Skip to Main Content
Skip Nav Destination

This chapter focuses on the geography of the Indian Ocean. It introduces teachers and students to the monsoon regime of seasonal winds that came to dominate both the history of sailing and connections across its waters. It discusses the history of map-making and the importance of knowledge of the sea and its peoples. It concludes by examining the kinds of ships and shipbuilding traditions that evolved over time in different subregions of the Indian Ocean.

Received knowledge of the Indian Ocean is based on Western primary sources, most of which date to the early modern and modern periods. Although often providing valuable observations, these sources are ultimately ethnocentric. This chapter presents and analyzes some of the most valuable sources in non-Western languages that are available in translation, many of which date to before 1500 CE. These include Arabic and Malay chronicles, Arab and Persian travelers’ accounts, and various sources in Chinese. While all primary sources must be read critically, these open important pathways into the place of the Indian Ocean in world history.

You do not currently have access to this chapter.
Don't already have an account? Register
Close Modal

or Create an Account

Close Modal
Close Modal