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Across the Green Sea: Histories from the Western Indian Ocean 1440–1640

Across the Green Sea: Histories from the Western Indian Ocean 1440–1640

This is a history of two centuries of interactions among areas bordering the western Indian Ocean, including India, Iran, and Africa.

Beginning in the mid-fifteenth century, the regions bordering the western Indian Ocean – “the green sea,” as it was known to Arabic speakers – had increasing contact through commerce, including a slave trade, and underwent cultural exchange and transformation. Using sources in Asian and European languages, this book looks at the history of the ocean from a variety of viewpoints: western India; the Red Sea and Mecca; the Persian Gulf; East Africa; and Kerala.

Subrahmanyam explores how the western Indian Ocean was transformed by the increasing prominence of the Ottoman Empire and the spread of Islam into East Africa. He examines how several cities, including Mecca and the Indian port of Surat, grew and changed during these centuries. Rather than proposing an artificial model of a dominant centre and its dominated peripheries, this book demonstrates the complexity of a polycentric system through “connected histories”, a method pioneered by Subrahmanyam himself.

  • Author

    Sanjay Subrahmanyam is a Distinguished Professor of History and the Irving & Jean Stone Chair in Social Sciences at UCLA. He is the author of Europe's India and Empires Between Islam and Christianity.

  • Details


    296 pages

    In the Hedgehog and Fox series, copublished with Ashoka University

    You can buy this book from our distributors Orient Blackswan or from good bookstores, or from online portals.

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