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Navigating African Maritime History$
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Carina E Ray and Jeremy Rich

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780986497315

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.5949/liverpool/9780986497315.001.0001

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Austronesian Mariners and Early Trans-Indian Ocean Crossings

Austronesian Mariners and Early Trans-Indian Ocean Crossings

(p.19) Austronesian Mariners and Early Trans-Indian Ocean Crossings
Navigating African Maritime History

Gwyn Campbell

Liverpool University Press

This essay attempts to answer the question of whether the Austronesian people - referring to the Southeast Asian region connected by the Austronesian language family - were capable of making direct trans-Indian Ocean voyages, and if so, when these voyages began. Austronesian migration across the Indian Ocean to Madagascar frequently invites scholarly debate over the timing, route, and cause. By exploring the rise and development of shipbuilding and the navigational ability of Austronesians, the essay seeks answers through developments in maritime technology. It draws on boat-building practices, sail technology, and navigational strategies to assert that Austronesians did indeed possess the appropriate maritime skills to make such a voyage, and concludes that the first human activity on the island may indeed be Austronesian, though further research must still be undertaken to establish this as fact.

Keywords:   Shipbuilding, History of Navigation, Austronesian Settlements, African Migration, Madagascan Settlements, Madagascar, Migration Routes

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