A Role of Indian Ocean in Ancient Times

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Indian Ocean Trade LEQ

Throughout the Classical Period beginning in 600 CE, technology was deficient for demands at the time and trade routes were small and just starting to form, however during the Post-Classical period after lots of trade and larger amounts of exploration, technology was gaining success and finding a home in aiding extensive and more prosperous exploration, most of which occurred along and throughout the Indian Ocean. The compass and astrolabe allowed for more vast travel over the oceans. Earlier trade routes allowed Christianity and Buddhism to spread throughout the rest of the world, however Islam did not gain success until the major and initial spread of Caliphates from Spain to the Middle East. In the height of the Post-Classical period, around 1000 CE, large success was thriving all over and within the Indian Ocean and Mediterranean Trade. Luxury goods and raw materials were exchanged as far away as East Africa to East Asia. In congruence with this vast exploration and trade, the Mongols dominated trade in North Asia along the Silk Roads, Tang and Song dynasties ruled in China, and cities and populations along the Trans-Saharan trade route enlarger and found major success. From 300 C.E. to 1450 C.E., trade along the Indian Ocean changed because of the revolutionizing and innovation of new technology, spread of Islam along with Christianity and Buddhism, and vast exploration. Although there were more changes along the Indian Ocean trade routes, the trading of luxury goods was still constant and invariable.

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The Indian Ocean trade changed a large amount due to the innovation of new technology, spread of Islam, and larger exploration. The compass, developed by the Song dynasty, and astrolabe, developed by Classical Greeks, but greatly improved upon by Islamic merchants, both made navigation easier. Major innovation in China resulted in the construction of a larger ship, the Chinese Junk, which was enormous and could carry much greater amounts of commodities and luxurious goods than the previous dhow ships. Ships like this allowed for greater and more easier travel along the ocean, bringing about larger and more vast exploration. As with this increase in trade, Islam spread from Spain all the way over to the Middle East through Caliphate migration. As Islam spread, it brought with it goods from Africa and the Middle East, incorporating much of African and the Middle Eastern exports into the Indian Ocean trade routes. Before of the spread of Islam within these trade routes in the Indian Ocean, goods between traders never involved hot commodities ranging all the way from India to Africa. As technology was revolutionized and life was becoming more luxurious, travelers like Marco Polo, Ibn Battuta, and Zheng He led the expedition for exploration of new resources and precious materials to trade with. This exploration was not possible before the new innovations in the Post-Classical period as the ships were not big and sturdy enough to support vast voyage and no technology was able to pinpoint location. All in all, barter amongst the African and Eurasian people changed in the Post-Classical time period because of new technology, spreading of Islam, and exploration, which expanded and established trade routes.

Even with all of these changes, one thing stayed the same amongst trade in the Indian Ocean; the luxury goods that were being exported. Examples of some Chinese luxury goods that were traded along and inside the Indian Ocean include silk, porcelain, and cotton textiles. These goods were left the same, however after the invention of the Chinese junk, the bulk of these luxury goods was greatly increased. Along with these Chinese goods encompassing a lot of trade, African luxury goods such as gold, salt, and ivory started to make an appearance as Islam spread into Asia; however, there were still exports from Africa even before the spread of Islam. Lastly, spices from South and Southeast Asia remained a constant export even when the trade routes were smaller and less successive. In conclusion, even though far-reaching changes affected trade in the Indian Ocean, luxury goods were still being exported and remained the same over time.

Throughout the late Classical and early Post-Modern time periods, trade along the Indian Ocean endured significant change such as the innovation of new technology, like the compass, astrolabe, and the junk, exploration led by three main explorers, and the spread of Islam ranging from North Africa all the way to Asia. However, throughout all this change, the exportation of luxurious goods such as Chinese porcelain, silk, and cotton textiles, African gold, salt, and ivory, South Asian spices, remained constant.

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