Was the largest sea trading area in the world until Europeans began crossing the Atlantic in the late 1400s. It connected Southeast Asia and China to Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia. It was a major conveyor of Buddhism from S. Asia into East and Southeast Asia, and in the next era c. 600-c. 1450, Muslim merchants and missionaries spread their faith across the Indian Ocean into the same regions. Its trade depended on ocean currents and wind. People interacted via the Indian Ocean trade routes: E. Asians, S. Asians, E. African Swahilis, Arabs from Southwest Asia, Malays from Southeast Asia, Turks, Greeks, and Russians participated. It traded the same items traded in the Silk Roads and other Eurasian land routes.