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The Indian Ocean: a History of People and the Sea

by McPherson, Kenneth

  • ISBN: 9780195633740
  • ISBN10: 0195633741

The Indian Ocean: a History of People and the Sea

by McPherson, Kenneth

  • List Price: $28.00
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publish date: 05/12/1994
  • ISBN: 9780195633740
  • ISBN10: 0195633741
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Description: This book argues for the existence of a distinctive Indian Ocean world constituted by trade links and commercial networks established over several centuries. Professor McPherson shows that for millennia the Indian Ocean had a profound influence on the lives of the people who lived on its shores. Fishermen, sailors and merchants travelled its waters, linking the world's earliest civilizations from Africa to East Asia in a complex web of relationships. Trade underpinned these relationships but the Ocean was also a highway for the exchange of religious cultures and technologies, giving the Indian Ocean region an identity as a largely self-contained 'world'. The expansion of Hinduism, Buddhism and Islam helped define the boundaries of this 'world' which, by the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, was one of the most prosperous and culturally complex regions on earth. By the sixteenth century Europeans were part of this world as partners in trade with the indigenous peoples, but from the eighteenth century this economic relationship changed as the economies of the Indian Ocean world integrated with the capitalist economies of the West. The change from commercialism to capitalism ended the insularity of the Indian Ocean world and began its integration, as a region, into the global economy and its territorial division amongst various European powers. This transition altered the ancient web of regional relationships and, with the arrival of European settlers and rulers, added yet another layer to the palimpsest of cultures which flourished on the shores of the Ocean. By the twentieth century the Ocean was no longer a major force binding the peoples on its shores in a selfconscious entity, butthe legacy of the past is still evident in their common religious, cultural and historical experience. This is an important new text which synthesizes a huge chronological and historiographical range into its compact frame.
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