Surat finds mention in the log books of merchants and civilians who sailed the Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean in search of trade and business in the 9th and 11th centuries. In the late 15th century, Surat exported spices, silk, muslin and porcelain to Malacca, China and Sumatra in the far east and became extremely prosperous as trade thrived. The strategic position of Surat on sea routes between Europe, Arabia and East attracted Portuguese in the 16th century to be followed by the British East India Company in the early 17th century. Under British control, Surat became prosperous with the establishment of many weaving and spinning mills, textiles and paper factories.
As the British developed Mumbai into a major port and administrative centre, Surat's star declined and lost its prominence as a major business player. Modern Surat's main claim to fame is its position as the centre of diamond and textile industries of the world. Major historic sites in Surat are Old Fort, Mughal Sarai, Makai Bridge, Chintamani Derasar, Andrews Library, English, Dutch and Armenian Cemeteries, Rang Upvan, Dumas Beach, Jama Masjid, Islamic Monuments and the Parsi Temple.