Banyan merchants

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A Hindoo Family, Banyan Cast (c1830)

Banyan merchants is an expression used widely in the Indian Ocean trade to refer to Indian merchants who are clearly distinguished from others, by their clothing, by their religious and cultural dietary choices, and by the manner in which they conduct trade.[1]


The Banyan people are mentioned in the Periplus of the Erythraean Sea, trough Indo-Roman trade relations,[2] in Egypt and Sokotra, Dahlak Island and Suakim, Massawa, Muscat, Zansibar, Gulf of Aden, Aydhab, Hadramut, Syria, Persia, Europe.[3] In Evliya Çelebi's Seyahatname, it is mentioned that the language of the Rumelian Roma people from Gümülcine (Komitini) has Banyan roots[4]


  1. ^ "Banians - Banglapedia". Retrieved 2020-04-21.
  2. ^ Pankhurst, Richard (1974). "The 'Banyan' or Indian Presence at Massawa, the Dahlak Islands and the Horn of Africa". Journal of Ethiopian Studies. 12 (1): 185–212. JSTOR 44324706. Retrieved 30 May 2022 – via JSTOR.
  3. ^ Gabbasov, Sergey (January 2019). "Banyan Leaves: The Route from Maharajas to Pharaohs".
  4. ^[dead link]