Expert Answer:Southernization by Shaffer


Solved by verified expert:Read the attached article, Lynda_Shaffer_Southernization.pdf (from page 1-12) and answer the following questions:What does the author mean by “Southernization”? How does Shaffer define the “South”? List the ideas, the agricultural, mineral, and manufactured products and the inventions that she associates with “Southernization.” What places were the ideas, agriculture, minerals, and manufactured products associated with?What were the major contributions of Indians, Malays, and Chinese to hemispheric development?Again, your responses do not need to be in essay form. However, they need to be complete.

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lynda shaffer
Tufts University
he term southernization is a new one. It is used here to refer
to a multifaceted process that began in Southern Asia and
spread from there to various other places around the globe. The
process included so many interrelated strands of development
that it is impossible to do more here than sketch out the general
outlines of a few of them. Among the most important that will be
omitted from this discussion are the metallurgical, the medical,
and the literary. Those included are the development of mathematics; the production and marketing of subtropical or tropical
spices; the pioneering of new trade routes; the cultivation, processing, and marketing of southern crops such as sugar and cotton; and the development of various related technologies.
The term southernization is meant to be analogous to westernization. Westernization refers to certain developments that first
occurred in western Europe. Those developments changed Europe and eventually spread to other places and changed them as
well. In the same way, southernization changed Southern Asia and
later spread to other areas, which then underwent a process of
Southernization was well under way in Southern Asia by the
fifth century c.e., during the reign of India’s Gupta kings (320–535
c.e.). It was by that time already spreading to China. In the eighth
century various elements characteristic of southernization began
spreading through the lands of the Muslim caliphates. Both in
China and in the lands of the caliphate, the process led to dramatic changes, and by the year 1200 it was beginning to have an
impact on the Christian Mediterranean. One could argue that
Journal of World History, Vol. 5, No. 1
© 1994 by University of Hawaii Press
journal of world history, spring 1994
within the Northern Hemisphere, by this time the process of
southernization had created an eastern hemisphere characterized
by a rich south and a north that was poor in comparison. And one
might even go so far as to suggest that in Europe and its colonies,
the process of southernization laid the foundation for westernization.
The Indian Beginning
Southernization was the result of developments that took place in
many parts of southern Asia, both on the Indian subcontinent and
in Southeast Asia. By the time of the Gupta kings, several of its
constituent parts already had a long history in India. Perhaps the
oldest strand in the process was the cultivation of cotton and the
production of cotton textiles for export. Cotton was first domesticated in the Indus River valley some time between 2300 and 1760
b.c.e.,1 and by the second millennium b.c.e., the Indians had begun
to develop sophisticated dyeing techniques.2 During these early
millennia Indus River valley merchants are known to have lived in
Mesopotamia, where they sold cotton textiles.3
In the first century c.e. Egypt became an important overseas
market for Indian cottons. By the next century there was a strong
demand for these textiles both in the Mediterranean and in East
Africa,4 and by the fifth century they were being traded in Southeast Asia.5 The Indian textile trade continued to grow throughout
the next millennium. Even after the arrival of European ships
in Asian ports at the turn of the sixteenth century, it continued unscathed. According to one textile expert, “India virtually
clothed the world” by the mid-eighteenth century.6 The subconti1
Andrew Watson, Agricultural Innovation in the Early Islamic World: The Diffusion of Crops and Farming Techniques, 700 –1100 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press,1983), p. 32.
Mattiebelle Gittinger, Master Dyers to the World: Technique and Trade in
Early Indian Dyed Cotton Textiles (Washington, D.C.: Textile Museum, 1982), p. 19.
For a discussion of the significance of cotton textiles in Indonesia, see Gittinger,
Splendid Symbols: Textiles and Tradition in Indonesia (Washington, D.C.: Textile
Museum, 1979).
Moti Chandra, Trade and Trade Routes of Ancient India (New Delhi: Abhinav
Publications, 1977), p. 35.
Ibid., p. 126.
Gittinger, Splendid Symbols, pp. 13, 19.
Ibid., p. 15.
Shaffer: Southernization
nent’s position was not undermined until Britain’s Industrial Revolution, when steam engines began to power the production of
cotton textiles.
Another strand in the process of southernization, the search
for new sources of bullion, can be traced back in India to the end
of the Mauryan Empire (321–185 b.c.e.). During Mauryan rule Siberia had been India’s main source of gold, but nomadic disturbances in Central Asia disrupted the traffic between Siberia and
India at about the time that the Mauryans fell. Indian sailors then
began to travel to the Malay peninsula and the islands of Indonesia in search of an alternative source,7 which they most likely
“discovered” with the help of local peoples who knew the sites.
(This is generally the case with bullion discoveries, including
those made by Arabs and Europeans.) What the Indians (and others later on) did do was introduce this gold to international trade
The Indians’ search for gold may also have led them to the
shores of Africa. Although its interpretation is controversial,
some archaeological evidence suggests the existence of Indian
influence on parts of East Africa as early as 300 c.e. There is also
one report that gold was being sought in East Africa by Ethiopian
merchants, who were among India’s most important trading partners. The sixth-century Byzantine geographer Cosmas Indicopleustes described Ethiopian merchants who went to some location inland from the East African coast to obtain gold. “Every
other year they would sail far to the south, then march inland,
and in return for various made-up articles they would come back
laden with ingots of gold.” 8 The fact that the expeditions left every
other year suggests that it took two years to get to their destina7
Paul Wheatley, The Golden Khersonese: Studies in the Historical Geography
of the Malay Peninsula Before A. D. 1500 (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1973),
p. 188.
D. W. Phillipson, “The Beginnings of the Iron Age in Southern Africa,” in
UNESCO General History of Africa, vol. 2: Ancient Civilizations of Africa, ed.
G. Mokhtar (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1981), pp. 679– 80, 688– 90. In
the same volume, see also M. Posnansky, “The Societies of Africa South of the
Sahara in the Early Iron Age,” p. 726. Phillipson indicates that there is evidence of
exchange between Zimbabwe and the coast in this early period, and Posnansky
refers to the work of R. F. H. Summers who believes that early prospecting and
mining techniques in East Africa reveal Indian influence. The description of Ethiopian merchants seeking gold in East Africa is from Steven Runciman, Byzantine
Style and Civilization (Middlesex, England: Penguin Books, 1975), p. 132. Information about the monsoon is from A. M. H. Sheriff, “The East Africa Coast and Its
Role in Maritime Trade,” in Ancient Civilizations of Africa, ed. Mokhtar, pp. 556 –57.
journal of world history, spring 1994
tion and return. If so, their destination, even at this early date,
may have been Zimbabwe. The wind patterns are such that sailors
who ride the monsoon south as far as Kilwa can catch the return
monsoon to the Red Sea area within the same year. But if they go
beyond Kilwa to the Zambezi River, from which they might go
inland to Zimbabwe, they cannot return until the following year.
Indian voyages on the Indian Ocean were part of a more general development, more or less contemporary with the Mauryan
empire, in which sailors of various nationalities began to knit
together the shores of the “Southern Ocean,” a Chinese term
referring to all the waters from the South China Sea to the eastern
coast of Africa. During this period there is no doubt that the most
intrepid sailors were the Malays, peoples who lived in what is now
Malaysia, Indonesia, the southeastern coast of Vietnam, and the
Sometime before 300 b.c.e. Malay sailors began to ride the
monsoons, the seasonal winds that blow off the continent of Asia
in the colder months and onto its shores in the warmer months.
Chinese records indicate that by the third century b.c.e. “Kunlun”
sailors, the Chinese term for the Malay seamen, were sailing
north to the southern coasts of China. They may also have been
sailing east to India, through the straits now called Malacca and
Sunda. If so they may have been the first to establish contact
between India and Southeast Asia.
Malay sailors had reached the eastern coast of Africa at least
by the first century b.c.e., if not earlier. Their presence in East
African waters is testified to by the peoples of Madagascar, who
still speak a Malayo-Polynesian language. Some evidence also suggests that Malay sailors had settled in the Red Sea area. Indeed, it
appears that they were the first to develop a long-distance trade
in a southern spice. In the last centuries b.c.e., if not earlier,
Malay sailors were delivering cinnamon from South China Sea
ports to East Africa and the Red Sea.10
By about 400 c.e. Malay sailors could be found two-thirds of
Anthony Reid, Southeast Asia in the Age of Commerce, 1450–1680, 2 vols. (New
Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1988– 93), 1:4.
Keith Taylor, “Madagascar in the Ancient Malayo-Polynesian Myths,” in
Explorations in Early Southeast Asian History: The Origins of Southeast Asian
Statecraft, ed. Kenneth Hall and John Whitmore (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan, Center for South and Southeast Asian Studies, 1976), p. 39. An excellent source
on the early spice trade is James Innes Miller, The Spice Trade of the Roman
Empire, 29 B.C. to A.D. 649 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1969).
Shaffer: Southernization
the way around the world, from Easter Island to East Africa. They
rode the monsoons without a compass, out of sight of land, and
often at latitudes below the equator where the northern pole star
cannot be seen. They navigated by the wind and the stars, by
cloud formations, the color of the water, and swell and wave patterns on the ocean’s surface. They could discern the presence of
an island some thirty miles from its shores by noting the behavior
of birds, the animal and plant life in the water, and the swell and
wave patterns. Given their manner of sailing, their most likely
route to Africa and the Red Sea would have been by way of the
island clusters, the Maldives, the Chagos, the Seychelles, and the
Malay ships used balance lug sails, which were square in
shape and mounted so that they could pivot. This made it possible
for sailors to tack against the wind, that is, to sail into the wind by
going diagonally against it, first one way and then the other. Due
to the way the sails were mounted, they appeared somewhat triangular in shape, and thus the Malays’ balance lug sail may well be
the prototype of the triangular lateen, which can also be used to
tack against the wind. The latter was invented by both the Polynesians to the Malays’ east and by the Arabs to their west,12 both of
whom had ample opportunity to see the Malays’ ships in action.
It appears that the pepper trade developed after the cinnamon
trade. In the first century c.e. southern India began supplying the
Mediterranean with large quantities of pepper. Thereafter, Indian
merchants could be found living on the island of Socotra, near the
mouth of the Red Sea, and Greek-speaking sailors, including the
anonymous author of the Periplus of the Erythraean Sea, could be
found sailing in the Red Sea and riding the monsoons from there
to India.
Indian traders and shippers and Malay sailors were also
responsible for opening up an all-sea route to China. The traders’
desire for silk drew them out into dangerous waters in search of a
more direct way to its source. By the second century c.e. Indian
merchants could make the trip by sea, but the route was slow, and
it took at least two years to make a round trip. Merchants leaving
from India’s eastern coast rounded the shores of the Bay of
Bengal. When they came to the Isthmus of Kra, the narrowest
Taylor, “Madagascar,” pp. 30–31, 52.
George Hourani, Arab Seafaring in the Indian Ocean in Ancient and Medieval Times (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1951), p. 102.
journal of world history, spring 1994
part of the Malay peninsula, the ships were unloaded, and the
goods were portaged across to the Gulf of Thailand. The cargo
was then reloaded on ships that rounded the gulf until they
reached Funan, a kingdom on what is now the Kampuchea-Vietnam border. There they had to wait for the winds to shift, before
embarking upon a ship that rode the monsoon to China.13
Some time before 400 c.e. travelers began to use a new all-sea
route to China, a route that went around the Malay peninsula and
thus avoided the Isthmus of Kra portage. The ships left from Sri
Lanka and sailed before the monsoon, far from any coasts,
through either the Strait of Malacca or the Strait of Sunda into
the Java Sea. After waiting in the Java Sea port for the winds to
shift, they rode the monsoon to southern China.14 The most likely
developers of this route were Malay sailors, since the new stopover ports were located within their territories.
Not until the latter part of the fourth century, at about the
same time as the new all-sea route began to direct commercial
traffic through the Java Sea, did the fine spices—cloves, nutmeg,
and mace—begin to assume importance on international markets.
These rare and expensive spices came from the Moluccas, several
island groups about a thousand miles east of Java. Cloves were
produced on about five minuscule islands off the western coast of
Halmahera; nutmeg and mace came from only a few of the Banda
Islands, some ten islands with a total area of seventeen square
miles, located in the middle of the Banda Sea. Until 1621 these
Moluccan islands were the only places in the world able to
produce cloves, nutmeg, and mace in commercial quantities.15
The Moluccan producers themselves brought their spices to the
international markets of the Java Sea ports and created the market for them.16
It was also during the time of the Gupta kings, around 350 c.e.,
that the Indians discovered how to crystallize sugar. 17 There is
considerable disagreement about where sugar was first domesti-
Kenneth Hall, Maritime Trade and State Formation in Southeast Asia (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1985), p. 20.
Ibid., p. 72.
Henry N. Ridley, Spices (London: Macmillan, 1912), p. 105.
Hall, Maritime Trade and State Formation, p. 21.
Joseph E. Schwartzberg, A Historical Atlas of South Asia (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1978). The date 350 c.e. appears in “A Chronology of South
Asia,” a pocket insert in the atlas.
Shaffer: Southernization
cated. Some believe that the plant was native to New Guinea and
domesticated there, and others argue that it was domesticated by
Southeast Asian peoples living in what is now southern China.18
In any case, sugar cultivation spread to the Indian subcontinent.
Sugar, however, did not become an important item of trade until
the Indians discovered how to turn sugarcane juice into granulated crystals that could be easily stored and transported. This
was a momentous development, and it may have been encouraged
by Indian sailing, for sugar and clarified butter (ghee) were
among the dietary mainstays of Indian sailors.19
The Indians also laid the foundation for modern mathematics
during the time of the Guptas. Western numerals, which the Europeans called Arabic since they acquired them from the Arabs,
actually come from India. (The Arabs call them Hindi numbers.)
The most significant feature of the Indian system was the invention of the zero as a number concept. The oldest extant treatise
that uses the zero in the modern way is a mathematical appendix attached to Aryabhata’s text on astronomy, which is dated
499 c.e. 20
The Indian zero made the place-value system of writing numbers superior to all others. Without it, the use of this system, base
ten or otherwise, was fraught with difficulties and did not seem
any better than alternative systems. With the zero the Indians
were able to perform calculations rapidly and accurately, to perform much more complicated calculations, and to discern mathematical relationships more aptly. These numerals and the mathematics that the Indians developed with them are now universal
—just one indication of the global significance of southernization.
As a result of these developments India acquired a reputation
as a place of marvels, a reputation that was maintained for many
For a discussion on its domestication in southern China by the ancestors of
the Southeast Asians, see Peter Bellwood, “Southeast Asia before History,” in
Nicholas Tarling, ed., Cambridge History of Southeast Asia (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992), 1:90 – 91. Also see Sidney W. Mintz, Sweetness and
Power: The Place of Sugar in Modern History (New York: Viking, 1985), p. 19. Mintz
agrees with those who argue that sugar was domesticated in New Guinea. He also
suggests that crystallized sugar may have been produced in India as early as 400–
350 b.c.e.
Chandra, Trade and Trade Routes of Ancient India, p. 61.
Georges Ifrah, From One to Zero: A Universal History of Numbers, trans.
Lowell Blair (New York: Viking, 1985), pp. 382, 434. This is an excellent book that
explains many mysteries and contradictions in the literature. Even those who are
not mathematically inclined will enjoy it.
journal of world history, spring 1994
centuries after the Gupta dynasty fell. As late as the ninth century
‘Amr ibn Bahr al Jahiz (ca. 776 – 868), one of the most influential
writers of Arabic, had the following to say about India:
As regards the Indians, they are among the leaders in astronomy,
mathematics—in particular, they have Indian numerals—and
medicine; they alone possess the secrets of the latter, and use
them to practice some remarkable forms of treatment. They have
the art of carving statues and painted figures. They possess the
game of chess, which is the noblest of games and requires more
judgment and intelligence than any other. They make Kedah
swords, and excel in their use. They have splendid music. . . . They
possess a script capable of expressing the sounds of all languages,
as well as many numerals. They have a great deal of poetry, many
long treatises, and a deep understanding of philosophy and letters; the book Kalila wa-Dimna originated with them. They are
intelligent and courageous. . . . Their sound judgment and sensible habits led them to invent pins, cork, toothpicks, the drape of
clothes and the dyeing of hair. They are handsome, attractive and
forbearing, their women are proverbial, and their country produces the matchless Indian aloes which are supplied to kings.
They were the originators of the science of fikr, by which a poison
can be counteracted after it has been used, and of astronomical
reckoning, subsequently adopted by the rest of the world. When
Adam descended from Paradise, it was to their land that he made
his way. 21
The Southernization of China
These Southern Asian developments began to have a significant
impact on China after 350 c.e. The Han dynasty had fallen in 221
c.e., and for more than 350 years thereafter China was ruled by an
ever changing collection of regional kingdoms. During these centuries Buddhism became increasingly important in China, Buddhist monasteries spread throughout the disunited realm, and
cultural exchange between India and China grew accordingly.22
By 581, when the Sui dynasty reunited the empire, processes associated with southernization had already had a major impact on
‘Amr ibn Bahr al Jahiz, The Life and Works of Jahiz, trans. from Arabic by
Charles Pellat, …
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