European commercial enterprise in pre-colonial India by Om Prakash

By Om Prakash

Ecu investors first seemed in India on the finish of the 15th century and demonstrated company businesses within the area, reminiscent of the English and Dutch East India businesses. This quantity considers how, over a span of 3 centuries, the Indian economic climate multiplied and used to be built-in into the premodern global economic system due to those interactions. through documenting the prevailing literature, the writer offers a desirable assessment of the effect of ecu exchange at the precolonial Indian economic climate that may be of worth to scholars of Indian, ecu and colonial background.

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The principal commodity procured in the Konkan ports of Chaul and Dabhol was textiles, while the main item procured in Kanara and Malabar was pepper. A certain amount of rice was also procured in Kanara. At Calicut, limited quantities of Chinese and Indonesian goods were also picked up. Bengal provided foodgrains and provisions such as sugar, butter and oil in addition, of course, to textiles of different varieties. A part of the large conglomerate of goods brought to Cambay was obviously destined for consumption in Gujarat, as well as the large north Indian hinterland supplied by it.

The remaining part of the century witnessed a variety of experiments carried out in an attempt to identify the optimal strategy that would ensure the Crown maximum monopoly revenue without obliging it to be directly involved in the conduct of the trade with Asia. 2 The Asian contract system was introduced in 1575. The first beneficiary of the new arrangement was the Augsburg merchant Konrad Rott together with his associates who included the Milanese merchant, Giovanni Batista Rovalesca. Under this arrangement, Rott received intact the royal monopoly of the Cape route — the procurement of spices in Asia, their shipment to Europe, the provisioning of the carracks in Lisbon and Goa, and the distribution of pepper in Europe.

The Portuguese enterprise can then be seen to have had an evolutionary character rather than a well-defined or unchanging profile. In keeping with the traditional composition of the Asian imports into Europe, the principal item sought by the Portuguese Crown in Asia was spices — overwhelmingly pepper - though some other goods were also procured. On the basis of the better known cases of the Dutch and the English East India companies' trade in pepper and other spices, one ordinarily associates the spice trade primarily with the Indonesian archipelago (Sumatran pepper and Moluccan cloves, nutmeg and mace) and only marginally with Sri Lanka (cinnamon) and the southwest coast of India (pepper).

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