Asian Transitions in an Age of Global Change
The Asian Trading World and the Coming of the Europeans
* The Asian trading network linked the Paciﬁc and Indian oceans in three commercial zones. * The Arab zone, including the Red Sea and Persian Gulf, furnished glass and textiles from the Middle East. * From the Indian zone came cotton textiles, and from China paper, porcelain, and silks. * Valuable spices still dominated the trade, coming from Ceylon and Indonesia. * Coastal routes were preferred by all.
* At the time the Portuguese arrived in the region, no central power controlled trade, and military power was rarely used. * The Portuguese changed the rules.
* Lacking goods desired in the East, the Portuguese resorted to force to obtain the spices they came for. * From 1502, when da Gama ﬁrst entered Asian waters, the Portuguese used their advantage to capture ports. * To fortify their growing network, they took Goa and Ormuz. * The Portuguese aimed to establish a system in which they would control all traffic in the Indian Ocean. * The Portuguese were never able to extend the monopoly they desired, even by using the most brutal measures. * The Dutch and English arrived in the 1600s, with the Dutch taking an early lead. * They built the port of Batavia on Java, well positioned for the spice trade. * The Dutch trading empire followed the same lines as the Portuguese. * Yet the Dutch eventually turned to peaceful cooperation, concentrating on transporting goods. * In general, the Europeans remained on the coastlines, with a few exceptions. * For example, the Dutch controlled the north of Java, installing coffee plantations. * The Spanish conquest of the Philippines in the 1500s, starting with Luzon and the nearby islands, failed to take Mindanao and the northern islands. Tribute systems were established, leaving local rulers in place. * Converting Asians to...
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