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Transregional Trade and TradersSituating Gujarat in the Indian Ocean from Early Times to 1900$
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Edward A. Alpers and Chhaya Goswami

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780199490684

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199490684.001.0001

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Early Historic Gujarat and the Trading World of the Western Indian Ocean

Early Historic Gujarat and the Trading World of the Western Indian Ocean

(p.100) 4 Early Historic Gujarat and the Trading World of the Western Indian Ocean
Transregional Trade and Traders

Himanshu Prabha Ray

Oxford University Press

The chapter discusses the cultural milieu of seafaring activity in Gujarat between the fourth century BCE and the fourth century CE, the objective being to highlight the cultural factors that impacted trans-oceanic contacts. It underscores the autonomy of trading activity, vis-à-vis political organization in this period. Rulers certainly tapped the revenues from trade, but neither controlled nor initiated trade. Trade involved a complex range of transactions, with gifts to those in authority, and prestige commodities required by powerful groups and residents of cities at one end of the scale, while barter and monetary exchanges were the norm at the local and regional level. The chapter is in two sections: the first highlights internal routes across Gujarat that linked the coastal centres to towns and villages; while the second places Gujarat within the early historic sailing world of the western Indian Ocean up to the Red Sea.

Keywords:   Red Sea, navigation, Red Polished Ware, Hindu temple, Periplus Maris Erythraei, Greek

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