A Silk Road Timeline

Cities and Architecture along the Silk Road

The Buried Silk Road Cities of Khotan

Silk Road Project

ECAI Silk Road Atlas (Electronic Cultural Atlas Initiative)

Ancient Cities of Asia

The Contribution of Ancient Iranian Civilization to the Silk-Road

The Geography of the Silk Road by Ray Gonzales

Foreign Devils on the Silk Road: The Search for the Lost Cities and Treasures of Chinese Central Asia by Authors: Peter Hopkirk

The Silk Road (Oliver Wild)

Monks and Merchants

Dunhuang and the Silk Road (links to many sites)

Lost Cities of the Silk Route

some material on spices

In medieval merchant handbooks, the term spezierie designates a large number of items that were used in medicine, perfume making and embalming, as well as dyestuffs and seasonings. Since many spices, including the most expensive ones, were produced in Southeast Asia and Africa, the term is associated with eastern trade, although among the spices are items such as saffron, produced in the western Mediterranean, and mastic, produced on Chios. For medieval commerce, pepper and ginger were the most important items; of small bulk and very high value, carried primarily on galleys, spices were very lucrative commodities.

Until the 7th century, Byzantine territories included some spice-producing areas (Egypt) as well as the ports through which eastern spices reached the Mediterranean. After the loss of the eastern provinces, Constantinople became the most important market within Byzantium. Alexandria remained a major outlet throughout the Middle Ages. In the 10th century, the campaign manual of Constantine VII mentions as items to be carried into the field: Greek incense, frankincense, mastic, saffron, musk, amber, aloe and wood aloe (or eaglewood), cinnamon of first and second quality, and cassia. All of these, and other spices, are mentioned in the Book of the Eparch in the chapter on myreposio (ch. 10), which suggests that spices reached Constantinople primarily from the area of Trebizond.

The Profits of the Pepper Trade

some pepper dates

1498 Vasco de Gama reaches Calicut, India, the spice center; pepper prices fall in Europe.
1563 Garcia da Orta writes "Colloquies on Drugs and Simples of India" the first scientific book on oriental spices published in the western world.
1672 Elihu Yale reaches India and starts spice business which eventually provides the fortune with which he founded Yale University.
1797 Captain Jonathan Carnes of Salem, Massachusetts, returns from Sumatra with first large pepper cargo and puts United States in world spice trade.
1805 U.S. reaches peak of its Sumatra pepper trade; re-exports alone totalled 7,000,000 pounds in one year.


Peppers: History and Exploitation of a Serendipitous New Crop Discovery (W. Hardy Eshbaugh) --the other pepper

The History of the Spice Trade in India

Piper nigrum from Encyclopedia of Spices

AUTHOR       Corn, Charles.
TITLE        The scents of Eden : a narrative of the spice trade / Charles 
IMPRINT      New York : Kodansha International, 1998.
CALL NO.     DS646.67 .C67 1998.

The pepper trade, the clove trade, Indonesian spice trade...