Head Butting Along Sea Routes

Featured Video Play Icon

Yorbing Staff, December 21, 2018

Modern trade network for old Silk Road projects 2018 

Historic forays

We play in our neighborhood, bro.

Video is in Italian language but fairly easy to understand. For over 500 years since Columbus, western Europeans have diverted their attention and resources to Asian trades and burrowed furiously in practically everything making it difficult to live on earth. The dislike is as insatiable as the likes -I cant do without you- kind of obsession and has created a tense-like wars for decades.Along with it are great trade stories and Jesus stories. Merry Christmas.

Pull me by force, darling


Here’s the historical context paraphrased shortly by Kallie Szczepanski:

Europe Intrudes on the Indian Ocean Trade

Calicut market

In 1498, strange new mariners made their first appearance in the Indian Ocean.  Portuguese sailors under Vasco da Gama rounded the southern point of Africa and ventured into new seas.  The Portuguese were eager to join in the Indian Ocean trade since European demand for Asian luxury goods was extremely high.  However, Europe had nothing to trade.  The peoples around the Indian Ocean basin had no need of wool or fur clothing, iron cooking pots, or the other meager products of Europe.

As a result, the Portuguese entered the Indian Ocean trade as pirates rather than traders.  Using a combination of bravado and cannons, they seized port cities like Calicut on India’s west coast and Macau, in southern China.  The Portuguese began to rob and extort local producers and foreign merchant ships alike.  Scarred by the Moorish conquest of Portugal and Spain, they viewed Muslims in particular as the enemy and took every opportunity to plunder their ships.

In 1602, an even more ruthless European power appeared in the Indian Ocean: the Dutch East India Company (VOC).  Rather than insinuating themselves into the existing trade pattern, as the Portuguese had done, the Dutch sought a total monopoly on lucrative spices like nutmeg and mace.  In 1680, the British joined in with their British East India Company, which challenged the VOC for control of the trade routes.  As the European powers established political control over important parts of Asia, turning Indonesia, India, Malaya, and much of Southeast Asia into colonies, reciprocal trade dissolved.  Goods moved increasingly to Europe, while the former Asian trading empires grew poorer and collapsed.  The two-thousand-year-old Indian Ocean trade network was crippled, if not completely destroyed.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *