The Indian Ocean Trade Route

Unit 2: c. 1200-1450

Main Ideas:

  • Improved environmental knowledge & maritime tech → Increased reach & scope of this trade route

  • Growth of interregional trade → Fostered growth of powerful trading cities & states

  • Merchants of different cultures congregated in key trading cities → Set up cosmopolitan cultural centers → Exchanged cultural and religious ideas with each other

The Indian Ocean Basin Trade Routes

A Maritime Trade Route Connecting East Africa, Arabia, India, Southeast Asia, & China 

Key Ideas:

  • Improved maritime tech and environmental knowledge increased the scope of the trade route

    • Maritime tech (compass, astrolabe, stronger ships such as dhow & junk) made it easier to travel longer distances

    • Knowledge of the monsoon winds (seasonal wind patterns in the Indian Ocean) allowed merchants to efficiently travel throughout the region​

  • Growth of trade → Fostered growth of powerful trading cities & states

    • Many cities & kingdoms profited & grew from Indian Ocean Trade

      • Swahili City-States (East Africa), Chola Empire, Sultanate of Malacca, Southeast Asian kingdoms, etc.

    • Many powerful trading cities emerged (Malacca, Cambay, Calicut, etc.)

  • Merchants of different cultures congregated in a few key trading cities → Set up cosmopolitan cultural centers → Significant cultural exchange

    • Religions such as Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam were exchanged​

      • Sufi Islam was popular due to its emotional appeal & its compatibility with other religions

Goods & Ideas Exchanged:

Hinduism

Buddhism

Sufi Islam

Spices & Tea

Cotton

Textiles

A dhow (an Indian ship) in the Indian Ocean

A photo of Calicut, a key trading center in the Indian Ocean Trade Route

M820029_View-of-Calicut-in-the-15th-Century.jpeg