From Zanzibar to Zaytun: Iranian Merchants across the Indian Ocean Basin

In: Iran and the Caucasus

The role of Iranian merchants in the maritime trade of the Indian Ocean basin from antiquity up to the 16th century is often underestimated. From scholarly histories to popular culture the “Muslim sailor” is typically portrayed as being an Arab. In fact, from pre-Islamic times the principal actors in Indian Ocean trade were predominantly Persian, as attested by the archaeological data, local written records, and the names of places and individuals.

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