Indian Ocean Trade Continued From Previous Periods in History
By the 13th century, Indian Ocean trade had taken place continuously for thousands of years and was responsible for commerce and the exchange of cultures.
Maritime commerce in the Indian Ocean has a history spanning thousands of years and continues today. The exchange network is vast, stretching over 13,000 miles from the East Coast of Africa to the South China Sea.
New Financial and Commercial Practices Increased Indian Ocean Trade
Like on land-based trade routes, the spread of new financial and banking practices encouraged trade by making commerce safer and more efficient for merchants and consumers.
New financial practices helped expand trade on land-based and maritime trade networks. These practices supported commerce in a few ways. For one, they made economic transactions easier and quicker. They also provided security for transactions that lowered risks for merchants.
New financial systems and technologies make trade and commerce easier leading to economic growth. Modern financial systems include systems like Apple and Google payments and cryptocurrencies.
Technological innovations Increased Trade in the Indian Ocean
New technologies helped merchants more safely navigate across the Indian Ocean.
New or improved maritime technologies made trade across the Indian Ocean safer, quicker, and more profitable.
Governments Supported Indian Ocean Trade
Powerful trading states arose across the Indian Ocean. These trading states gained wealth and power by supporting Indian Ocean commerce.
The Indian Ocean region had many trading states that actively supported the growth of commerce.
Important trading states
Large states developed that relied on Indian Ocean trade for their wealth, power, and influence.
- Traders rode the monsoon winds in the winter bringing imported goods from Asia, such as cotton from India and porcelains from China, before riding the monsoon winds back to Asia in the summer with raw materials and African products.
- Exported goods often came from Africa’s interior regions, including gold, iron goods, leopard skins, and enslaved people.
Commercial wealth is important in building state power. The Song dynasty, the Mongol Empire, the Abbasid Caliphate, and Mali and Songhai in Africa were all wealthy due to trade connections.