The paper is mainly concerned with the maritime trade in the middle Indian Ocean from around 1600 to 1800. It will be discussed in two parts – first, the Portuguese presence and the Indian Ocean trade in the sixteenth century, and second, Indian overseas trade after the coming in of the European trading companies in the seventeenth and the eighteenth centuries. The main questions that I shall tackle here are: (1) What was the impact of the Portuguese presence in the trading world of the sixteenth century? (2) How did the arrival of the European trading companies, especially the Dutch and the English, the two most important ones, affect the Indian Ocean trade in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries? But before I dwell on these questions, I shall try to give a rough idea of the trading world in the Indian Ocean at the dawn of the sixteenth century when the Portuguese appeared on the scene.