Rise to Glory: Trading Empires
INDIAN OCEAN AND RED SEA
Control of the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, and
therefore the Mediterranean trade, soon brought the Arab traders
into conflict with Axum, whose wealth was based on this commerce.
Many of Axum’s trading routes in the Red Sea and the Indian
Ocean were lost through the Islamic expansion, and at last it was
forced to turn inwards and look for new markets within
It found these in the northern Ethiopian highlands.
Slowly the Axumites began to move the centre of their empire away
from Axum, and by the seventh century AD, Aksum was
Arab traders linked the kingdom of Great Zimbabwe with
the east. Fragments of glass and crockery from China have been
found in the ruins of this kingdom which is many hundreds of
kilometres from the coast and thousands of kilometres from China.