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Ancient India Maritime History: Trade Links With Europe and Southeast Asian Nations

Excavations Provide Evidence About Ports that Played a Major Role in Overseas Trade in Past

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Ancient India maritime route
Ancient Indo-Oman maritime trade route. Wikimedia
  • The maritime history begins from the 3CE when the Indus Valley people initiated trading contact with Mesopotamia
  • Tamil Nadu being a coastal state had more than 16 ports across Chennai which had trade links with China, Egypt, parts of Europe
  • Presently in Tamil Nadu, a deep-sea port has been proposed in Enayam which would emerge as a major port for Indian cargo to be exported

June 27, 2017:

Before the incipience of air transport, mankind was dependent on sea links for transportation and trading of goods between continents. Sea was the major form of transportation in the past and even though people still use the sea for transport, most of the trading is now usually done through the air transport.

As we look back in time, the ports were the busiest place to be, because sailors were the only people who could get you and your goods across countries. In India too, we had ports down on the southern region so that we could access trade with all over Europe and Middle East countries.

The Ancient India maritime history begins from the 3CE when the Indus Valley people initiated trading contact with Mesopotamia. Indian Silk was one of the most traded product but later on, Indian spices took hold of most of the trading to the West surpassing Silk.

Tamil Nadu being the coastal state had more than 16 ports across Chennai and Tirunelveli which had trade links with China, Egypt, parts of Europe and South-east Asian countries. Archaeologists say ancient Tamil literature and excavations provide evidence about the existence of such ports that played a major role in overseas trade in the past.

C Santhalingam, the secretary of Pandya Nadu Centre for Historical Research told that these sea routes in Tamil Nadu can be traced to the Sangam Period which was from (3CE BC to 3CE AC) and said, “The historical coastal town of Kaveripoompattinam (Poompuhar in Nagapattinam district) recorded import of horses from Arab countries and finished goods from Indonesia and Sri Lanka. The port was also a major centre for the export of spices from South India.

Ancient port was built differently from the modern ports which are at the coastline as they were situated over the river mouths because the transporting ships in the past were not as big as the ones now, so the river mouths were the right places for safe docking of the ships.

Presently in Tamil Nadu, a deep-sea port has been proposed in Enayam in Kanyakumari district which would emerge as a major port for Indian cargo to be exported. The proposed budget for this port is 27,570 crore and the port would act as a hub for the global east-west trade route and also reduce the logistics cost for Indian traders dependent on transhipment in Colombo and Singapore giving rise to maritime link jobs.

prepared by Sumit Balodi of NewsGram. Twitter: @sumit_balodi

  • Jai Rajkumar

    BEFORE THAT TAMILS SAILED ALL AROUND THE WORLD. TAMILS ARE THE FIRST SAILORS O THE WORLD

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Reported Cases of Sexually Transmitted Disease Up by 70% in Europe Since 2010

Amato-Gauci said complacency among men who have gay sex and seem unconcerned about HIV risks appeared to be fuelling the problem

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sexually transmitted disease
A nurse takes blood from a man for a free HIV test on a bus in Tehran, Dec. 16, 2015. VOA

Syphilis cases have soared in Europe over the last decade and become, for the first time since the early 2000s, more common in some countries than new cases of HIV, health experts said Friday.

Reported cases of the sexually transmitted disease are up by 70% since 2010, a report from the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) showed, with the rise driven by more unprotected sex and riskier sexual behavior among gay men.

“The increases in syphilis infections that we see across Europe … are a result of several factors, such as people having sex without condoms and multiple sexual partners, combined with a reduced fear of acquiring HIV,” said Andrew Amato-Gauci, an ECDC expert on sexually transmitted infections.

The European report comes after the World Health Organization said last month that around a million people each day worldwide catch a sexually transmitted infection.

sexually transmitted disease
FILE – A billboard above a gas station, April 1, 2016, promotes testing for sexually transmitted diseases. The number of cases of STDs – chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis – in California reached a record high in 2017. VOA

Left untreated, syphilis can have severe complications in men and women, including causing stillbirths and newborn deaths and increasing the risk of HIV. Syphilis was one of the leading causes of baby loss globally in 2016.

The Stockholm-based ECDC, which monitors health and disease in Europe, said that overall, more than 260,000 syphilis cases were reported from 30 countries from 2007 to 2017.

In 2017, syphilis rates reached an all-time high with more than 33,000 reported cases, the ECDC said. This meant that for the first time since the early 2000s, the region reported more cases of syphilis than new cases of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) that causes AIDS.

But the problem varied significantly by country, with rates more than doubling in five countries — Britain, Germany, Ireland, Iceland and Malta — but dropping by 50% or more in Estonia and Romania.

sexually transmitted disease
Amato-Gauci said complacency among men who have gay sex and seem unconcerned about HIV risks appeared to be fuelling the problem. Pixabay

Close to two-thirds of the cases reported between 2007 and 2017 where sexual orientation was known were in men who have sex with men, the ECDC report said, while heterosexual men contributed 23% of cases and women 15%.

ALSO READ: Goa May Make HIV Tests Mandatory Before Registration of Marriages

The proportion of cases diagnosed among men who have sex with men ranged from less than 20% in Latvia, Lithuania and Romania to more than 80% in France, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, Sweden and Britain.

Amato-Gauci said complacency among men who have gay sex and seem unconcerned about HIV risks appeared to be fuelling the problem. “To reverse this trend, we need to encourage people to use condoms consistently with new and casual partners,” he said. (VOA)