Indian Ocean Trade Network
“There have been many changes and continuities that took place in the Indian Ocean trade network. Some of these changes that occurred were based on technology that was used that time to get to different countries to trade and some changes were regarding the European nation that was in control throughout Asia. Discoveries that were made worldwide eventually affected the trade that took place in Asia, for example, the Columbian Exchange.
Before the Columbian Exchange was a thing, the Indian Ocean Trade was highly dependent on silk and spices. The Columbian Exchange indirectly affected the trade in Asia through its new and never seen before species of plants and animals that defined what would be traded and the wealth that the countries traded would attain. After the discovery of the Americas and numerous unknown plants and animals, the trade dramatically changed in Asia. The new goods from the Americas, such as silver and the higher calorie per acre crops like the potato, created popular demand for them in the Indian Ocean region. This changed what was traded in the region. The Asian economic coastal regions and cities realized the economic benefit of participating the Indian Ocean trade that attracted so many different countries of the world. The participation of so many countries increased the wealth and prosperity of many big cities like Gujrat and countries. This wealth and prosperity were what eventually resulted in strong European nations like the Portuguese to step foot in the Indian Ocean Trade and to eventually control it.
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After the Portuguese started getting involved in the trade, many changes occurred in the way that people traded and, in the way, that they felt about the European superpower known as Portugal and its people the Portuguese. This fight for authority and control of the Indian Ocean region affected who had the most influence and control of the region. After the Portuguese were involved, the trade in the Indian Ocean change in the way trade was done due to their requirement of goods to be carried in Portuguese ships. This was due to their effort to control and tax other Indian Ocean trade by requiring all merchant ships entering and leaving one of their ports to carry a Portuguese passport and pay customs duties. They made it impossible for the trade ships to enter though a port that was not controlled by the Portuguese by seizing control of key ports like Malacca and Ormuz and other Asian ports. This also changed merchants’ in the Indian Ocean region attitudes towards the Portuguese. They felt much resentment towards the Portuguese; trade in the Indian Ocean region became violent. The Portuguese also affected and changed religious views of the people in Asia. European missionaries followed traders and warships into Asia to try to convert Asian populations to Christianity. While these missionaries were not as successful as their counterparts in the western hemisphere, they did succeed in converting a few people.
Most of the changes and continuities occurred in the improvement of naval technology over the years from 1450 to 1750. A major continuity in the way sailor sailed was though monsoons. The merchants sailing across the Indian Ocean utilized the monsoons as a means of transportation along the commercial region because they were reliable and made getting to and from destinations less difficult and dangerous. This method was always used as a backup after the invention of many new technologies that made sailing easier. Devices were invented and used by merchants, such as the magnetic compass from China, to help direct their voyage. Stronger, better-built ships were constructed, such as the southwest Indian dhow.”