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Ports-of-Trade, Maritime Diasporas, and Networks of Trade and Cultural Integration in the Bay of Bengal Region of the Indian Ocean: c. 1300-1500

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This exploratory study addresses the trading networks in the Bay of Bengal region of the Indian Ocean during the 1300-1500 era. In this case it is less about the exchange of products than the membership of trading communities, the relationships among the regionally networked ports-of-trade and their merchant communities, and the regional cultural and economic consequences. The focal issue here is the transitional nature of maritime trade and cultural identities in this sub-region of the international East-West maritime route immediately prior to the Portuguese seizure of Melaka in 1511 (see map 1). This article addresses the alternative understandings of this era’s Bay of Bengal regional trade relative to maritime diasporas and other networked relationships; in doing so it incorporates the latest discussions of early urbanization in this region by focusing on networking between secondary and primary centers.<xref ref-type="fn" rid="FN1">1</xref>

Cette contribution s’adresse au Golfe de Bengale dans la période 1300-1500, notamment à l’ensemble de ses littoraux, et le considère comme une unité. Pour cette raison elle aborde à peine les ports individuels. Cet espace vit des Chinois, des Perses, et des Yéménites s’associants au visiteurs du Moyen-Orient, et les activités des diasporas issus de l’Inde du Sud et du Sri Lanka. Le maillage de ses réseaux régionaux étant fluides et perméables se modifiaient suivant les événements et s’adaptaient au fluctuations entre les diasporas euxmêmes. Ses communautés actives dans le Golfe de Bengale seront perçues au niveau conceptuels comme des espaces peuplés par des individus, des familles, et la multiplicité des leurs circuits politiques et socio-économiques dérivées, eux, de leurs pays d’origine ainsi que de leurs destinations.


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