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New Medieval Books: Across the Green Sea

Across the Green Sea: Histories from the Western Indian Ocean, 1440-1640

By Sanjay Subrahmanyam

University of Texas Press
ISBN: 978-1-4772-2877-4

Examines the connections – commercial and cultural – between various communities and peoples around the western half of the Indian Ocean. There would be much competition in this maritime world, from local players as well as from European and Ottoman powers.


The purpose of this book, modest in size and compact in its conception, is not to provide a comprehensive history of the western Indian Ocean over two centuries. Neither is it to provide a schematic view, by resorting to a high level of abstraction or generalization. Rather, its strategy may be conceptualized as providing a set of incisions in order to look into various aspects of this maritime world, which was in this period a space of considerable variety and complexity. While questions relating to cultural and intellectual history will be a recurrent refrain, I should stress that the book will rest on a bedrock of political economy, linked to an analysis of social history. Only a close and careful reading of sources can allow us to approach the complexity that the western India Ocean offers us, and it is on this exercise that we shall now embark.


Who is this book for?

Split into four chapters (it could be described as four essays), this book examines its subject from different points of view. It will very much appeal to those who enjoy global history or comparative history. Economic historians and those interested in European expansion in the Early Modern period will find much to read here as well.

The author

Sanjay Subrahmanyam is a Distinguished Professor of History at UCLA, where he has received mant accolades for his work as a historian, which usually focuses on European interactions with South Asia in the Early Modern era. Click here to view his Wikipedia page.


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