AP World History Strayer Ch. 7 - Commerce and CultureThe results were unprecedented concentrations of wealth and the intensification of cross-cultural exchanges. Innovations in transportation, state policies, and mercantile practices contributed to the expansion and development of commercial networks, which in turn served as conduits for cultural, technological, and biological diffusion within and between various societies. Pastoral or nomadic groups played a key role in creating and sustaining these networks. Expanding networks fostered greater interregional borrowing, while at the same time sustaining regional diversity. The prophet Muhammad promoted Islam, a new major monotheistic religion at the start of this period. It spread quickly through practices of trade, warfare, and diffusion characteristic of this period. The expansion and intensification of trade networks in the post-classical period led to the rise of new cities as major trade hubs.
A trade route is a logistical network identified as a series of pathways and stoppages used for the commercial transport of cargo. The term can also be used to refer to trade over bodies of water. Allowing goods to reach distant markets , a single trade route contains long distance arteries , which may further be connected to smaller networks of commercial and noncommercial transportation routes. Among notable trade routes was the Amber Road , which served as a dependable network for long-distance trade. In modern times , commercial activity shifted from the major trade routes of the Old World to newer routes between modern nation-states. This activity was sometimes carried out without traditional protection of trade and under international free-trade agreements, which allowed commercial goods to cross borders with relaxed restrictions.