Chronology 3300–1300 BCE The Indus Valley Civilization thrives in the northwestern regions of South Asia. 3000 BCE Minoan civilization begins silk is first produced in China Sumerians develop the first writing system. 2500 BCE The Bactrian camel and Arabian camel, vital for desert travel, are domesticated. ca. 1750–500 BCE The Vedic Age arises. 1700 BCE Horse-drawn chariot is introduced in the Near East. 1500 BCE Iron technology develops in Asia Minor. ca. 563 BCE Siddhartha Gautama, the “Buddha,” is born in Lumbini near the Himalayan foothills. ? 551–479 BCE Confucius is born in China. 343–323 BCE Alexander the Great reaches Central Asia and India Greek cul- ture extends into Central Asia. ? 300 BCE The Greco-Bactrian kingdom emerges in Central Asia the Qin dynasty unites China for the first time, and the Great Wall is constructed as a defense against nomadic invasions from the north Buddhism spreads north, and the Gandhara style of art emerges. 206 BCE–220 CE The three Han dynasties come to power in China. 138–125 BCE Zhang Qian visits Bactria, travels to Pamirs, and becomes the first Chinese on record to have heard about the existence of Tien-chu, India. He reports this discovery to Emperor Wu. ? 100 BCE Mithridates, the Parthian king, sends ambassadors to Sulla and Emperor Wu to provide an important link between Rome and China Rome officially becomes an empire. ? 1 CE Greco-Egyptian geographer Claudius Ptolemy writes his Geography and attempts to map the Silk Road. 67 Cai Yin travels to India from China by Han emperor Ming, to learn about Buddhism. He returns three years later, with images of the Buddha, detailed Buddhist scriptures, and two monks. 105 Paper is invented in China. 148 The “Pure Land Sutra” is translated into Chinese. 165–180 A plague contributes to the collapse of the Han Empire, and the Anto- nine Plague kills five million people of the Roman Empire (165–180 CE). 166 Marcus Aurelius sends the first Roman envoy to China to discuss trade on the Silk Road. 180 Marcus Aurelius succumbs to the plague.
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