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The Political Economy of Commerce -  Southern India 1500-1650
The Political Economy of Commerce - Southern India 1500-1650

The Political Economy of Commerce - Southern India 1500-1650

by Sanjay Subrahmanyam

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Cambridge University press


81-7596-194-5 - Year: 2004 - Pages: 399



Sanjay Subrahmanyam
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Author: Sanjay Subrahmanyam
Publisher: Cambridge University press
Year: 2004
Language: English
Pages: 399
ISBN/UPC (if available): 81-7596-194-5


In The Political Economy of Commerce: Southern India, 1500-1650 Sanjay Subrahmanyam explores the relationship between long-distance trade and the economic and political structure of southern Indian in the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. He questions the more traditional views that external demand was the force behind pre-colonial Indian economic growth or that external trade was insignificant in quantitative and qualitative terms compared with the vastness of the internal economy.

Instead, Dr Subrahmanyam authoritatively demonstrates the interaction between south Indian developments and larger international processes within certain economic institutions-most notably the network of marketing villages, great coastal emporia and operations of revenue farmers and portfolio capitalists.

This book is based on extensive and previously unused Portuguese and Dutch archival sources. Its secondary theme is to explore the relationship between the documentation used and the context within which it was generated, thus illuminating how Europeans and Asians reacted to one another.

The Political Economy of Commerce: Southern India, 1500-1650 makes an important contribution to pre-colonial economic history of India as well as to the understanding of the social and political processes of the period. It will be widely read by students and specialists of economic history and South Asian studies.


This is an important and challenging study of the interlocking spheres of trade and politics in early modern South India. Relying on research in Portuguese, Dutch and English archival and printed material, Sanjay Subrahmanyam makes sharply angled revisionist arguments to challenge accepted interpretations.
-John F Richards in the American Historical Review.

This big book fulfils much of the promise of Subrahmanyam’s numerous published essays of recent years. It consists of astute, often highly original, analyses of south Indian commerce during these centuries, based upon Portuguese and Dutch archival documentation.
-Burton Stein in The Journal of Asian Studies.







The political economy of southern India, 1500-1650: Preliminary remarks

Coastal trade and overland trade-complementarities and contradictions

Overseas trade, 1500-1570: traders, ports and networks

Overseas trade, 1570-1650: expansion and realignment

Europeans and Asians in an age of contained conflict

External commerce and political participation

Situating trade: models and methodological strategies Conclusion

A note on currency and weights


Note on sources



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