Merchants of Maritime India, 1500–1800: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Merchants of Maritime India, 1500–1800

1st Edition

By Ashin Das Gupta


330 pages

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Hardback: 9780860784326
pub: 1994-04-14

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The focus of this volume is the rise and fall of the Indian maritime merchant in the early modern period: the heyday of Moghul Surat, the appearance of a group of independent merchant shipowners, and their eclipse at the end of the period in the face of European competition and monopolies. Much of the evidence for the activity of these Indian merchants comes from the records of the Dutch and English East India Companies, as well as the papers of English private merchants, and this is carefully assessed by Professor Das Gupta in these articles. He is also concerned to set the picture thus gained in the context of the trade of the Indian Ocean region as a whole, and to relate it to the questions of continuity and change raised by Van Leur.


'Any reader interested in early modern trade, in the role of the state in this, and in the transition to European dominance, could find no better place to start than in these collected essays.' -M.N. Pearson, Northern Mariner 'Das Gupta is widely recognised as a major authority in this area. His scholarship and command over sources, combined with a delightful style of writing, brings alive the world of the Indian maritime merchant in a manner that has few parallels' Om Prakash, Mariners Mirror

Table of Contents

Contents: Indian merchants and the trade in the Indian Ocean, c.1500-1750; India and the Indian Ocean, 1500-1800: the story; The maritime merchant [of medieval India], c. 1500-1800; The changing face of the Indian maritime merchant; Indian merchants and the Western Indian Ocean: the early 17th century; Trade and politics in 18th-century India; India and the Indian Ocean in the 18th century; Malabar in 1740; The crisis at Surat, 1730-32; The merchants of Surat, c.1700-50; Gujarati merchants and the Red Sea trade, 1700-25; A note on the shipowning merchants of Surat, c.1700; The broker at Mughal Surat, c.1740; Indian merchants in the age of partnership, 1500-1800; Some problems of reconstructing the history of India’s West Coast from European sources; The maritime city; Index.

About the Series

Variorum Collected Studies

The first title in the Variorum Collected Studies series was published in 1970. Since then well over 1000 titles have appeared in the series, and it has established a well-earned international reputation for the publication of key research across a whole range of subjects within the fields of history.

The history of the medieval world remains central to the series, with Byzantine studies a particular speciality, but the range of titles extends from Hellenistic philosophy and the history of the Roman empire and early Christianity, through the Renaissance and Reformation, up to the 20th century. Islamic Studies forms another major strand as do the histories of science, technology and medicine.

Each title in the Variorum Collected Studies series brings together for the first time a selection of articles by a leading authority on a particular subject. These studies are reprinted from a vast range of learned journals, Festschrifts and conference proceedings. They make available research that is scattered, even inaccessible in all but the largest and most specialized libraries. With a new introduction and index, and often with new notes and previously unpublished material, they constitute an essential resource. 

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / General