The ancient Indian Ocean Trade

Commerce without bullies

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1,000 years of peace - until the Portuguese showed up

John Green Is the teacher here.

Good stuff.

What he doesn't say is that the Indian Ocean trade, one of the most fruitful in human history, continued for a thousand years peacefully without empires or armies to back up "trade agreements."

Indians, Arabs and Africans and whoever else could come up with something to bring to the party traded freely, real free trade, not the kind of "free trade" enforced down the barrel of a gun.

So what happened.

The Portuguese arrived and in the name of God and King informed the various parties that they were now in charge of the trade. The multi-century old participants in the trade didn't take them seriously. "This must be some kind of joke."

Then the Portuguese put some gunpowder into the equation. The traders who did not have armies or navies folded and a thousand year old Pax Indian Ocean came to an end.
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