The Battle for the Indian Ocean

Jun 2013
6,342
USA
#1
Might as well make the first thread for this new section.

So one thing that I think is simultaneously interesting but overlooked is the battle for trade in the Indian Ocean. The Indian Ocean, being the smallest non-polar ocean, is usually not discussed as much compared to the Atlantic and Pacific ones. But as we all know, the battle over trade in the Indian Ocean led to things like Columbus and others sailing west to try to find a better route for spices. But in spite of that, European nations such as Portugal, Britain, and the Netherlands would continue to battle over economic supremacy in the Indian Ocean, competing against the Ottoman Empire, Mughal India, and various periods of China. Ports or islands like Aden, Bahrain, Zanzibar, Bombay, and Singapore would be crucial to the aspirations of any power and were fought over several times.

What are your thoughts on this theater of history?
 
Likes: chip

Frank81

Ad Honorem
Feb 2010
4,946
Canary Islands-Spain
#2
The Portuguese stablished the most comprehensive dominion over the Indian Ocean, when they attempted to remove all opposition and control trade through the ocean at every point. They operated on East Africa, tried to block the Red and Persian sea routes, all of India, the Insulindia and there where ships had to pass. However, probably no other power faced such opposition like them, fighting local powers as well as other European powers.

The Dutch totally changed the trading net they faced when, instead of sailing back and forth by the outer parts of the Ocean, went directly from South Africa to their possesions in modern Indonesia, using the very demanding, but time saving, southern route

-The red lines, the southern one was a Dutch development


Ultimately, the control over the oceans went to the British. Their goals might weren't that ambitious as those of the Portuguese, focusing their strategy around India-Cape and then India-Suez connections. However, step by step they as well stablished control over most of routes.

Might we must consider the new US control over the area, in this case, based on air bases (Diego García)
 
Likes: Tulius

Belgarion

Ad Honorem
Jul 2011
6,572
Australia
#3
The Indian Ocean is becoming increasingly important in international affairs. China is increasing its presence with military deployments and commercial port acquisitions and in return India and Australia are hosting joint naval exercises and increasing military cooperation in a way not seen previously. The last exercise had 23 nations participating. This has annoyed China who, predictably, sees India as the threat to its middle eastern oil supplies and other IO trade. Interesting times ahead. :popcorn:
 

sparky

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
3,567
Sydney
#4
On the Dutch sailing from the Cape to Batavia , it was quite simple ,
head East along the Cape latitude , passing St Paul Island then after a short while take a north-easterly heading
the problem was this was getting uncomfortably close to the Australian mainland ,
the Pilbara massive Iron deposit would freak out the compass , the Tides around King sound are some of the greatest in the world
and the land itself is desolate with no food and no water .
if the pilot miscalculated the ship would end on the many coral reefs bordering the coast
there is quite a few who didn't made it
 
Jul 2009
9,417
#7
I would suggest re-titling this thread "The Struggle for the Indian Ocean." The first 'Battle' for the Indian Ocean was the domination of the trade routes by the Portuguese after 1500.

The Portuguese never controlled the entirety of the ocean, but that was not their objective. Domination of those trade routes made Portugal, at least for a century or more, a wealthy nation. A discussion of the Portuguese superiority in ship types, artillery, fortification technology, and also of their intense animosity toward Moslems would seem to be in order as a first step in this 'struggle.'
 

Belgarion

Ad Honorem
Jul 2011
6,572
Australia
#8
On the Dutch sailing from the Cape to Batavia , it was quite simple ,
head East along the Cape latitude , passing St Paul Island then after a short while take a north-easterly heading
the problem was this was getting uncomfortably close to the Australian mainland ,
the Pilbara massive Iron deposit would freak out the compass , the Tides around King sound are some of the greatest in the world
and the land itself is desolate with no food and no water .
if the pilot miscalculated the ship would end on the many coral reefs bordering the coast
there is quite a few who didn't made it

This was considered such a problem that eventually the VOC (Dutch East India Company) gave strict instructions to is ships to turn north earlier and avoid the coast at all costs, even if it meant adding time to the passage.
 
Jun 2013
6,342
USA
#9
The Indian Ocean is becoming increasingly important in international affairs. China is increasing its presence with military deployments and commercial port acquisitions and in return India and Australia are hosting joint naval exercises and increasing military cooperation in a way not seen previously. The last exercise had 23 nations participating. This has annoyed China who, predictably, sees India as the threat to its middle eastern oil supplies and other IO trade. Interesting times ahead. :popcorn:
I agree. The Indian Ocean will likely become the most important trading ocean once again very soon.
 

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