wind waves. Most of the area is Army Cantonment and the tourists are not allowed in those areas. Near the valley, you can find Tsomgo Lake and Mandakini Waterfall. There are no water activities here. You can get a good view of the waterfall.

5. Lungthung

People usually skip Nathang Valley and stop at Lungthung. It is a hamlet. The place is very scenic. You can take the route towards Gangtok City and enjoy a lot of attractions. Or, you can travel in the silk route and visit Tsomgo Lake, Baba Mandir, Zig Zag road, Thambi view point and others.

6. Menmecho Lake

It is a little away from the road. You need to trek a little to find this lake as vehicles are not allowed. It is a beautiful view and has a lot of places where you can have a picnic lunch. If you do not want to trek, you can see the lake on the way from Zuluk to Nathang Valley.

7. Eagle’s Nest

A little away from Nathang Valley, you can find an army bunker. It is not used by the army now and is opened for tourists. The bunker is located in the highest point. In the early morning you can get an aerial view of the sunrise and all the mountains. Another spot to watch sunrise is the Thambi View Point.

8. Kupup Lake

Kupup Lake is also called as Elephant Lake. If you had taken the route towards Bangkok, you can find this lake that is in the shape of an elephant. There are no water based activities in this lake. It is more of a scenic place and you can have a calm picnic near the lake.

9. Baba Mandir

There are two temples of Baba. The old one and the new Baba Mandir are maintained by Indian Army. You would be welcomed by the Jawans and you can have tea with the army heroes. In that chilling weather, the tea would be great refreshment. If you had taken the Bangkok road, you would not be able to enter the old Mandir. The new temple is opened in both the routes.

10. The Border and the Market

Nathula Pass is the India – China border. You can visit this spot only if you have authorized permit. The hotel manager at Gangtok can help get the permit. If you had taken the silk route, your journey would stop at the Nathula Pass. You can see the oldest gate that divides India and China. Though there is not much to see. This gate is worth a visit. On the way back, you can find Sorethang, the China Market. You can get clothes at a reasonable rate. You can get high quality jackets for not more than 2000 rupees. These are Chinese goods that are sold in India. This market is the first point in the Indian Territory. A lot of tourists buy things from this market as souvenir.

It should not take more than seven days if you have a tight schedule. The trip starts at Sillery on day one. You can end the day at Zuluk on the second day. The third day ends at Lungthung , fourth day in Ramdhura, fifth day in Nathang Valley, sixth day to the gate and you can start back on seventh day.

If you are opting for choosing a package from any agent, the package starts from 5,000 rupees per person and it varies based on the season and the type of package. Child below the age of five would usually not be charged. If you are planning to travel with a child, remember to forgo attractions that need a lot of walking or trekking. If you are planning to visit during winter, you can enjoy the snow capped mountains, chilled breeze and mild snow fall.

This is once in a lifetime experience. If you are someone who loves to travel and explore unique spots, this route is the best vacation plan for you and your family.

Watch the video: Dooba Dooba Rehta Hoon HQ (August 2022).