Sailing East to West

Trade covered progressively greater distances as technologies became more advanced, allowing merchants to travel not only locally but across great stretches of land and sea. The Malay Peninsula and the Indonesia Archipelago lie between the Indian Ocean and the China Seas, and therefore have always been extremely important points along the trade routes. India was also vital, as trade could be shipped from the Malabar Coast directly to Africa and the Red Sea, and thus as far as the Mediterranean. 

Related Information

  • Authors:
    Struan Reid
    13th century BC to 3rd century AD
    Language of article:

    Silk and Spice Routes, Exploration by the sea

    Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, China, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Oman, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Yemen

This platform has been developed and maintained with the support of:


UNESCO Headquarters

7 Place de Fontenoy

75007 Paris, France

Social and Human Sciences Sector

Research, Policy and Foresight Section

Silk Roads Programme