On the Economic Encounter Between Asia and Europe, 1500-1800
The history of the economic contacts between Asia and Europe dates back to at least the early years of the Common Era. But it was only after the overcoming of the transport technology barrier to the growth of trade between the two continents following the discovery by the Portuguese at the end of the 15th century of the all-water route to the East Indies that these contacts became regular and quantitatively significant. The Portuguese were joined at the beginning of the 17th century by the Dutch and the English East India companies. The Europeans operated in the Indian Ocean alongside the Indian and other Asian merchants with no special privileges being available to them. The present collection of essays by Professor Om Prakash first deals with the Indian merchants’ participation in the Indian Ocean trade on the eve of the Europeans’ arrival in the Ocean. The subsequent essays include a discussion of the Portuguese involvement in the Euro-Asian and the Indian Ocean trade. Attention is then turned to the trading activities of the Dutch and the English East India companies. The volume also contains essays on textile manufacturing and trade as well as on coinage and wages in India. The concluding essay deals with trade and politics in the province of Bengal.