Southernization By Lynda Shaffer Analysis Essay


In the 1


 century C.E., Egypt became an important overseas market for Indian cottons. By the next century, there was a strong demand for these textiles, both in the Mediterranean and in East Africa, and by the 5


 century, they were being traded in Southeast Asia. The Indian textile trade continued to grow throughout the next millennium. Even after the arrival of European ships in Asian ports at the turn of the 16


century, it continued unscathed. According to one textile expert, “

 India virtually clothed

the world”

 by the mid-

1700s. The subcontinent’s position was not undermined until Britain’s Industrial

 Revolution, when steam engines began to power the production of cotton textiles. Another strand in the process of southernization, the search for new sources of bullion, can be traced back in India to the end of the Mauryan Empire [321-185 B.C.E.]. During

Mauryan rule, Siberia had been India’s main source of gold, but nomadic disturbances in

Central Asia disrupted the traffic between Siberia and India at about the time that the Mauryans fell. Indian sailors then began to travel to the Malay Peninsula and the islands

of Indonesia in search of an alternative source, which they most likely ‘discovered’ with

the help of local peoples who knew the sites. [This is generally the case with bullion discoveries, including those made by Arabs and Europeans.] What the Indians, and others later on, did do was to introduce this gold to international trade routes.

The Indians’ search for gold may also have led them to the shores of Africa. Although its

interpretation is controversial, some archaeological evidence suggests the evidence of Indian influence on parts of East Africa as early as 300 C.E. There is also one report that

gold was being sought in East Africa by Ethiopian merchants, who were among India’s

most important trading partners. The 6


 century Byzantine geographer Cosmas Indicopleustes described Ethiopian merchants who went to some location inland from the East African coast to obtain gold.

 Every other year they would sail far to the south, then march inland, and in return for various made-up articles they would come back laden with ingots of gold 

.” The fact that

the expeditions left every other year suggests that it took 2 years to get to their destination and return. If so, their destination, even at this early date, may have been Zimbabwe. The wind patterns are such that sailors who ride the monsoon south as far as Kilwa can catch the return monsoon to the Red Sea areas within the same year. However, if they go  beyond Kilwa to the Zambezi River, from which they might go inland to Zimbabwe, they cannot return until the following year. Indian voyages on the Indian Ocean were part of a more general development, more or less contemporary with the Mauryan Empire, in which sailors of various nationalities  began to knit together the shores of th

e “Southern Ocean”, a Chinese term referring to all

the waters from the South China Sea to the eastern coast of Africa. During the period, there is no doubt that the most intrepid sailors were the Malays, peoples who lived in what is now Malaysia, Indonesia, the southeastern coast of Vietnam, and the Philippines. Sometime before 300 B.C.E., Malay sailors began to ride the monsoons, the seasonal winds that blow off the continent of Asia in the colder months and onto its shores in the

Khan Sharyar Questons for ShaFer’s Artcle on “SouThernizaton” 1. WhaT is Ms. ShaFer’s Thesis in The artcle? Southernizaton is like Westernization but the South (Asia, Middle East parts of North Africa) spread its innovations to the world. For example, cotton, spices, silk, rice, mathematics, and sugar, trading networks. 2. WhaT does The auThor mean by “SouThernizaton”? To refer to a quick spreading process that began in Southern Asia and spread from there to various other places around the globe. 3. How is The “SouTh” de±ned in her artcle? In the article it is de±ned as China, Arab countries, Southeast Asia and India (India and Pakistan) 4. LisT The ideas, The agriculTural, mineral, and manufacTured producTs and The inventons ThaT she associaTes wiTh “SouThernizaton.” Some things the author associates with “Southernization” are but not limited to; Cotton, silk, spices, rice, mathematics, sugar, Gunpowder, Compass, printing, numerals, zero, coins, gold, and silver.

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