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Chapter 19 Notes
China’s Contacts with the Outside World
19.2 ~ Foreign Contacts Under the Tang Dynasty
What is the “Silk Road” and why do they call it this?
•The Silk Road is a trading route that is used by caravans that carried a variety of goods
other than silk.
•It was called the Silk Road because many foreigners wanted to trade with Central Asia
for its silk production.
How did the Tang Dynasty protect the “Silk Road” and for trade to prosper?
•The Tang Dynasty took control of the Silk Road because it became very dangerous due
to fighting in Central Asia.
•With this new sense of protection, traders began to enter into Central Asia and
beyond its borders.
Why did the people of the Tang Dynasty begin to resent the Buddhist monks/nuns?
•The Buddhist monasteries had prospered very well and some believed that people
only became Buddhist monks to avoid paying taxes.
•Since the Tang Dynasty was attacked by foreigners, the people of the Tang Dynasty
began to resent Buddhism because it was a foreign religion.
•In the end, the cash-strapped Tang government began to take money away from the
Buddhist monasteries.
Why did the Tang Dynasty move away from the “Silk Road” and move more to sea
•With the invention of the compass and better ship building, the Tang Dynasty began
to explore sea travel for trade.
•This allowed them to trade more goods since there was more room for cargo on
19.3 ~ Foreign Contacts Under the Mongols
How did the Mongols controlling China in the Yuan Dynasty benefit trade on the “Silk
•The Mongols treated merchants and the “Silk Road” with respect.
•The Mongols welcomed and encouraged cultural exchange which only produced more
traders on the Silk Road.
The Mongols enhanced the “Silk Road” during their rule. What enhancements did the
Mongols make which helped the merchants traveling on this difficult trade route?
•The Mongols set up food and sleep stations every 20 miles on the Silk Road.
Through the Mongols’ hospitality and their acceptance of Marco Polo, how did
Marco’s journey put China on the “map”?
•Marco Polo observed China’s way of life as well as the goods it has to offer foreigners.
When he got back to Italy, he had all of his observations written down and this gave
Europeans the information of the goods that China can give them.
19.4 ~ Foreign Contacts Under the Ming Dynasty
1. How was the Ming dynasty different from the Tang & Mongol dynasties?
•The Ming dynasty did not always welcome trade with foreigners.
•The Ming dynasty felt that since China was the largest and oldest as well as the most
important country in the world, other countries should pay tribute to China.
How was Zheng He similar to Marco Polo?
•Zheng He went to many different nations with the permission of the Ming emperor.
•He brought back new ideas, products and new countries to pay tribute to China.
•Like Marco Polo was a representative of Italy, Zheng He was a representative of
In Chapter 16, we learned that the scholar-officials did not like merchants/trade. How
was this evident during the Ming dynasty?
•Since the Ming dynasty needed money to fight off the invasions from the Mongols,
the scholar-officials persuaded the emperor to stop the expeditions to other countries.
This made the Ming dynasty turn inward instead of seeing what was out there or
inviting new ideas/people into their country.