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Additional resources for Violent Traders : Europeans in Asia in the Age of Mercantilism
256. 7. Duarte Barbosa, The Book of Duarte Barbosa, vol. I, p. 23 (ref. to Malindi and the trade with Gujarat). CHAPTER 4 The Instruments of Violence: Armed Ships and Fortresses Europe's very long and variegated coastline predestined it to engage in maritime ventures. The earliest arena ofEuropean naval expeditions was the Mediterranean. Phoenicians and Greeks, particularly the Athenians, were the pioneers in this field. Rowing boats °like the galleys were preferred. Although they mainly relied on the strength of their oarsmen, they also had sails with which they could make use of favourable winds.
Almeida had nine naus and six caravels under his command. His fleet THE INSTRUMENTS OF VIOLENCE 51 had a much greater fire power and his men were skilled in naval warfare. His victory at Diu established ·Portuguese supremacy in the Indian Ocean for a long time. 16 Soon after this battle, Afonso de Albuquerque, Almeida's successor, captured Goa and Malacca in quick succession, to be followed by Hormuz in the Persian Gulf. Albuquerque was a highly-educated man, an astute politician and yet an extremely brutal military leader.
Philip II, ruler of Spain and Portugal at that time, felt that God had forsaken him in the final years of his reign. Portuguese dominance of the Indian Ocean was undermined by this turn of events in Europe. However, the challenge in the Indian Ocean came at first not from the British but from the Dutch. This was a surprise, because in the sixteenth century Dutch naval strength was much less than that of the British. The Royal Navy of the Netherlands nowadays proudly celebrates the date of its foundation in 1488.