Who Did India Trade With in Ancient Times?

India has a rich history of trade and commerce. The country has been a center of trade since ancient times, and its strategic location made it a crucial link between the East and the West. Let’s take a look at who India traded with in ancient times.

Indus Valley Civilization

The Indus Valley Civilization was one of the earliest civilizations in the world, dating back to around 2500 BCE. It had extensive trade relations with other civilizations like Mesopotamia, Egypt, and Persia. The Indus Valley people traded in goods like cotton, spices, ivory, and precious stones.

Ancient Rome

India had trade relations with Ancient Rome dating back to 77 CE. The Romans were interested in Indian spices such as cinnamon, pepper, and ginger. In return, India imported gold coins from Rome.

China

India’s trade relations with China date back to ancient times. The Silk Road was an important trade route that connected India with China. India exported textiles like silk and cotton to China while importing goods like tea and porcelain.

Arabia

Trade relations between India and Arabia date back to pre-Islamic times. Arabia was an important trading partner for India as it was a source of valuable commodities like frankincense and myrrh. In return, India exported textiles like cotton and silk.

Europe

Europeans first established contact with India during the Age of Discovery in the 15th century. Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama arrived in Calicut (present-day Kozhikode) in 1498 CE. European powers like Portugal, France, Britain, and the Netherlands established trading posts along the Indian coast.

  • Portuguese: The Portuguese were the first Europeans to establish a trading post in India. They were interested in Indian spices and textiles.
  • French: The French established trading posts in India in the 17th century. They traded in goods like silk, cotton, and indigo.
  • British: The British East India Company was established in 1600 CE.

    They established trading posts along the east coast of India. The British were interested in Indian textiles and opium.

  • Dutch: The Dutch East India Company established trading posts in India in the 17th century. They traded in goods like textiles, spices, and indigo.

The Conclusion

India’s trade relations with other civilizations have been an important part of its history. From ancient times to the present day, India has been a hub of trade and commerce. The country’s strategic location and abundance of valuable commodities have made it a sought-after trading partner for many civilizations over the centuries.