Indian Ocean Trade

Timeline created by nlynne06
In History
  • 1,000 BCE

    Sugar Cane Reaches India

    When sugar cane reached India, it began to rise as one of the most important crops of the classical era. As it became heavily cultivated on a much larger scale, sugar cane was beginning to be cross-pollinated with other varieties of cane; becoming a more productive crop than ever before. Sugar was seen as a luxury throughout the era and was treated as such during trade, conquest, and migration.
  • 1,000 BCE

    Bananas Reach Africa

    Bananas become one of the top crops and food throughout the Classical Era trade routes. Being heavily cultivated in China and Africa.
  • -900 BCE

    The Creation of the Kamal

    Created by Arab navigators, the Kamal consisted of a small, rectangular card with a knotted cord passed through it. It was used to observe the latitude of the sea by comparing the distance between the horizon and a particular star at the same time each night. It came in handy while crossing the Indian Ocean because of the monsoon winds that travelers were faced with.
  • -813 BCE

    Phoenicians Discover City of Carthage

    Founded by the Phoenicians, Carthage turned into a trade post power house as they traded all types of goods from olive oil to fish paste. They also began trading silver and tin which developed into them having a monopoly in the tin trading at the time.
  • -609 BCE

    The Nile River and Red Sea Connection

    Pharaoh Necho of Egypt constructed a canal that linked the Nile River to the Red Sea so trade would be vastly improved between the Indian Ocean lands. Although it seemed like a good idea, there were problems that the canal would be ruined with massive sand build up, as well as the Nile River's fresh water would be tarnished with too much salt; putting Egypts agriculture and population at risk. Although the canal was never finished, it provided a foundation for the later Suez Canal.
  • -534 BCE

    The Rise of Sri Lanka

    Hit with the spread of Indian religions, mostly Buddhism, and other cultural influences, Sri Lanka is an island off the coast of India that turned into a central part of the Indian Ocean trade networks; linking the eastern and western parts of the Indian Ocean. The island became a major port for foreign merchants, as Roman coins have been found on the island along with the export of ivory and tortoiseshell to India. Lastly, Sri Lanka was famous for its popular trade good, cinnamon.
  • -500 BCE

    The Bright Star of Polaris

    It is unclear when exactly they used the star as navigation, but the Phoenicians were the first to use it as a tool for travel across oceans with no land in sight. Located in the Little Dipper constellation, Polaris is on the northern end of the axis on which the earth rotates; never changing position. This allowed the Phoenicians to use the star in order to sail long distances and increase their trade distance with foreign cultures.
  • -465 BCE

    Hanno of Carthage Explores the West African Coast

    Hanno conducted a voyage along the west coast of Africa to explore the surrounding areas. He set sail with approximately 60 vessels and about 30,000 companions, men and women. He would go on to build a temple in Soloeis and founded an additional five cities around present day Morocco.
  • -400 BCE

    Isthmus of Kra

    The Isthmus of Kra is a narrow strip of land that connects the Malay Peninsula to Asia; separating the Indian Ocean from the Sea of China. Indian traders reached Southeast Asia by crossing the Isthmus of Kra rather than taking the trip around the entire Malay Peninsula. A couple hundred years later, goods were being transported all over the Indian Ocean and throughout the Isthmus of Kra.
  • -331 BCE

    The City of Alexandria is Founded in Egypt

    Founded by Alexander the Great, Alexandria would become a major city of art and trade as it turned from a small town in Egypt to becoming one of the most grandest cities, and ports, across the globe at the time. Alexandria was home to one of the greatest engineers/mathematicians ever, Hero, as well as the Great Lighthouse; one of the seven wonders of the ancient world.
  • -275 BCE

    The Egyptian Port City of Berenike

    Located along the Red Sea, Berenike became a huge hub of international trade. It was founded by Egyptian King Ptolemy II where he would use it as a harbor for importing elephants from surrounding African countries. Additionally, the city was big into trading with India as they would exchange cloth, pottery, beads, and many other goods. During the Roman Empire, spices, pearls, and many luxury items were all being shipping through the city to Rome and Alexandria.
  • -220 BCE

    Cloves Become Important in the Spice Trade

    Cloves became a highly sought out luxury item that was traded throughout Europe and China trade routes. They were regularly imported by the Romans which helped cloves spread throughout southern Europe. Being an intricate part of the spice trade, cloves helped connect the islands of Southeast Asia to the Asian mainland and many other distant countries.
  • -200 BCE

    Taklamakan Desert Travels

    One of the worlds largest deserts, it spans 600 miles vertically and 250 miles horizontally. The desert lies along the Silk Road and merchant caravans would travel to and from China over the northern and southern parts of the Taklamakan. The routes through the desert were surrounded by oasis towns that provided adequate water and supplies for the caravans and stayed in use for hundreds of years.
  • 300

    The City of Palmyra

    The city of Palmyra really thrived because of the many merchants of foreign cultures that came to visit. It was one of the wealthiest trading posts that controlled the overland caravan routes that linked the Roman Empire to the Parthian Empire. The most important geographical feature of Palmyra was its location. The city connected two fo the most important trade routes: the Silk Road and the Incense Road.
  • Period:
    1,500 BCE
    to
    -332 BCE

    The Rise of the Phoenicians

    The Phoenicians heavily dominated the trade and travel in the Classical Era. They consisted of independent city-states along the Mediterranean Sea and and were known for exporting some of the most unique, and highly prized, reddish-purple cloth.
  • Period:
    1,500 BCE
    to
    -332 BCE

    Phoenician Ships Boost Transportation

    The Phoenicians built large cargo ships in order to transport large amounts of goods from place to place. They were typically between 65 and 100 feet long and about 20 feet wide. They were built to hold a crew of about 20 men and were extremely advanced from a technical aspect for their time period.
  • Period:
    -700 BCE
    to
    -100 BCE

    The Kingdom of Aksum

    Now Ethiopia, Aksum flourished for centuries because of their extensive trading with Greece and many other regions. Aksum's port city, Adulis, helped link the Red Sea and Indian Ocean trade networks. In addition, they were very profitable in controlling the African gold and ivory trade routes. Aksum exported gold, gems, spices, ivory, and many other luxury items to Greece, India, Persia, etc.
  • Period:
    -610 BCE
    to
    -595 BCE

    Pharaoh Necho II Reigns

    Pharaoh Necho's reign was very important because of two major events that he had undertaken. The first was the beginning construction of the canal that linked the Nile River and the Red Sea, and the second was him hiring Phoenician sailors to explore the seas surrounding Africa. After sailing the entire continent, Necho and the Egyptians had a better understanding of the coastal geography of Africa which would help for later trading.
  • Period:
    -515 BCE
    to
    -510 BCE

    The Voyage of Scylax

    King Darius of Persia enlisted in the service of Scylax of Caryanda to make a voyage into the Indian Ocean after hearing about the riches of India. After exploring the Indus River and many other parts of Egypt, Scylax became famous for his five year voyage and brought news of his sailed regions. This ended up encouraging many trade expeditions and later on would result in Scylax writing a handbook for mariners and other voyagers.
  • Period:
    -500 BCE
    to
    -100 BCE

    The Creation of the Camel Saddle

    The camel was very useful for pastoral nomads in establishing their livelihoods. Without the saddle, it either became difficult to stay on the camels humps, or riding their neck for short periods of times in order to not hurt the animal. The development of the camel saddle allowed the pack animal to carry heavy loads of goods, food, etc. and not be in pain for long trips. The saddle was designed to evenly distribute the weight while still being able to ride the camel.
  • Period:
    -500 BCE
    to
    -200 BCE

    Camels Help Vamp Up the Gold and Salt Trade

    With the Saharan Berber-speaking nomads using the camel throughout North Africa for their livelihoods, trade between North Africa and the African savannah became established. Also, the relationship between farmers on both ends of the desert and pastoral nomads crossing the desert established as well, allowing trade to happen back and forth; utilizing the camel and the camel saddle. This helped the development of the gold and salt trade which would flourish for many centuries later.
  • Period:
    -334 BCE
    to
    323

    Alexander the Great Conquers West Asia

    Leading the largest army to ever leave Greece, 48,500 soldiers, one of the fiercest rulers ever defeated the Persian Empire and extended the Greek control over the Asian continent. His ruling brought Greek culture to many foreign lands, initiating the beginning of the Hellenistic period and laid the foundation of interaction and cultural exchanges for centuries.
  • Period:
    -271 BCE
    to
    -232 BCE

    The Rule of Ashoka

    Ashoka is one of the most famous Indian emperors and worked hard to spread the Buddhism religion as far as possible. He had many Buddhist teachings carved into rocks, caves, and tall stone pillars, as well as sending religious envoys to many foreign countries. He encouraged contact and interactions that ended up establishing many trade relations with cultures in West and Southeast Asia.
  • Period:
    -200 BCE
    to
    -150 BCE

    Egyptian Faience Bowl Beauty

    Used for funeral or ritual purposes, this bowl was made with a special blue-green ceramic glaze and was immensely popular during the Hellenistic and Roman periods. These bowls contained Egyptian and Greek designs and became a huge export outside to many parts of the Roman Empire; parts have been found from Israel all the way to Southern Italy.
  • Period:
    -200 BCE
    to
    -100 BCE

    The Beauty of Pearls

    Pearls were sought out by the wealthiest people of Rome who would fish them out of the sea because of how much they became an ideal trade good. They take up very little room and were commonly used for jewelry and decoration. The countries surrounding the Arabian Gulf took advantage of finding the worlds best pearls from the waters, as they would export the gemstone to the Roman Empire and boost their economies tremendously.