The easiest route through the Persian Gulf was the middle way. This middle way continued through Baghdad. Many blockages occurd during this century because the Mongol conquest of Mesopotamia and the demotion of Baghdad from Islam. Traders needed to move north so they could have a better trade. Europeans now traveled through the Central Asia. Baghdad was key because the most heavily populated traveling area was the crosspoint to Baghdad. Key routes ran through Baghdad and Baghdad was considered one of the most prosperous towns in the world. Baghdad had an extremely active economy which heightened by the export trade (Baghdad had relatively good trade). Eventually, Baghdad declined due to politica, economic, and social reasons. The city was eventually reduced to provincial capital, but was still considered as a source for revenue. Economic decline of Baghdad was evident because long distance trade routes bypassed Baghdad. When the Mongols suffered from agricultural productivity, Baghdad suffered from famine. Baghdad started to decline in population and became more deserted.
I found it very interesting when the book mentioned how much of a powerhouse Egypt was. I never thought of Egypt as being so influential. When I read that Egypt was allowing trade but no travel to foreigners through their land, I found that interesting. The Middle East wanted the Europeans for trade, but they hated them because of the wars. The Middle was dependent upon a trading system that they did not even like which seemed puzzling to me.