chapter  Three
12 Pages

Civilizational Linkages in the Bay of Bengal Region until 1800

WithRila Mukherjee

This chapter discusses a temporal inconsistency depending on the Bay sector falling under scrutiny. Chakravarti’s ‘pull’ is apparent in seventh century South Asia, while Lieberman sees it occurring between the tenth and sixteenth centuries in mainland Southeast Asia. An age of commerce and a commercial revolution are seen in both the ninth and eleventh centuries; linked to new polities emerging in the tenth-eleventh centuries. The chapter describes three radical phase transitions: one from the ninth to the eleventh centuries, another in the fifteenth-sixteenth centuries and a third in the eighteenth century. The tenth-eleventh centuries saw a period of transition in the Indian Ocean as new powers emerged to assume control over the major centres of contemporary civilization: the Fatimids in Egypt; the Cholas in southern India; and the Songs in China. The Bay of Bengal always had strong Asian connections, but was a latecomer in the western Indian Ocean world, although its southern segment had participated in Roman.