Although the Indian Ocean World has a history of interconnectivity and exchange spanning millennia, it has only recently started to attract scholarly attention. As a consequence, studies on this world lag behind those of movement and connectivity in the relatively more recent Atlantic World, for example. These connections linked the Red Sea, large swathes of the African continent, the Arabian Peninsula, the wider Middle East, the Asian sub-continent, the Far East and various islands.

Over millennia, plants, animals, people, languages, ideas, religions, precious stones, metals, technologies and a vast array of raw and manufactured commodities crisscrossed the vibrant corridors of the Indian Ocean to lands bordering it and beyond. It is a world that to this day continues to impact the lives of millions as old commercial and non-commercial links are intensified, people and their cultures continue to move, new commodities such as hydrocarbons are transported along its ancient corridors and its peoples experiment with equally new investment vehicles and services.