An analysis of the long chain of oceanic trade, from the South China Sea to the eastern Mediterranean, which dominated seaborne commerce for many centuries up to the Industrial Revolution, reveals the unique features of Asian commercial capitalism as well as the contributions of Asian merchants worldwide.
Introduction; Part I. General Problems and Historical Events: 1. Trade and civilisation in the Indian Ocean: social, cultural, economic, and temporal dimensions; 2. The rise of Islam and the pattern of pre-emporia trade in early Asia; 3. The Portuguese seaborne empire in the Indian Ocean; 4. The Dutch and English East India companies and the bureaucratic form of trade in Asia; 5. Emporia trade and the great port-towns in the Indian Ocean; Part II. Structure and la longue durée: 6. The sea and its mastery; 7. Ships and shipbuilding in the Indian Ocean; 8. The land and its relationship with long-distance trade; 9. Commodities and markets; 10. Capital and trade in the Indian Ocean: the problem of scale, merchants, money and production; 11. Conclusion.