How were Europeans so easily able to dominate Indian Ocean trade?

Aug 2017
115
Florida
#1
Beginning with the Portuguese.

As far as I know, when the Portuguese first reached the Indian Ocean, they had the same matchlock muskets that the Ottomans, Indians, Arabs, and Persians had.

So what gave the Portuguese the ability to dominate so quickly?
 
Jun 2015
5,681
UK
#2
Better ships, and need/will to travel.

The Chinese had dominated the trade a few centuries earlier, as did INdians and Arabs, but after that, only the Europeans had the ability to control things.
 
Aug 2017
115
Florida
#3
Better ships, and need/will to travel.

The Chinese had dominated the trade a few centuries earlier, as did INdians and Arabs, but after that, only the Europeans had the ability to control things.
I understand that their ships were a great advantage, but how did this help them once they were on land?

Because without trading posts on land, the ships won't do any good if you're just floating in the middle of the ocean.
 
Jan 2016
1,637
India
#6
I understand that their ships were a great advantage, but how did this help them once they were on land?

Because without trading posts on land, the ships won't do any good if you're just floating in the middle of the ocean.
All Portuguese possessions in Indian Ocean were littoral forts, islands and settlements (that could be protected by Navy) and indeed they were terrified to go inland, as they were powerless against territorial powers in India and Arabia when it came to land.
 

kandal

Ad Honorem
Aug 2015
2,645
USA
#7
Beginning with the Portuguese.

As far as I know, when the Portuguese first reached the Indian Ocean, they had the same matchlock muskets that the Ottomans, Indians, Arabs, and Persians had.

So what gave the Portuguese the ability to dominate so quickly?
Portuguese had much better sea worthy vessels. After all they sailed all the from Portugal to India, a formidable task then. Additionally they had cannons mounted on the ships, that others did not have.

Also Indian ocean trade was a peaceful one, with occasional piracy. Keep in mind that Indians were not maritime powers, since Hindus were forbidden to go on oceans.
 

sparky

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
4,342
Sydney
#8
.
there was no strong state with a naval interest in the Indian ocean
Navies are expensive , most countries have a land warfare model
the pirates had the run of the place

The pirates were often Malays , the vikings of the East
they even raided Madagascar
extremely bad people with great sailing skills ,their ships couldn't stand against the square rigged heavy guns totting vessels of the Europeans ,they still remained a menace in closed waters up to today .
there were pirates along the Arabian side of the Persian gulf
until the British navy opened fire and negotiations
no more raiding of the company ships and there would be a military guaranteed of their rules , it was then called the trucial coast , later the United Arab Emirates .

and a mention of the Malabar coast raiders who though the East Indian company ships were a blessing send by God .

As usual the lines are blurred between straight business , acting with some nationalist or religious motive , any other such as revenge or any mix of any of those in any ratio imaginable.
 
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Tulius

Ad Honorem
May 2016
5,369
Portugal
#9
I understand that their ships were a great advantage, but how did this help them once they were on land?

Because without trading posts on land, the ships won't do any good if you're just floating in the middle of the ocean.
As it was already said, the major Portuguese advantage was on sea, with their cannons and ships. On land they were usually quite outnumbered, even if we count local allies and auxiliries, so the advantage was the possibility to choose the place to attack near the coast, the naval guns support, and the shock value, the momentum. Then, they build/rebuilt fortress if they needed to maintain a place.

Better ships, and need/will to travel.

The Chinese had dominated the trade a few centuries earlier, as did INdians and Arabs, but after that, only the Europeans had the ability to control things.
Is that Chinese control in the Indian Ocean really proven?

All Portuguese possessions in Indian Ocean were littoral forts, islands and settlements (that could be protected by Navy) and indeed they were terrified to go inland, as they were powerless against territorial powers in India and Arabia when it came to land.
I think that “terrified” is a heavy word. They knew that they would be in numeric and logistical inferiority in the mass lands, far from the coastal fortress and ships. Anyway expeditions were made deep in the mass lands, from memory I recall two with disembarks in the Indian coast of Africa:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cristóvão_da_Gama#The_Ethiopian_campaign

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kingdom_of_Mutapa#The_Accidental_Crusade

Additionally they had cannons mounted on the ships, that others did not have.
The Muslim powers (at least the Mameluks and the Ottomans) also used artillery on board.

For instance: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Diu_(1509)