Indonesia, China, and Japan

  • John H. Parry
Part of the Documentary History of Western Civilization book series (DHWC)


The eastern luxury goods in which Portuguese factors were chiefly interested were products not of India, but of islands in the Malay archipelago; nor were the Malabar ports the only markets, or even the principal markets, where such goods were bought and sold. Arab merchants shipping to the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf could easily elude Portuguese interference by making their purchases in one or other of the Malayan or Indonesian markets, of which Malacca was the best known. Malacca had a strategic as well as a commercial importance, because most shipping between the archipelago and the Bay of Bengal passed through the Malacca Strait. The Portuguese commanders in India soon grasped that in order to establish a monopoly of the supply of spices to Europe they would have to destroy the trade of their Arab competitors; and that in order to achieve this end they must control Malacca. If they could establish their own factories still further east, and make their own spice purchases, or some of them, in the actual places of origin, so much the better.


Foreign Trade Buddhist Monk Good Port Humble Person Rowing Boat 
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Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1968

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  • John H. Parry

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