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Wan Ming

Previous studies of Zheng He’s voyages during the past hundred years have rarely stressed the fact that the main scope of Zheng He’s expeditions was the Indian Ocean. They have usually investigated Zheng He’s voyages as a whole, and this has tended to obscure the fact that the Indian Ocean was the

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Zhongping Chen

On the eve of the Age of Discoveries, Zheng He 鄭和 (1371–1433) launched his maritime voyages, and his seven large-scale expeditions to the Indian Ocean world between 1405 and 1433 overshadowed any maritime activities of contemporary European counterparts. 1 This article uses network theory to

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Sebastian R. Prange

Introduction To João de Barros, the sixteenth-century chronicler of Portugal’s imperial project in Asia, justifying his king’s claim to the Indian Ocean was straightforward. 1 Because Asian waters had never before been claimed, he stated, there was no existing right to free passage, entitling

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Sanjay Subrahmanyam

western Indian port of Surat. 12 1 How Surat Emerged The emergence to prominence of Surat was closely linked to the construction there of an artillery-fortress. In the early sixteenth century, when the first Portuguese descriptions of the Indian Ocean littoral come to us, Surat appears as a

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Patrick Wing

Indian Ocean and Mediterranean enriched both merchants and rulers from Calicut to Venice. The Mamluk Sultanate was located at the nexus of this trans-regional trade network, and in the early 15th century, sought new ways to take advantage of it, just at the moment of a serious economic crisis brought on

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Africa in the Indian Ocean

Islands in Ebb and Flow


Tor Sellström

The four sovereign Indian Ocean states of Comoros, Madagascar, Mauritius and Seychelles, the two French overseas departments of Mayotte and Reunion, as well as the British colony of BIOT (Chagos), all form part of Africa. As insular nations and territories in an increasingly globalized, militarized and largely unregulated ocean, they face particular challenges. Commonly overlooked in the fields of African and international studies, this text traces the islands’ history and explores their diverse contemporary social, political and economic trajectories. From human settlement and slavery to conflict resolution and piracy, the relations with continental Africa and the African Union feature prominently. Richly sourced, this comprehensive and up-to-date introduction to Africa’s Indian Ocean islands covers a significant lacuna.
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Ranabir Chakravarti

The paper examines, in the light of current historiography, the recent trends in the application and applicability of the World Historical studies on the Indian Ocean scenario. Calling for the combination of the breadth of the World Historical studies with the analysis of a historical scenario in its specific spatio-temporal context—instead of a synchronic approach—the present study takes a close look at commerce and politics in the western Indian Ocean in the light of an early 14th century Latin Crusade tract, How to Defeat the Saracens by William of Adam (Guillelmus Ade, Tractatus quomodo Sarraceni sunt expugnandi), a Dominican friar. The text offers remarkable insights into the interlocking of the Indian Ocean and the South Asian subcontinent with the Mamluk Sultanate, the Ilkhanid realm and the Crusades. The paper argues for what is now termed as braided and connected histories.

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Translocal Connections across the Indian Ocean

Swahili Speaking Networks on the Move


Edited by Francesca Declich

The book describes the worlds where Swahili is spoken as multi-centred contexts that cannot be thought of as located in a specific coastal area of Kenya or Tanzania. The articles presented discuss a range of geographical areas where Swahili is spoken, from Somalia to Mozambique along the Indian Ocean, in Europe and the US. In an attempt to de-essentialize the concepts of translocality and cosmopolitanism, the emphasis of the book is on translocality as experienced by different social strata and by gender and cosmopolitanism as an acquired attitude.

Contributors are: Katrin Bromber, Gerard van de Bruinhorst, Francesca Declich, Rebecca Gearhart Mafazy, Linda Giles, Ida Hadjivayanis, Mohamed Kassim, Kjersti Larsen, Mohamed Saleh, Maria Suriano, Sandra Vianello.
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Anne M. Blackburn

precedents for nineteenth-century activities. While Prisdang and his monastic colleagues often celebrated unbroken Buddhist connections in the Indian Ocean region in a manner that emphasized continuities with the era of the third-century bce King Asoka, scholars of Buddhism and historians of the region

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Ulrike Freitag

The author discusses the modern history of Hadhramaut in a novel way. Linked to the Indian Ocean through a long history of migration, she traces the ways in which members of the diaspora and travellers interacted with the homeland through their remittances, political initiatives and the introduction of new ideas and institutions. The book is based on a wide range of hitherto unused Hadhrami and British sources as well as on fieldwork in Yemen and Indonesia.
Exemplary life-histories of merchants and scholars illustrate the wide range of concerns for the establishment of stable polities in a tribal society. This is linked to the careful analysis of the impact of imperial rule both in the lands of the diaspora and in Hadhramaut in chapters focussing on state- and institution-formation. Developments in Hadhramaut are regarded as a prism for the development of modernity in the wider Muslim and Indian Ocean worlds which was adapted to local conditions and needs.