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Human mobility within the Indian Ocean remains one of the most distinctive characteristics of this region, from its deep history to the present. Monsoon winds were only one of many factors that made mobility possible, and people moved for many reasons, like pilgrimage (such as the hajj), trade, and settlement. The experiences of people—Africans, Arabs, Chinese, Indians, Malays, and others—on the move across the Indian Ocean show the dynamics of diaspora histories, and also provide perspective on the populations among whom they lived and the colonies and states that tried to control them.

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