chapter  Two
32 Pages

Maritime Trade and Societal Transitions in the Extended Eastern Indian Ocean c. 900–1500

WithKenneth R. Hall

This chapter validates regional documentation that includes newly available shipwreck and archaeological recoveries. Indian Ocean maritime trade substantially increased during the tenth through the fifteenth centuries as the mainstream Middle East to India to China routes diffused and greater numbers and different types of traders pursued a variety of regional products into the wider eastern Indian Ocean region. Middle East-based maritime trade continued, especially following the rise of the Fatimid rulers in Egypt during the late tenth century, as the Red Sea became the favoured western terminus of the Indian Ocean route instead of the Persian Gulf. The viable extended eastern Indian Ocean maritime trade offset regional instability in the Persian Gulf realm after the fall of the Abbasid dynasty in the mid-tenth century. As a consequence, Gujarat-based shipping in the Eastern Indian Ocean increased in response to substantial growth in Western demand for Asian commodities.