1st Edition

Trading Companies and Travel Knowledge in the Early Modern World

    314 Pages 9 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    314 Pages 9 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Trading Companies and Travel Knowledge in the Early Modern World explores the links between trade, empire, exploration, and global information transfer during the early modern period. By charting how the leaders, members,
    employees, and supporters of different trading companies gathered, processed, employed, protected, and divulged intelligence about foreign lands, peoples, and markets, this book throws new light on the internal uses of information by corporate actors and the ways they engaged with, relied on, and supplied various external publics. This ranged from using secret knowledge to beat competitors, to shaping debates about empire, and to forcing Europeans to reassess their understandings of specific environments due to contacts with non-European peoples. Reframing our understanding of trading companies through the lens of travel literature, this volume brings together thirteen experts in the field to facilitate a new understanding of how European corporations and empires were shaped by global webs of
    information exchange

    1. Trading Companies and Travel Writing: An Introduction

    Aske Laursen Brock, Guido van Meersbergen and Edmond Smith

    Part One: Managing Information

    2. Mapping Travel Knowledge: The Use of Maps on the First Dutch Voyages to Asia

    Djoeke van Netten

    3. Writing that Travels: The Dutch East India Company’s Paper-Based Information Management

    Guido van Meersbergen and Frank Birkenholz

    4. Written Reports and the Promotion of Trans-Oceanic Trade in Tuscany and Genoa in the Seventeenth Century

    Giorgio Tosco

    5. Information and Encounter in England’s North American Colonies, 1585-1650

    Edmond Smith

    Part Two: Multiple Actors and Perspectives

    6. William Hawkins in the Mughal Court, 1608-1611: Cultural, Social, and Affective Boundary-Crossings

    Jyotsna Singh

    7. Writing the Macabre: Travel, Taxation and the Bengal Famine of 1770

    Amrita Sen

    8. Reading Marginalised, Non-European Agency in EIC-Nepalese Encounters: The Expeditions of William Kirkpatrick, 1793, and Maulvi Abdul Kadir Khan, 1795

    Sam Ellis

    Part Three: Company Lives

    9. For Which Company? Guy Tachard S.J.’s Unpublished Relation de Voyage aux Indes, 1690-99

    Stefan Halikowski Smith

    10. ‘Passages Recollected from Memory’: Remembering the Levant Company in Seventeenth-Century Merchants’ Life Writing

    Eva Johanna Holmberg

    11. ‘Blackened and Whispered Away my Reputation’: Fashioning a Reputation in the Late Seventeenth-Century Levant Company

    Aske Laursen Brock

    12. ‘Unburying’ Company History: Reconstructing European Company Narratives through Digital Cemetery Archives

    Souvik Mukherjee


    Nandini Das


    Aske Laursen Brock is Carlsberg Postdoctoral Fellow at Aalborg University, Denmark. His research focuses on the social origins of trading companies and early global capitalism.

    Guido van Meersbergen is Assistant Professor of Early Modern Global History at the University of Warwick, UK. His research focuses on early modern diplomacy, travel, ethnography, and the Dutch and English East India Companies.

    Edmond Smith is Presidential Fellow in Economic Cultures at the University of Manchester, UK. His work focuses on commercial communities and the institutions of early modern global trade.