This map shows the trade routes by sea. It shows the importance of the monsoon winds that moved the sailing ships across the Indian Ocean. In the winter the winds blew to the southwest bringing the ships down the coast of East Africa. In the summer the winds reversed direction and went northeast bringing the ships up to Arabian and India. From African coast the traders picked up wood for buildings, ivory, ostrich feathers, and even slaves. The trading network was vast, and goods from China even were brought to the east coast of Africa by the Arab traders, and later by the treasure ships of Zheng He from Ming dynasty China.


(source: Baobab Narratives, Harvard Univ.)


A medieval map showing the trade routes from the Arabian peninsula to India. (Source : Arabnet)


Saharan traveler, reminiscent of Ibn Battuta

Source : The Catalan Atlas, National Library of France, Paris. It was completed in 1375.