Inter-area/Border Crossing

Organized Panel Session

3 - European Diaspora in the Coromandel in the 17th and 18th Centuries

Friday, July 6
12:10 PM - 1:40 PM
Location: Silveroak I, Ground Floor

The Coromandel or the eastern littoral of the Indian subcontinent was inexorably entrenched in the Indian Ocean trading world by the seventeenth century. As the predominant textile producing region, it fed the bulk of the pre-modern and early modern Indian Ocean trade, which, at its zenith, linked Europe, Africa, West Asia, South Asia, the Indonesian Archipelago and the Far East. While the impact of European trading companies in the region has been amply researched, private or individual engagements of the European diaspora in the region are relatively underrepresented. European settlers and adventurers had diverse involvements in cosmopolitan ports like Masulipatnam, and its environs, outside their capacity as Company agents, ranging from private trade in textiles, diamonds and various commodities, to revenue farming, investment in property etcetera. Their involutions brought them into myriad dealings with indigenous and diasporic mercantile communities, administrators, weavers, manufacturing, commercial and financial communities. Such economic and extra-economic activities necessitated socio-cultural and ecological adaptations juxtaposed with conflicts, even as these émigrés sought to conform to and profit from established norms and practices. Inédit and published archival material and contemporary travelers accounts unravel success stories like those of Edward Winter, or unfortunate tales like that of Abraham van Uffelen, which go beyond individual narratives to illustrate aspects of the politico-economic and cultural ethos of early modern Asia.

Sonali Mishra

University of Delhi, India

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3 - European Diaspora in the Coromandel in the 17th and 18th Centuries



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