Silk Road Trade & Travel Encyclopedia

Interesting Facts & Trivia

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2 - QUESTION:  Can you name the 4 major contributions to civilization made by China?

Answer: The compass, papermaking, printing, and gunpowder (which were all introduced to the West via the Silk Road).

A compass is a navigational instrument for determining direction relative to the earth's magnetic poles. The compass was invented in ancient China around 247 BCE, and was used for navigation along the Silk Road by the 11th century. In addition to the compass, medieval navigation tools included the astrolabe, quadrant, cross-staff, and sextant (items used to determine the altitude of the sun or other celestial bodies). It was not until the early 17th century that the telescope was first used for astronomical purposes.

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