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Civilizations Of Islam

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From 300 BCE to 600 CE, trade through the Mediterranean Sea and Indian Ocean helped unite Africa, the Middle East, Asia, and even parts of Europe while spreading many elements of their culture including beliefs and technology. Mediterranean trade included the Silk Road and Mediterranean Sea. Indian Ocean trade had routes linking Africa, Asia, and the Middle East all together. Mariners, merchants, and other people living in places greatly influenced by the trade developed unique culture. Trade even contributed to the spread of major religions like Buddhism and Christianity.

Being associated with different cultures and geographies, Indian Ocean and Mediterranean Sea trade developed many differences. Shipbuilders in the two regions had different technologies and ways of building an efficient ship. Mediterranean sailors used small square sails and long banks of oars to navigate among the small harbors and islands. Indian Ocean ships relied on triangular lateen sails and normally didn't need oars, using wind from the monsoons to traverse long ocean stretches. The two cultures found different ways of establishing their trade routes. Phoenicians and Greeks built many colonies that kept in contact with the homeland. Indian Ocean traders and greater distance and less contact, so colonies didn't often keep political ties with their homeland. Routes traveled in the Indian Ocean were much larger than those in the Mediterranean Sea. Indian Ocean sailors used the monsoon winds to cover very large distances entirely at sea. Mediterranean Sea mariners rarely ventured out of land. The different people and geography of the two regions caused both subtle and great differences in their development.

Though they had their differences, the Indian Ocean and Mediterranean Sea had many similar qualities as well. Both found ways to use their unique geography to their advantage. Indian Ocean traders made sails that would easily catch the monsoon winds. Mediterranean



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