Silk Road Trade & Travel Encyclopedia

Interesting Facts & Trivia

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48 - QUESTION:  What commodity transported along the Silk Road is surrounded by mystery, legend, and stories of smuggling (hint, it eats mulberry leaves)?

Answer: Silk worms.

Historical records suggests that sericulture (raising silkworms) and silk production developed as early as c. 4000-3000 BCE in China. By the second century BC, silk-making had spread throughout southern China. According to Confucian texts, silk production dates to about 2700 BCE. The caravan route across Central Asia, known as the Silk Road, took Chinese silk to Syria, and on to Rome. Sericulture, the raising of silkworms, began in Europe c. 500 CE. There are many stories of how silk worms were smuggled to the West from China.

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