Medieval Trade Routes Map

This map gives an impression of the silk route journeys from Asia to Europe that were the main way of bringing goods before the Portuguese maritime routes were opened up. There could be a surprisingly sophisticated series of routes to the Silk Route itself with all sorts of feeder opportunities. However, nearly all the routes would eventually have to go through the Ottoman Empire who by the end of the Medieval period were the dominant power in the MIddle East and collected significant taxes and duties on the goods passing through its lands and ports. Its preferential partner was the city state of Venice which became fabulously wealthy off their trading rights.

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by Stephen Luscombe