Indian maritime history

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Indian maritime history begins during the 3rd millennium BCE when inhabitants of the Indus Valley initiated maritime trading contact with Mesopotamia.

Quotes[edit]

  • Commerce on the sea is monopolized by the British even more than transport on land. The Hindus are not permitted to organize a merchant marine of their own; all Indian goods must be carried in British bottoms, as an additional strain on the starving nation's purse; and the building of ships, which once gave employment to thousands of Hindus, is prohibited.
  • Mahuan, an interpreter attached to the Chinese envoy Chang Ho who visited Bengal in 1406, writes that “The rich build ships in which they carry on commerce with foreign nations.”
    • Lal, K. S. (1992). The legacy of Muslim rule in India. New Delhi: Aditya Prakashan. Chapter 6
  • It should be remembered that the Indian Ocean, including the entire coast of Africa, had been explored centuries ago by Indian navigators. Indian ships frequented the East African ports and certainly knew Madagascar. Whether they had rounded the Cape and sailed up the west coast is not known with any certainty.
    • Panikkar, K. M. (1953). Asia and Western dominance, a survey of the Vasco da Gama epoch of Asian history, 1498-1945, by K.M. Panikkar. London: G. Allen and Unwin.
  • The Indian Ocean had from time immemorial been the scene of intense commercial trade. Indian ships had from the beginning of history sailed across the Arabian Sea up to the Red Sea ports and maintained intimate cultural and commercial connections with Egypt, Israel and other countries of the Near East. Long before Hippalus disclosed the secret of the monsoon to the Romans, Indian navigators had made use of these winds and sailed to Bab‑el‑Mandeb. To the east, Indian mariners had gone as far as Borneo and flourishing Indian colonies had existed for over 1,200 years in Malaya, the islands of Indonesia, in Cambodia, Champa and other areas of the coast. Indian ships from Quilon made regular journeys to the South China coast. A long tradition of maritime life was part of the history of Peninsular India...
    • Panikkar, K. M. (1953). Asia and Western dominance, a survey of the Vasco da Gama epoch of Asian history, 1498-1945, by K.M. Panikkar. London: G. Allen and Unwin.
  • The supremacy of India in the waters that washed her coast was unchallenged till the rise of Arab shipping under the early khalifs. But the Arabs and Hindus competed openly, and the idea of ‘sovereignty over the sea’ except in narrow straits was unknown to Asian conception. It is true that the Sri Vijaya Empire dominating the Straits of Malacca exercised control of shipping through that sea lane for two centuries, but there was no question at any time of any Asian power exercising or claiming the right to control traffic in open seas. It follows from this conception of the freedom of the seas that Indian rulers who maintained powerful navies like the Chola Emperors, or the Zamorins, used it only for the protection of the coast, for putting down piracy and, in case of war, for carrying and escorting troops across the seas.
    • Panikkar, K. M. (1953). Asia and Western dominance, a survey of the Vasco da Gama epoch of Asian history, 1498-1945, by K.M. Panikkar. London: G. Allen and Unwin.
  • Ancient Tamil literature and the Greek and Roman authors prove that in the first two centuries of the Christian era the ports on the Coromandel or Cholamandal coast enjoyed the benefits of active commerce with both East and West. The Chola fleets.....uncrossed the Indian ocean to the islands of the Malaya Archipelago.
    • Early History of India - By Vincent Smith p. 415
  • The Indian ships are much bigger than ours. Their bases are made of three boards .. [they] face formidable storms.
    • Niccolò de' Conti (c. 1395–1469), in R. H. Major, ed. (1857), "The travels of Niccolo Conti" [2]

External links[edit]

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