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COT: Commerce in the Indian Ocean Essay

In the Indian Ocean region from 650 C.E. to 1750 C.E., commerce changed in that there was a shift in dominance over trade, and the demand of certain products changes, and a continuity was the Europeans’ demands for goods from Asia.

A change in commerce from 650 C.E. to 1750 C.E. was the changing of control over trade. Around 650 C.E., the Swahili dominated the trade, especially since there were so many coastal forts of the east side of Africa. Trade then switched amongst the Muslims of the Middle East, China and then the various European groups. This was a change because the Swahili were native to Africa, and sold ivory, gold, iron, slaves and exotic animals for silk in Persia and porcelain in China while power shifted multiple times until Europeans steadily began dominating sea trade, especially with the high demand and cheap expense to sell the slaves to the Americas, Asia, India, and parts of Europe.

Another change in the Indian Oceans regions’ commerce was the demand of certain products such as crops from the Americas, cotton textiles from China, and slaves (and etc). Certain crops from the America’s became high in demand, especially maize, for those in the Eastern part of the world. Cotton textile became of decently high demand in the response towards everyone who has and will buy the textiles, and slaves became higher in demand as more people found them cheaper and more hard working than those who were paid. They could’ve come from the east coast of the African continent, from the Philippines, or the small islands there. This was a change because before slaves, the goods that were wanted were gold, silk and many other goods from all over.

Something that continued was that the Europeans always demanded a lot of goods from Asia. In China, European merchants would spend lavish amounts of money on silk and spices, even when in the long run it hurt their own economy. They took on the attitude opposite of mercantilism, where instead of closing importation and focusing more on their own country/ kingdom, they chose to only really import goods. Most Asians weren’t really interested in getting anything in return goods-wise as Europeans didn’t have much to offer, but they probably wanted the European’s gold or silver coins that came from the mines in Brazil. This was a continuation by European merchants trading with Asian traders because even when European explorers just barely discovered China, they already wanted to buy the foreign goods and spend lavishly on many unique and never seen before treasures.

Some changes that occurred from the time 650 c.e. to 1750 c.e. in the commerce of the Indian Ocean region were the shift in dominance over trade, and the on-demand goods change; something that continued was Europeans’ over eagerness to buy from the Asians.

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