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Malabar is that part of the coast of south-west India from the island of Goa in the north to the south-east tip of the sub-continent. The first Portuguese traders arrived in the very late 1400s and early 1500s and set about establishing a trading empire at the point of a cannon.

Before that, for a 1000 years and more, Indian and Arab traders in their dhows made use of the monsoon winds that tend to flow from west to east during June/July and the opposite direction later in the year. The first spices and materials that came into Europe during the Middle Ages came this way.

See also