The Roman Empire first sailed ships to India and bought silk, which became very popular in Rome. Silk colored purple was worth its weight in gold.
Eventually the Roman merchants set up trading posts all the way to China and reached Canton then Chang-Cheou near today’s Shanghai.
Until 73 AD, the sea route was the only one open since the caravan routes along the Silk Road were closed at that time.
Roman Emperor Augustus Caesar (31 BC to 14 AD) earned credit for establishing trade between Rome and China.
In 166 AD, Roman travelers arrived at the Court of the Han Dynasty (206 BC – 219 AD). These Romans met powerful representative of the Han Dynasty.
About the same time, Buddhist missionaries arrived in China by ship from India and introduced Buddhism to China.
The next paragraph may sound as if history were repeating itself between the U.S. and China.
Romans spent recklessly. Gold left Rome and flowed to the East at such a rate that the government had to restrict imports. After a long period of prosperity in Rome, the empire entered a serious economic crisis.
Rome was bankrupt from this overspending and couldn’t maintain the hundreds of thousands of troops needed to protect the empire.
In 312 AD, Constantine moved the Roman capital to Constantinople. In 395, the Roman Empire was divided between the Western and Eastern Empires. Then the Western Roman Empire collapsed.
See The Han Dynasty
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