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|Number of Pages||301 Pages|
The advent of the Europeans was crucial in transforming the contours of Maritime Asia. The commercial situation in the Indian Ocean was impacted in many ways over the longue duree from the sixteenth to the eighteenth centuries. To offset the adverse balance of trade and to maximize profits, the Europeans imposed their own coercive and monopolistic systems along the existing trade routes. Systematic exploitation of economic opportunities in Asia by Europeans began with the coming of the Portuguese, followed by other European maritime powers. It culminated with Britannia ruling the Asian waters with warships and a strong merchant marine.
A study of the operational and ideological motivations that propelled the European powers’ activities in the Indian Ocean can help to construct a coherent interpretation of the foundations of empire that were being laid, at first insidiously and later, aggressively. The mechanism and implications of Europe`s sustained engagement in Intra-Asian trade, need to be analysed as an essential context to the establishment of colonial empires. India, concentric to Indian Ocean trade, became the ‘Jewel in the Crown’, its rich resources a major source of the power and pelf of the British Empire.