1st Edition

The World of the Indian Ocean, 1500–1800 Studies in Economic, Social and Cultural History

By M.N. Pearson Copyright 2005
    336 Pages
    by Routledge

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    The articles in The World of the Indian Ocean, 1500-1800 describe the activities of people living on the coasts of the Indian Ocean, generously defined, during the early modern period. Most are based, at least in part, on Portuguese materials. A broad theme linking them all is the claim that in most areas of society and economy early modern Europeans and Asians had much in common, with the newly arrived Europeans having no particular advantage over their Asian interlocutors. The first five studies discuss aspects of trade and commerce, while the next group deal with social and religious themes, including conversions and a much quoted early attempt to investigate 'littoral society'. The third section presents four discussions of aspects of the early contact between Indian and European medical systems.

    Contents: Introduction; Economic and Trade History: Spain and Spanish trade in southeast Asia; Brokers in western Indian port cities: their role in servicing foreign merchants; Goa-based seaborne trade, 17th-18th centuries; Asia and world precious metal flows in the early modern period; Indians in East Africa: the early modern period. Social and Religious Themes: Littoral society: the case for the coast; Goa during the first century of Portuguese rule; Conversions in south-east Asia: evidence from the Portuguese records; The search for the similar: early contacts between Portuguese and Indians; Gateways to Africa: the Indian Ocean and the Red Sea; The East African coast in 1498: a synchronic study. Medical Exchanges: Hindu medical practice in sixteenth-century western India: evidence from the Portuguese records; The Portuguese state and medicine in sixteenth-century Goa; The thin end of the wedge: medical relativities as a paradigm of early modern Indian-European relations; First contacts between Indian and European medical systems: Goa in the sixteenth century. Index.


    M.N. Pearson is Emeritus Professor of History at the University of New South Wales, Australia.

    'One of the most eminent scholars in the field of Indian Ocean studies, Pearson’s wide-ranging oeuvre displays a certain unity in diversity...It is to be hoped that the new maritime history of the Indian Ocean will explore some of the directions plotted out here and elsewhere by Pearson.' Itinerario '... this book will surely provide inspiration and insights to many an Indian scholar of Indo-Portuguese or Maritime history.' Indica