The early modern western Indian Ocean constituted a dynamic space of human interaction. While scholarship has mostly concentrated on trade and commerce, recent studies have shifted the focus to social and cultural mobilities. This article argues for the emergence of a transoceanic Arabic historiography during the sixteenth century, which reflected on the cultural integration of regions from Egypt, the Hijaz, and Yemen in the Red Sea region, to Gujarat, the Deccan, and Malabar in the subcontinent. Historians from the Persian cosmopolis further north observed a strong cultural connection between Arabophone communities of the western Indian Ocean region. Manuscript collections in India show that Arabic historical texts from the Red Sea region had a readership in the subcontinent. Most importantly, mobile scholars began to compose Arabic histories while receiving patronage at the western Indian courts. Scholarly mobilities fostered cultural exchanges, which increasingly built on a shared history, written, read, and circulated in Arabic during the sixteenth century.
Bahl, C. D. (2020). Transoceanic Arabic historiography: sharing the past of the sixteenth-century western Indian Ocean. Journal of Global History, 15(2), 203-223. https://doi.org/10.1017/s1740022820000017