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CARAVANS

By David Chandler

We will start with the definition of caravan. A caravan is a group of travelers or merchants banded together and organized for joint support and protection while traveling through unsettled or unfriendly country. Caravan trade, however, is associated with the history of the Middle East as far back as the records of ancient civilizations extend. The caravan trade was very well developed before the idea of sea commerce was ever considered.

The history of the caravan trades people has shown how well organized these groups of people were. The caravans crossed great distances across the unsettled desert trails, with little or no protection from the local governments.

The main modes of transportation were camels throughout the Arabian Peninsula. Camels could withstand the desert heat, and go numerous days without water,

The caravans were fundamental for the trade industry to prosper. The caravans worked under the regulation of the Arabian Empire. The Empire controlled their routes and tried to afford them some protection.

After the introduction of the motor truck and the airplane, the hardship of crossing the desert on foot or on came, has evolved to driving the truck to the marketplace to sell your goods. This is evident when you go to the flea markets of today, there are numerous vendors (what could have been called merchant caravans in middle east history) that travel from town to town bringing there goods to sell, trade or barter.

Webster's dictionary defines caravan as: “a company of travelers on a journey through desert or hostile regions”, “a group of vehicles traveling together in a file”, and “a covered wagon or motor vehicle equipped as traveling living quarters”. As you can see by this definition, the term caravan has evolved into the 21st century. Just look around and you will see motor home caravans, semi-truck caravans, motorcycle caravans, all of these groups are traveling from one destination to another.

So hop in your Dodge Caravan and go for a ride. How much merchandise can you fit into it? Gather up some friends that have a Dodge Caravan and you could be caravan (a group of travelers on a journey).


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