The Indian subcontinent was indispensible in its contribution to trade in the world system. India served as a natural link connecting sea routes between the Mediterranean region and the Middle East with China. South India can be traced back as a sea trade hub some 4000 years. Trade with Rome primarily established the link between India and Europe. Rome desired many Indian goods including exotic animals, spices, cloth and Ivory. The Romans desired much more from India then they had to give back. As a result, Rome traded vast amounts of metal coins to India. South Eastern traders established trade routes in India sating back to the 1st millennia BC.
I found it interesting how India played a somewhat passive role in trade given its location. India is in a perfect location to achieve hegemony. If it capitalized on its location I believe India could have become more powerful. One of the reasons they didn’t capitalize on the opportunity is because India is a self-sufficient civilization. India did not need goods as much as other countries desired theirs. As a result, they could never maintain hegemony.
This weeks reading made me wonder exactly how important India was to the world system. Without India would the world system advance as much as it did in the 13th century? If India hadn’t taken such a passive role in trading with Europe and Asia would Europe still become achieve hegemony.