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History Unplugged Podcast

with Scott Rank

Dreams of India's Vast Wealth Made Everyone From Ancient Greeks to Renaissance Portuguese Risk Death To Reach It

00:00 38:33
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Claims of India's fantastic wealth lead Europeans through the centuries to seek to trade with this fabled land, which existed on the far eastern reaches of known civilization.
As far back as the 500s BC, Scylax of Caryanda, a Greek explorer sailed down the length of the Indus in the service of Darius. Later Alexander's troops passed through India, and many troops stayed behind, creating an incredible East-West synthesis. Buddhism came out of this mix, as well as the early Christian heresy Manicheism. Exotic trade. For hundreds of years, Greek speakers could be found in Indian port towns.

Such legends inspired Cristopher Columbus to sail west across the Atlantic and reach a direct route, even though other navigators insisted his calculations were terrible and he and his crew would starve at sea. Yet he did reach land and traded with settlers whom he believed the rest of his life to be of India, and the name stuck, as Indians.

Today’s episode is about the impact that India had on Western Civilization and how the quest for India led to incredible long-distance travel for traders for over two millennia.
September 10, 2020
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Meet Your Host
Scott Rank is the host of the History Unplugged Podcast and a PhD in history who specialized in the Ottoman Empire and modern Turkey. Before going down the academic route he worked as a journalist in Istanbul. He has written 12 history books on topics ranging from lost Bronze Age civilizations to the Age of Discovery. Some of his books include The Age of Illumination: Science, Technology, and Reason in the Middle Ages and History’s 9 Most Insane Rulers.. Learn more about him by going to
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