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Chapter 3: Tolerant Ambience: India
South Asia is topographically diverse, containing a range of economies which produce an astonishing variety of raw materials and manufactured items. During the 1st millennium bc, there was an increase in traffic and maritime trade across the Indian Ocean. Peninsular India, Sri Lanka and the Maldives were linked into an extensive coastal trading network that used ports along India's west coast from Gujarat to the Malabar Coast.
This trade led to a dramatic increase1 in the range of contacts among peoples across the ocean between the Middle East, South Asia and South East Asia from at least the 7th century bc. In part, this was due to the establishment of new states and empires, underpinned by large-scale agricultural systems ...