Introduction; Part I. General Problems and Historical Events: 1. Trade and civilisation in the Indian Ocean: social, cultural, economic, and temporal dimensions; 2. The rise of Islam and the pattern of pre-emporia trade in early Asia; 3. The Portuguese seaborne empire in the Indian Ocean; 4. The Dutch and English East India companies and the bureaucratic form of trade in Asia; 5. Emporia trade and the great port-towns in the Indian Ocean; Part II. Structure and la longue duree: 6. The sea and its mastery; 7. Ships and shipbuilding in the Indian Ocean; 8. The land and its relationship with long-distance trade; 9. Commodities and markets; 10. Capital and trade in the Indian Ocean: the problem of scale, merchants, money and production; 11. Conclusion.
Before the age of Industrial Revolution, the great Asian civilisations constituted areas not only of high culture but also of advanced economic development.