L’Asie du Sud à l’époque des Grandes Découvertes

Bouchon, Geneviève
Date published: 
January 1987

Compared with that still stimulated by the European discovery of the Americas, the Portuguese exploration of Asia has evoked a surprisingly smaller degree of scholarly interest. Yet it was in the 15th-16th centuries that emerged the forces that shaped the modern history of the lands of the Indian Ocean: the spread of Islam and the establishment of the Europeans. It is to these events that the author here turns her attention. Similarly, while the Portuguese sources for the period are rich, they have been exploited above all from the viewpoint of economic history; though far from ignoring this perspective, the author’s concern has been to reveal the wealth of information they also provide on local political and social history, as well as on the first decades of Portuguese naval expansion and the reactions that this provoked. Coastal India, in particular Malabar, and Sri Lanka form the centre of attention, but some articles trace the first Portuguese voyages on further, to Indochina, or refer back to the influence of the Islamic Middle East.