Arabic History writing in the context of Portuguese transgressions in the sixteenth-century Indian Ocean


  • Gabriel Mathias Soares University of São Paulo



Early Modern Age maritime explorations produced a myriad of cultural encounters with varying outcomes, almost inevitably marked by tensions, if not outward conflict. The advent of the Portuguese in the Indian Ocean world provoked uneasy reactions among Muslims, involving long-standing religious antagonisms and freshly sparked conflicts of interest. Muslim scholars from Kilwa to the Malabar Coast wrote a number of Arabic chronicles that addressed these Christian Franks’ establishment in the region. The present research investigates sixteenth-century Arabic historical accounts on Portugal’s encroachment in and around the Indian Ocean, examining interconnections of Muslims’ experiences of - and reactions to - these encounters. The paper focuses on how discourses about the past were produced as a direct outcome of these interactions and as an instrument for political projects tackling the pressing challenges created by European intervention.