Seaports provide material foundations for globalization. In the long history of global mobile connectivity that now forms globalization, the Indian Ocean is the world's oldest arena of expansive long-distance sea travel. People have sailed monsoon winds among coastal environments connecting Europe, Africa, India, and China since prehistoric times. Indian Ocean ports grew in number, size, wealth, and permanence over the centuries and anchored the rise of seaborne empires connecting Asia, Africa, Europe, and the Americas. Modernity traveled among industrial port cities along with lower unit costs for shipping and a dramatically increasing scale of shipping in volume, value, distance, and speed. Capital investments in seaport infrastructure grew with the scale of mobility through ports connecting producers and consumers by land and sea in commodity chains that eventually embraced people around the world with increasingly intricate, expansive interdependence, and also with ever more entrenched spatial inequity. The result is the current global seaport space of interwoven connectivity strung along the coastlines of globalization on all the continents.

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