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The Indian Apprenticeship: The Trade Of Indian Textiles And The Making Of European Cottons

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Chapter Summary

This chapter raises the question why Europe started producing cotton textiles, when India was the undisputed global leader in their manufacturing and trade. It contextualises the ways in which the interaction between trade and industry has been explained by historians. The chapter argues that the specific relationship between the import into Europe of Indian textiles and the subsequent development of a European cotton industry must give due consideration to the accumulation of knowledge regarding products and markets in the period between 1600 and the late eighteenth century. It considers the role of the European chartered companies. The chapter discusses the early trade with India by the Portuguese, and by the English East India Company (EIC) and VOC after 1600. It examines the issue of knowledge and information by focusing on the overall pattern of trade in textiles between India and Europe and the complex range of products exchanged.

Keywords: cotton textiles; English East India Company (EIC); European chartered companies; European cotton industry; Indian textiles; VOC



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