Indian Ocean Trade Route

Timeline created by Acressman001
In History
  • 800

    Indian Ocean Trade Begins

    Beginning with small trading settlements
  • 801

    Major Empires Involved

    Including the Achaemenid Empire in Persia, the Mauryan Empire in India, the Han Dynasty in China, and the Roman Empire in the Mediterranean.
  • 802


    Silk from China to Roman aristocrats, Roman coins to Indian treasuries, and Persian jewels in Mauryan settings.
  • 803

    Major Export

    Buddhism, Hinduism, and Jainism spread from India to Southeast Asia. Islam spread later as well
  • 1258

    Flourished Trade in the Medieval Era

    The rise of the Umayyad and Abbasid caliphates on the Arabian Peninsula provided a powerful western node for the trade routes.
  • 1258

    Muslim Cities Create Demand

    Islam valued merchant (the Prophet Muhammad himself was a trader and caravan leader) and wealthy Muslim cities created an enormous demand for luxury goods.
  • 1279

    Tang and Song

    the Tang and Song dynasties in China also emphasized trade and industry, developing strong trade ties along the land-based Silk Roads, and encouraging maritime trade. The Song rulers even created a powerful imperial navy to control piracy on the eastern end of the route.
  • 1327

    Maritime Trade

    The Chola Empire in southern India dazzled travelers with its wealth and luxury; Chinese visitors record parades of elephants covered with gold cloth and jewels marching through the streets. In what is now Indonesia, the Srivijaya Empire boomed based on taxing trading vessels that moved through the narrow Malacca Straits. The Angkor civilization based far inland in the Khmer heartland of Cambodia, used the Mekong River as a highway that tied it into the Indian Ocean trade network.
  • 1405

    Foreign Trade

    Foreigners take the time and trouble of visiting coastal China to obtain fine silks, porcelain, and other items.
  • 1406

    The First of Seven Expeditions

    The Yongle Emperor of China's new Ming Dynasty sent out the first of seven expeditions to visit all of the empire's major trading partners around the Indian Ocean.
  • 1407

    Ming Treasure Ships

    The Ming treasure ships under Admiral Zheng. He traveled all the way to East Africa, bringing back emissaries and trade goods from across the region.
  • 1498

    Strange New Mariners Appearance

    Portuguese sailors under Vasco da Gama rounded the southern point of Africa and ventured into new seas. The Portuguese were eager to join in the Indian Ocean trade since European demand for Asian luxury goods was extremely high. However, Europe had nothing to trade. The people around the Indian Ocean basin had no need for wool or fur clothing, iron cooking pots, or the other meager products of Europe.
  • 1498

    Pirate Appearance

    the Portuguese entered the Indian Ocean trade as pirates rather than traders. Using a combination of bravado and cannons, they seized port cities like Calicut on India's west coast and Macau, in southern China. The Portuguese began to rob and extort local producers and foreign merchant ships alike. Still scarred by the Moorish Umayyad conquest of Portugal and Spain they viewed Muslims in particular as the enemy and took every opportunity to plunder their ships.
  • European Power Appearance: The Dutch East India Company

    Sought a total monopoly on lucrative spices like nutmeg and mace.
  • British joined in with their British East India Company

    Challenging the VOC for control of the trade routes. As the European powers established political control over important parts of Asia, turning Indonesia, India, Malaya, and much of Southeast Asia into colonies, reciprocal trade dissolved.
  • Downfall of The Indian Ocean Trade Network

    Goods moved increasingly to Europe, while the former Asian trading empires grew poorer and collapsed. With that, the two-thousand-year-old Indian Ocean trade network was crippled, if not completely destroyed.