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Trade and port towns of the classical and medieval islamic period

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Chapter Summary

This chapter focuses on general features of trade and some of the most important Islamic harbour towns in the Early and Middle Medieval periods of Islam. It presents a historical overview which sets up the maritime scene. Mesopotamia's geographic and strategic position made it a crossroads on the overland and sea trade routes, playing an important role in two world routes, the Silk Route and the Spice Route. The name Al-Bahrayn stood collectively for a number of places, Hasa, Qatif, the islands of Bahrain, Qatar, sometimes extending to Oman and it also covered the Southern Arabian coast up to Yemen. One medieval town which archaeological finds have corroborated as an important port was Julfar on today's Emirati coast. Old Hormuz had captured most of the trade of the Indian Ocean, controlling sea ports on the Arabian littoral of the Northern Gulf as well as the Omani coast.

Keywords: Al-Bahrayn; harbour towns; Hormuz; Julfar; medieval Islamic period; Mesopotamia; Silk Route; Spice Route; trade



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