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Trade in the Indian Ocean Basin Essay

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A general idea of the size and variety of trade in the Indian Ocean basin can be formed from the documents provided. Accounts from Fernandez de Figueroa and Duarte Barbosa as well as letters from the English East India Company outline the practice of trade in the Indian Ocean and South Asia from the late 1400s to the mid-1700s. During this time, Western societies had a greater impact on the South Asia societies than vice versa. In the early 1500s, Fernandez de Figueroa reached Sofala, an outpost on the Swahili coast. The King of Sofala welcomed the Spaniards and Portuguese and granted them land in which to construct a storage facility for merchandise. In this region, sandalwood, gold, amber, and other goods were found. In this…show more content…
Since horses where not native in Vijayanagar and had a short life span, they were imported from Hormuz and Cambay. By the numbers of foreign animals, it is clear that trade was very popular in this region of South Asia. Lastly, letters from the English East India Company reveal the importance of pepper trade in the mid-1700s. Starting out in 1734, trade appeared to be slow in the Indonesian islands of Sumatra and Borneo. The letter to the Sultan Gondam Shan was more laid back and less aggressive than latter letters to that region. Another letter sent that year went into detail about how the English did not want to pay a higher price for the pepper since it would not be worth it. Additionally, this letter questions why Sumatras would want to visit England, putting it off as an unpleasant place. These two early letters show that trade was not very prominent at the time. A later letter in 1740 shows a different story; trade dealing with guns and gunpowder in exchange for pepper emerged. This is important because the island nations needed a constant supply of gunpowder so it promoted trade between the two. In the last document dated 1744, the East India Company offers to send a ship to protect these nations if they so desire to increase the trade of pepper. Once again, this commitment by the English shows an increase in trade between the West and Southern Asia. A general trend can be followed that trade started on the
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