Book Review:- ‘The Route to European Hegemony: India’s intra-Asian trade in the early modern period (sixteenth to eighteenth centuries)’ by R. Maloni, Manohar

By Mir Kamruzzaman Chowdhary, published February 2024


The Indian Ocean was the centre of the first sophisticated commercial and maritime activities. From antiquity, India enjoyed commercial links with Southeast Asian countries through Indian Ocean networks. While in recent decades there has been a plethora of books about the Indian Ocean and its trade, often concentrating on the earlier periods, these works are primarily concerned with giving general information about the trade routes, port towns and economic and cross-cultural influence.

Ruby Maloni’s book is thus a welcome addition to the list. Her work also concentrates mainly on the trading activities in the Indian Ocean, but she takes as her focus the intra-Asian trade in the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries, exploring the commercial situation in the Indian Ocean and its impact on the relationship between European powers in the Indian Ocean. The book argues that the British were different from other Europeans in their approach to Indian Ocean trade, and this acted as a catalyst for their success in the region both on land and in the ocean itself. Britain took an active interest in intra-Asian trade, while other European powers neglected it…

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Filed under: Indian Ocean | East India Company
Subjects include: Logistics | Strategy & Diplomacy

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