Economy > Trade Routes
The period from the middle of the 2nd millennium BC to the beginning of the Common Era saw societies in Western Asia, the Mediterranean, China and the Indian subcontinent develop major transportation networks for trade. One of the vital instruments which facilitated long distance trade was portage and the domestication of beasts of burden. Organized caravans, visible by the 2nd millennium BC, could carry goods across a large distance as fodder was mostly available along the way. The domestication of camels allowed Arabian nomads to control the long distance trade in spices and silk from the Far East to the Arabian Peninsula. Caravans were useful in long-distance trade largely for carrying luxury goods, the transportation of cheaper goods across large distances was not profitable for caravan operators. With productive developments in iron and bronze technologies, newer trade routes—dispensing innovations of civilizations—began to rise.
Evidence of maritime trade between civilizations dates back at least 90 millennia. Navigation was known in Sumer between the 4th and the 3rd millennium BC, and was probably known by the Indians and the Chinese people before the Sumerians. The Egyptians had trade routes through the Red Sea, importing spices from the "Land of Punt" (East Africa) and from Arabia.