Indian Maritime History Essay

INTRODUCTION Shipyards and dockyards are places which repair and build ships. These can be yachts, military vessels, cruise liners or other cargo or passenger ships. Dockyards are sometimes more associated with maintenance and basing activities than shipyards, which are sometimes associated more with initial construction. The terms are routinely used interchangeably, in part because the evolution of dockyards and shipyards has often caused them to change or merge roles. Countries with large shipbuilding industries include South Korea, Australia, Japan, China, Germany, Turkey, Poland and Croatia.

The shipbuilding industry tends to be more fragmented in Europe than in Asia. In European countries there are more smaller companies, compared to the fewer, larger companies in the shipbuilding countries of Asia. Most shipbuilders in the United States are privately owned, the largest being Northrop Grumman, a multi-billion dollar defense contractor. The publicly owned shipyards in the US are Naval facilities providing basing, support and repair. Shipyards are constructed by the sea or by tidal rivers to allow easy access for their ships.

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In the United Kingdom, for example, shipyards were established on the River Thames (King Henry VIII founded yards at Woolwich and Deptford in 1512 and 1513 respectively), River Mersey, River Tees, River Tyne, River Wear and River Clyde – the latter growing to be the World’s pre-eminent shipbuilding centre. Sir Alfred Yarrow established his yard by the Thames in London’s Docklands in the late 19th century before moving it northwards to the banks of the Clyde at Scotstoun (1906–08).

Other famous UK shipyards include the Harland and Wolff yard in Belfast, Northern Ireland, where the Titanic was built, and the naval dockyard at Chatham, England on the Medway in north Kent. The site of a large shipyard will contain many specialised cranes, dry docks, slipways, dust-free warehouses, painting facilities and extremely large areas for fabrication of the ships. After a ship’s useful life is over, it makes its final voyage to a shipbreaking yard, often on a beach in South Asia.

Historically shipbreaking was carried on in drydock in developed countries, but high wages and environmental regulations have resulted in movement of the industry to developing regions. Ship building locations in gujrat HISTORY The world’s earliest known dockyards were built in the Harappan port city of Lothal circa 2400 BC in Gujarat, India. Lothal’s dockyards connected to an ancient course of the Sabarmati river on the trade route between Harappan cities in Sindh and the peninsula of Saurashtra when the surrounding Kutch desert was a part of the Arabian Sea.

Lothal engineers accorded high priority to the creation of a dockyard and a warehouse to serve the purposes of naval trade. The dock was built on the eastern flank of the town, and is regarded by archaeologists as an engineering feat of the highest order. It was located away from the main current of the river to avoid silting, but provided access to ships in high tide as well. The name of the ancient Greek city of Naupactus means “shipyeard” (combination of the Greek words ???? naus ship, boat and ??????? pegnumi, pegnymi builder, fixer).

Naupactus’ reputation in this field extends to the time of legend, where it is depicted as the place where the Heraclidae built a fleet to invade the Peloponnesus. In the Spanish city of Barcelona, the Drassanes shipyards were active from at least the mid-13th century until the 18th century, although it as times served as barracks for troops as well as an arsenal. During its time of operation it was continuously changed, rebuilt and modified, but two original towers and part of the original eight construction naves remain today. It is currently a maritime museum.

Ships were the first items to be manufactured in a factory, several hundred years before the Industrial Revolution, in the Venice Arsenal, Venice, Italy. The Arsenal apparently mass produced nearly one ship every day using pre-manufactured parts, and assembly lines and, at its height, employed 16,000 people The strategic location of Gujarat, as it opens out into the Arabian Sea, has been historically important for trade and commerce, with ancient countries like Sumer, Phoenicia, Rome, Iran, Egypt, East Africa, Malaya, Sumatra and China etc.

As narrated in various religious and ancient literatures, Gujarat had a well documented maritime trade dating back to 4500 years. Ancient period was the Golden Age of Shipping and Ship-building activities. Sir William Jones, a renowned scholar is of opinion that the Hindus “must have been navigators in the age of Manu, because bottomry (the lender of money for marine insurance) is mentioned in it” A vast repository of ancient literature has random references to a brisk seafaring trade.

Harivansh Purana mentions that the Prosperity of Yadavas was due to the sea. Kautilya has also mentioned in his Arthshashtra that the main occupation of people living in coastline was navigation. The Bible refers to Phoenician sailors who sailed to Ophir (Abhira in Gujarat) and brought back treasures. The Greek ‘Periplus of the Erythrean Sea’ contains many detailed references to the Gujarat seaports as Barygaza(Bharuch, Gujarat). Even, the Greek author Galazy has mentioned in his book Batiyas about the shipping activity of Kachchha in circa 246.

The well known historian Huian- Tsang described Saurashtra as Sa-la-ch’a and referred it as ‘the highway to the sea where all inhabitants were traders by profession’ Ancient Gujarat marks one of the glorious chapters in Indian history. The State possesses a strong maritime lineage with a remarkable mastery over the seas, extensive trade links and expertise in Shipbuilding. Ship building yard Ancient maritime centers which flourished at the Gujarat coastline are: 1. Lothal – The ancient city of Lothal has the oldest dockyard in the world.

The city boasted of 30 ships of 60 tonnes each. Lothal was an important maritime trading centre and had trade linkages with Egypt, Arabian and Sumerian cities. 2. Padri – Padri, a site in the Gulf of Khambhat had also a strong maritime presence. It is believed that Harappans of Padri had mastered the technique of deep sea fishing, traversing the ocean in huge boats. 3. Kuntasi – Kuntasi locally known as ‘Bibino Timbo’ was a port situated at the creek mouth during Harappan period. It was a centre for acquiring and processing raw materials for manufacturing articles for export. . Dholavira – Dholavira, another Harappan site was an active port which was a safe harbour for anchoring boats. 5. Bet Dwarka – It was a small port established in 2nd millennium BC. Dwarka was a well planned township. Its harbour consisted of a rocky ridge modified into an anchorage for berthing vessels, a unique feature in harbour technology which was attempted later by the Phoenicians. 6. Malvan – Malvan was a post Harappan estuarine Port, dating back to 1400 BC. It was located on the banks of an oxbow lake formed by the Dumas branch of the Tapti river. . Vallabhi – An ancient city located in Saurasthra Peninsula was a flourishing seaport during the Maitraka dynasty from the 5th to 8th centuries CE. It was famous for its catholicity and drew students worldwide. 8. Bhagatrav – Barygaza or Bharuch was the most important ancient port. It was a commercial centre situated on the Narmada estuary. It established itself as shipment centre and a ship-building port. It acted as a link port to Asia, Africa, Europe and Mediterranean basin. Bharuch acquired a strategic importance during Maurya and Gupta periods.

Around 4000 ships passed through the port. 9. Khambhat – Khambhat was a prominent port during 11th to 17th century, and was a great seat of a flourishing trade renowned with its silk and gold articles. While indigo and fine buckram, agate and carnelian ornaments were prized products, a good deal of cotton and leather too were also exported. 10. Mandavi –Mandavi or the Mart, also called as Maska, was an ancient ship-building centre on the right bank of Rukmavati River. The Port had multi-hued pennants fluttering atop ships from over eighty countries. 1. Surat –Surat was positioned on the most important sea routes between Arabia, Europe and the East. The city emerged as a minor trading centre during the 1500s and reached its peak during 16th century. It acted as an export outlet for agro based products from Magdalla Port. Ports like Jakho, Lakhpat, Tuna, Mundra and Koteshwar had successfully been carrying out overseas business along the 352 Km stretch of Kutch seashore. | | | | Pipavav shipyard bags country’s largest ship building order