The Silk Road connected China, Japan, Persia (also known as Iran), India, Arabia (called Saudi Arabia today) and Europe. The Silk Road began as an overland route to the West, but as nautical prowess increased, it became a route that covered land and sea.
The Silk Road's name came from the expensive and highly demanded fabric that was shipped along the road from China. There were many other goods traded along the road as well, and it served a role in developing the countries that traded and existed along the road. It allowed for economic and political expansion that would have never been possible otherwise. The countries involved also suffered from some downsides of the road as well, including the spread of bubonic plague, or the black death, as merchants carried it from one place to the next.