As Europe entered into this region, Arab merchants were replaced by European merchants as the prime movers in Indian Ocean trade, but rather than destroying this commercial network the Christians made use of the existing trading structure, conveying the goods that the Muslims brought West via the Middle East directly to Europe via the Cape of Good Hope. Up to the end of the eighteenth century, Europe had a substantial trade deficit in the Asian regions ruled by the Islamic kingdoms. In the course of this trade, gold and silver, particularly silver, from the New World were brought to Asia because India had adopted the silver standard.
Around 1800, however, as a result of the Industrial Revolution in Britain, the structure of the Indian Ocean trade underwent a considerable transformation: while exports of Asian goods to Britain decreased dramatically, there was a sharp increase in exports of British products to Asia. Symbolic of this change was the reversal of the flow of goods through the replacement of Indian cotton cloth by Lancashire cotton cloth at the beginning of the nineteenth century.
Colonization of the Mughal Empire
The expulsion of the Islamites from the Iberian Peninsula completed the conversion of the Mediterranean from a Muslim to a Christian sea between the medieval and early modern periods. Similarly, the transformation of the Indian Ocean from a Muslim to a Christian sea from the early modern to the modern period began with the expulsion of Islam from the Indian subcontinent.
The Mughal Empire (1526_1858) was without doubt a Muslim empire. In 1858 it fell under direct British rule and in 1875 Queen Victoria (who reigned from 1837 to 1901) was crowned Empress of India. Queen Victoria was Head of the Church of England, a title Henry VIII had adopted in 1543, giving the English monarch supreme authority over the Church as well as the State. When Queen Victoria became Empress of India, therefore, the Muslim Mughal Emperor submitted to the authority of the Head of a Christian church. If Britain is seen as representative of the great European powers, the colonization of the Mughal Empire can be interpreted as a major event in cultural history through which dynamic power relationship between Christian and Islamic civilizations that had lasted for several centuries shifted decisively in favor of Christian civilization. As a result, the Indian Ocean was a Christian, and predominantly British, sea on the eve of World War I. After World War II, when Britain recognized India_s independence, it adroitly expelled the Muslims from India to Pakistan and Bangladesh.
It must not be forgotten that no country in East Asia became either Muslim or Christian. East Asia, therefore, was an area of civilization that operated under a dynamism that was different and separate from the civilizations of Christendom and Islam.
(4) The Position of Japan
Modern European Civilization and Japan_s Policy of National Seclusion
Let us now consider the historical periods of transition in Europe from the perspective of East Asia. During the eighth and ninth centuries, when the opposing cultural spheres of Islam and Christendom (Europe) came into being, Japan emerged as civilization rivaling China in East Asia following the defeat of the Kingdom of Wa (the Chinese name for ancient Japan). And during the transition to the early modern period in Europe in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, Japan entered its own early modern age _the Edo period. From the same description _early modern_ (_kinsei_in Japanese) and correspondence of these periods, it is apparent that parallel historical transitions occurred at both ends of the Eurasian Continent. Before this, there had been no interchange between Japan and Europe, but since exchange did take place from the early modern period onwards their subsequent parallel development was not such a coincidence.
Early modern Europe was the central theme of all Fernand Braudel_s work. In The Mediterranean and the Mediterranean World in the Age of Philip II, Braudel focuses on the reign of Philip II in the sixteenth century, while his The Structures of Everyday Life: The Limits of the Possible (Civilization and Capitalism: 15th_18th Century) also deals with the early modern era.