Indian Ocean Trade

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19 March 2016

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During the time period between 300 CE and 1450 CE the Indian Ocean Trade was consistent of its spread of goods, religion, and the growth of trade route under different empires. On the other hand, the significant changes were the ways of trade, diffusion of religion, and empires controlling the trade route.

Economically, the Indian Ocean Trade stayed the same in the way of spreading goods, but changed in the means of trading. Around the fifth century CE long- distant trade by land was mostly used. Trade of exotic products for the elite, such as; silk, spices, and gems, were spread all throughout the trade network and were incorporated into local markets. This is because there were new markets being built and goods spread. Methods of trade changed for the better. Land travel was no longer the only method of transporting goods. Ships in the thirteenth century could only travel by monsoon winds. With the introduction of maneuverable sails, ships like the dhow and junk were able to move goods under many wind conditions. This helped a great deal because the people would not have to wait as long for the delivery of trade goods.

Culturally, the Indian Ocean Trade was consistent in the spread of religion and ideas, a change was the diffusion of cultures by religion. The Muslims were a prime example of this continuity. They were a big religion, and as their merchants traded, their religion spread as well. On the other hand, Islam is a great example of the change. Islam came into regions that didn’t have a big religious base. As people converted, their old culture diffused. From this, regions lost their identity because people were converting, whether it was by force of new leaders or by choice.

Politically, a continuity of the Indian Ocean Trade is growing while under different empires, and a change in which empires controlled the trade network. An example of the continuity would be the Mongols, how they made trade much easier and made it grow. Many merchants benefited from the Yuan Dynasty, around the fourteenth century. This ties to the change, because from 300 CE to 1450 CE there were different empires, such as, Sui and Tang Dynasty, Swahili States, Mongols, and Islamic Caliphates. The different empires made trade grow and spread. As the empires grew the routes changed, connecting trade routes to the; Trans- Sahara, Silk Road, South Asian, and Mediterranean routes.

During 300 CE and 1450 CE changes involving the Indian Ocean included how goods were transported, cultures were diffused due to new religions, and the empires that controlled. Trade on the Indian Ocean steadily increased the spread of goods and religion even though it was controlled by different empires.

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Indian Ocean Trade. (19 March 2016). Retrieved from

"Indian Ocean Trade" StudyScroll, 19 March 2016,

StudyScroll. (2016). Indian Ocean Trade [Online]. Available at: [Accessed: 3 October, 2023]

"Indian Ocean Trade" StudyScroll, Mar 19, 2016. Accessed Oct 3, 2023.

"Indian Ocean Trade" StudyScroll, Mar 19, 2016.

"Indian Ocean Trade" StudyScroll, 19-Mar-2016. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 3-Oct-2023]

StudyScroll. (2016). Indian Ocean Trade. [Online]. Available at: [Accessed: 3-Oct-2023]

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