Oman, an entrepot on the maritime trade routes
The history of seafaring in Oman began during the 3rd millennium BC. Oman’s early and active engagement in maritime trade was due to its strategic position between Southeast Asia and Africa, its long coastline and its safe natural harbours. The Omanis were known for building and exporting very good ships, and they traded with precious goods such as frankincense. In the 9th century AD, Oman’s military and merchant fleet was considerably reinforced. This led to an expansion of the country’s maritime trade and to a dissemination of its culture and religion, Islam, for instance in South China where considerable numbers of Arab merchants settled. The port city of Sohar became an important entrepot on the sea route between East and West. Omani merchants also traded with Africa and settled there. Even though the role of the entrepots in Oman declined from the late 15th century onwards, the country continues to play a significant role for maritime trade.