The Spice Trail: Muslim Merchants in India, Sri Lanka, and Indonesia In the “Age of Discovery”

Lecture by Dr. Bindu Malieckal
Room 007 in Veröld - Vigdís's house

Today, Indonesia and India are countries with two of the world’s largest populations of Muslims, while Sri Lanka has a small but significant Muslim community.  These demographics developed in part as a result of Arabs and Persians (and previously, their non-Muslim ancestors) immigrating to Asia to trade in spices.  Whether the black pepper of the Malabar foothills in India, the nutmeg, mace, and cloves from the Maluku Islands in Indonesia, or the cinnamon of Sri Lanka, Muslim merchants purchased and transported spices far and wide throughout the Indian Ocean, from the east coast of Africa to the edge of the South China Sea.  In doing so, Muslim merchants forged the spice trail, an oceanic route almost parallel to the more popularly known, land-based “Silk Road.”  This presentation will discuss Muslims’ experiences on the spice trail, their settlement in Asia, and their historical, religious, and political power during the “Age of Discovery.”

Dr. Bindu Malieckal is a Professor of English at Saint Anselm College, where she conducts research on India and Asia in the early modern period and with a particular emphasis on the roles of Muslims and Jews, as well as women’s lives.  Her recent publications appear in Scripta Instituti Donneriani Aboensis; Religion and Politics in the Portuguese-Speaking World: Comparative Perspectives; Indography: Writing the “Indian” in Early Modern England; Early Modern England and Islamic Worlds; and The English Renaissance, Orientalism, and the Idea of Asia.

mán, 11/06/2017 - 15:00
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