This southern coastal route past the rough country in the southern Arabian peninsula (Yemen and Oman today) was significant, and the Egyptian Pharaohs built several shallow canals to service the trade, one more or less along the route of today's Suez canal, and another from the Red Sea to the Nile River, both shallow works that were swallowed up by huge sand storms in antiquity. Later the kingdom of Axum arose in Ethiopia to rule a mercantile empire rooted in the trade with Europe via Alexandria.
Ocean trade routes have crossed the Arabian Sea since ancient times, linking the Near East with East Africa, India, Southeast Asia, and China. Historically, sailors in a type of ship called a dhow used the seasonal monsoon winds to cross the water. The sea forms part of the chief shipping route between Europe and India via the Suez Canal, which links the Red Sea with the Mediterranean Sea.
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