Travelers Reading Guide

Travelers of the Silk Road

  1. The Silk Road was not an actual road of bricks and pavement. What was it?
  2. How much of the Silk Road did most travelers use?

Zhang Qian

  1. Why did the Han emperor of China want to defeat the Xiung-nu nomads?
  2. Describe the kingdoms of central Asia that Zhang Qian discovered.
  3. What products did these kingdoms have?
  4. Although Zhang Qian couldn’t make an alliance against the Xiung-nu, what resulted from his trip?


  1. Why did Xuanzang want to travel to India?
  2. What was the major religion of Central Asia?
  3. In what building were Xuanzang’s texts housed?

the Polos

  1. Who were the Chinese most determined enemy?
  2. From where were the Polos?
  3. Was trade easier or harder under Mongol rule? Why?
  4. What did the Great Khan want the Polos to bring back from the west?

Ibn Battuta

  1. What was the major religon of the Silk Road at this point?
  2. Why did merchants begin to use the sea routes instead of the land route?
  3. To where was Ibn Battuta’s first journey?
  4. Name three places to which Ibn Battuta traveled where he found Muslims.

Zheng He

  1. For whom did Zheng He work?
  2. What was the purpose of Zheng He’s expeditions?
  3. What was Zheng He’s religion?

Aurel Stein

  1. Why had the Silk Road declined by the time of Aurel Stein?
  2. What did Stein discover at Dunhuang?
  3. Why did the Chinese try to stop Stein’s later expeditions?