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Discover Xuwen: the ancient departure port on maritime Silk Road

Updated: 2015-04-09

The third Plenary Session of 18th CPC Central Committee made it clear to promote the construction of the economic zone of the Silk Road and the Maritime Silk Road, thus forming a new pattern of all-round opening. Guangdong is an important birthplace of the Maritime Silk Road. Xuwen county in Zhanjiang, which is rich in cultural relics of the Han Dynasty, is one of the ports of origin in the Han Dynasty. Much efforts have been made to excavate research, conserve, and develop the ancient Silk Road culture in Xuwen, and more surprises are awaiting people in this ancient commercial port.

Historical origins of the ancient Silk Road starting from Xuwen

Discover Xuwen: the ancient departure port on maritime Silk Road
The ruins of the Xuwen Port on the maritime Silk Road in Han Dynasty.

The Silk Road is a general term which represents all silk trading roads connecting China with Asia and Europe. It is categorized into two channels by land and sea respectively. The Silk Road on land was open in 138 BC and 119 BC when Zhang Qian, an diplomat and explorer, was sent by Emperor Wu of Han Dynasty on a diplomatic mission twice in order to form alliance with the Dayuezhi tribe and Wusun tribe to attack Xiongnu tribe. The three tribes are all ancient nationality in China. The marine Silk Road was open in 111 BC after setting Xuwen County. The emperor sent fleets carrying gold, silk, etc., sailing from Xuwen, the southernmost place of Leizhou Peninsula, heading south along the Beibu Gulf all the way to the coast of Vietnam. Spending nearly a year, the fleet bypassed the Strait of Malacca, arriving in southern India, then it headed to Sri Lanka, and then carried the exchangeitems on the coast back to China. According to " Geography Records of The Han History", written by Bangu, a historian and writer in the Eastern Han Dynasty, “Sailing from Rinan(a prefecture in Han Dynasty ),whose land condition is not favorable, Xuwen(a county in Guangdong province) and Hepu(a county in Guangxi province)for five months, the fleet could get to Duyuan State...In the south of Huangzhi, a state of ancient India, there’s a state called Yibucheng. Till then, the translator of Han Dynasty come back to the country." This is the Marine Silk Road to Southeast Asia and South Asia in Han Dynasty.

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