Video: India, China, and the Maritime Silk Road

Here's a detailed video mapping out maritime trades routes in the Indian Ocean, Southeast Asia, and East Asia—from ancient times to the medieval era: India, China, and the Maritime Silk Road.

Hubs like Malacca linked together trade networks between China and the Far East, Southeast Asia, the Bay of Bengal, the Arabian Sea, and down East Africa coast.

When Ferdinand Magellan's fleet reached Limasawa Island (modern-day Philippines), they touched base for the first time with the well-established East Asian network—in fact an eastern edge. They had just survived a harrowing journey across the Pacific Ocean, and had just chanced upon the isolated island of Guam (imagine that!) before Limasawa.

When the fleet arrived at Limasawa, Enrique of Malacca was suddenly able to converse with locals, likely in a Malay language or dialect used by merchants. Ten years earlier, Magellan had taken Enrique as a slave following the sack of Malacca. Magellan put the teenage boy to work as an interpreter as he grilled merchants and pilots in the city to learn all he could about trade to the east, the Spice Islands, and the north, up into China and Okinawa.

Magellan's goal was the fabled Spice Islands, the Moluccas, the soul source of cloves, nutmeg, and mace that Europeans craved. And on March 28, 1521, Magellan finally reached the eastern edge of that Asian trade network, ten years after departing the same network's western edge in Malacca. (He took the scenic route.)
Video by Odd Compass.

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