Western Indian Ocean under Europe

A look at European domination of the Western Indian Ocean: 1500-1800.

A particular focus of this essay will be the convergence of military and economic power in the trading networks of this period. It will be argued that while all of the players in the trading networks of the region exploited their respective political and military powers, the British approached the region’s trade differently than any of the region’s other players. Through a comparative study of Muscat, Zanzibar and Surat at this time, it will be seen how the British convergence of three factors – colonialism/economic power/military power – distinguished them from both the region’s existing powers and from other European powers in the region as well. This convergence proved irresistible, with British domination leading to the decline of Omani power and the existing trading networks of the region.