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Imagined GeographiesThe Maritime Silk Roads in World History, 100-1800$
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Geoffrey C. Gunn

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9789888528653

Published to Hong Kong Scholarship Online: May 2022

DOI: 10.5790/hongkong/9789888528653.001.0001

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Connecting Up the Dots on Global Port Cities

Connecting Up the Dots on Global Port Cities

(p.155) 7 Connecting Up the Dots on Global Port Cities
Imagined Geographies

Geoffrey C. Gunn

Hong Kong University Press

Just as the “known world” of the ancient Greeks and Romans entered the histories of Strabo, Pliny, and Arrian, so today archaeologists and others strive to recapture the dynamics of long-distance trade contacts between different civilizations, whether via maritime or land silk road links. Because we are dealing with vast space across time, with the rise and fall of civilizations and hegemonic centers, it is important to set down a basic chronology. One attempt to achieve such a framing was struck by Japanese scholar Ikuta Shigeru. We should have a sound knowledge of the major routes connecting up the termini of the silk roads, both terrestrial and maritime or what Janet Abu-Lughod describes as the first “nascent” world system. In this chapter, a first section examines port cities of the Middle East-Indian Ocean circuit, stressing the importance of long-distance trade connecting up Han China with Rome. A second section brings to attention the rise of Islamic trade ports building upon the Arab maritime commercial tradition. A third section examines the closely linked Southeast Asian circuits of trade, while the same is examined with respect to the South and East China Sea in a final section.

Keywords:   port cities, Indian Ocean circuits, Greco-Roman seafaring, Islamic world ports, Southeast Asia circuits, Palembang, Malacca, China Sea circuits

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