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Western India

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Chapter Summary

The late seventeenth and early eighteenth century was a grim period for the Punjab, as much of the rich manufacturing industry that had transformed it into one of India's main manufacturing regions was either experiencing difficulties or had disappeared. The cloth of Sindh itself and of Punjab still disposed of an important foreign market: the Swahili Coast. What really happened was not that all markets in Middle East were in decline but rather that Gujarati shipping and products-and particularly the backbone of that trade, that in textiles-were up to at least 1750 steadily losing ground to cheaper imports from Bengal. Dealing with the situation in Southeast Asia, where Gujarat's market was similarly in decline, this chapter outlines what happened there was that after 1720 the previously flourishing Gujarati shipping to Java, Manilla, and Indonesian Archipelago began to falter, dwindling from four to six ships down to only one or two.

Keywords: Gujarati shipping; manufacturing industry; Punjab; Sindh; Swahili coast; textiles; western India



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