The Indian Ocean World: Africa in the First Global Economy

Gwyn Campbell


This paper outlines the debate surrounding the emergence of the first ‘global’ economy and discusses the role within it of Africa. First, it outlines the case for arguing that the Indian Ocean World (IOW) rather than Europe should be considered the arena in which the first global economy developed. It subsequently examines the historical role of Africa within the IOW with particular emphasis on Africa’s contribution to the IOW global economy and the possible repercussions such an analysis has for the historiography of Africa and the wider IOW.

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