ABSTRACT

The main objective and contribution of this chapter is to give a broad picture of the dynamics of the Indian Ocean economic, productive, and social ecosystem up to the British penetration in the subcontinent. First, we briefly present the relevance of the monsoons, trade ports and emporia trade, the shipbuilding and gunpowder capabilities, and the main relevance of textiles production and trade among the Indian Ocean. Then, we introduce the main features of the presence of the Europeans in the Indian Ocean, from the Portuguese to the British. We conclude describing the productive and commercial context of the beginning of the eighteenth century, when India “clothed” the world. Thus, we position the Indian subcontinent as the centre of the Indian Ocean ecosystem.