Restoration of the Great Silk Road possible


ASIA and Africa are two connected landmasses that were very interdependent in ancient times.
The two continents are not divided and can be accessed both through sea and land travel. 
The ancient people used to sail over the Indian Ocean with the aid of the monsoon winds. They blow from south-east Asia to south-east Africa from October to April and from south-east Africa to south-east Asia from April to October.
A good indicator of where the monsoon winds are blowing is seasonal change. If it is winter in Africa, the winds blow towards Asia. If it is summer in Africa, the winds will be blowing away from Asia.
The drum, watermelon, soybeans, millet and the earliest people to inhabit south-east Asia went there by way of sailing the Indian Ocean. Even the name monsoon is derived from the word munhu which is the word for human in south-east Africa. 
There were also black-skinned and wooly-haired people of large body stature called mon (munhu) in south-east Asian countries like Thailand and Cambodia. These were the first inhabitants of south-east Asia and their artefacts depicting them as blacks still remain in places like Angkor Wat.
The more recent inhabitants of south-east Asia confirm that the Mons predated them and their dark skin and wooly hair is still notable in some populations between Burma and Thailand. Many of them died during war times.
The survivors inter-married with the Han people of Mongol and part Caucasian origin. Thus the current inhabitants of south-east Asia are of varying complexions with the darkest being indistinguishable from the African and the lightest resembling the Chinese, but darker.
The Naga people were another black group which originated from Africa and Arabia and reached Far East Asia via India and Burma. The Buddhas, including Gautama, Bodhidarma and Nagarjuna were of the Naga race and they were black-skinned, wooly-haired and had a large body stature like that of the ancient Mons. 
The other means by which Africans got to Asia and vice-versa was land. After the rise of the Han, who succeeded the Zhou Dynasty in China, explorers like Zhang Qian worked to secure trade routes for products such as horses and silk.
His explorations and those of others after him eventually led to the formation of trade routes from Korea and Japan, all the way to the Mediterranean Sea.
The trade routes connected Egypt, the Horn of Africa and India when combined with maritime travel routes. These trade routes were eventually called the Great Silk Road and led to the sharing of not only tangible goods but also beliefs and practices like Buddhism, Gong Fu, Yoga and so on. 
These trade routes were of great importance and Chinese ceramics, fire formula (gun powder), silk, the compass, hemp paper, printing technology, among others, found their way to the West by way of the Great Silk Road. 
Hemp, and other products from places like Nepal also found their way to China via the Great Silk Road.
Divisions in political boundaries threatened the safety of the trade routes from China at certain times but when an emperor of the Tang Dynasty conquered the western parts of China in the 7th Century, the Silk road was opened again as of old times. It flourished during the era of the Moors who used both the Silk Road and the Indian Ocean to get to Asia.
The Mongols took over most of Asia in the time of Genghis Khan in the 14th Century and made use of the Great Silk Road. After their demise and the rise of the Turks, cultural and religious differences threatened the survival of the trade routes because of enmity which led to insecurity. This is when the trade routes began to fall.
In ancient times, people travelled on horses and camels with carts and carriages. This was at times a risky trip which led to travellers hiring bodyguards and security personnel.
The trip was also tiring and time-consuming as it entailed travelling for thousands of kilometres. The western part of China was also known for being dry and this made the trip even worse.
This is also why many Chinese people left places like Tibet for the eastern states like Shanghai and Guangzhou; to access the sea for maritime trade purposes. Now the east of China is over-populated and the west under-populated.
However, the advantages of using the Great Silk Road far outstripped the disadvantages. Nations were brought together through cultural, religious and linguistic exchange.
After the closing of the trade routes, neighbouring nations like Kazakhstan and others that were once connected to China by way of the trade routes became more and more isolated to the rest of the world.
Owing to an earthquake which wreaked Central Asia in 1966, the city of Tashkent began rebuilding. Old trade routes began to open and eventually the Eurasian land Bridge was constructed and completed in 1990.
It has a railway system which connected the nations of China, Russia, Mongolia and Kazakhstan. It was further developed by China to link its western provinces of Urumqi and Xinjiang. By 2011, Chongqing Province was linked to the German city of Duisburg and this decreased travelling time from one month and one week by ship to only two weeks by train.
China was the pioneer of these trade routes of old and many markets were opened because of it. The Silk Road, though of great historical importance, had become a relic of the past until China again came up with a programme to reopen and modernise the ancient trade routes. 
A Chinese Government plan called Yidai yilu, which literally means ‘one belt, one road’ was announced by President Xi Jinping in 2013. It has so far managed to connect China’s Zhejiang Province to Tehran in Iran.
From there, they will extend the railway lines to Turkey and finally into Europe as far as London. The policy also caters for maritime travel which will be working in conjunction with the rail.
The Chinese are modernising the means of travelling and making use of fast trains. Businessmen are encouraged to open markets alongside the New Silk Road.
Internet and other modern traits will also be found throughout the western regions which had been falling back in terms of technological advancement since the fall of the ancient trade routes.
Africa used to have trade routes from the inland to the sea. For example, Zimbabweans would take their goods to Sofala and traders would procure Zimbabwean goods such as cattle and gold by the Mozambican coast.
Zimbabweans would also receive coins, cloth, wine and other things from traders who arrived at the coast in Sofala.
The lands of South Africa, Zimbabwe and Botswana were also linked together and the mining, processing and trade in minerals in these areas was interconnected; so were the monuments like Mapungubwe-Machema, Zimbabwe and Domboshava. 
Linguistic and genetic similarities among Ugandans, Kenyans, Rwandese, Burundians, Tanzanians, Malawians, Zambians, Congolese, Tswana, Mozambicans, Zimbabweans and South Africans also show that our ancestors moved freely to and from these lands.
However, colonial boundaries have stopped this interaction and inter-dependent relationship we used to have with our neighbours. This was the case in Asia when the Great Silk Road fell.
However, China has shown us, through modernising the ancient trade routes, that we have the power to restore what we lost in the past by simply modernising it. This means, instead of walking to the above stated places, we can work together to break the colonial borders and set up railway systems that re-establish our old connections with our distant kinsmen on the continent. 
This will improve trade and if connected all the way to Egypt in the far North and Senegal in the West, Africa can be reconnected to Asia as it was in ancient times. To go to China one would simply have to board a train from Zimbabwe to Egypt and then connect to the modern Silk Road which will soon reach the Mediterranean Sea as in olden times. 


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