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image of Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient

The provincial town of Huwayza in Arabistan/Khuzistan, southwestern Iran, was a minting center from the early days of the Safavid period. Huwayza became an especially productive mint in the course of the seventeenth century, issuing a silver coinage, the mahmudi, that became the most widely circulating of all currencies throughout the Persian Gulf basin. A combination of extant mahmudis and written records about these coins permits an analysis that views the coinage of Huwayza through the prism of the economic problems that plagued Iran in the later Safavid period. The focus of the present article is twofold. The first part examines the place of Huwayza in the general consolidation of mints in seventeenth-century Iran and seeks to explain why Arabistan was somewhat of an exception to this trend. Part two makes an effort to substantiate the alleged deterioration of the Huwayza coinage as of the 1660s through numismatic techniques, relates this to the overall monetary situation in the country, and speculates on the causes and reasons for the demise of the Huwayza mahmudi at the turn of the eighteenth century.

Huwayza, centre provincial situé en Arabistan/Khuzistan, au sud-ouest de l'Iran, possédait un atelier de monnaie dès le début de l'époque safavide. L'atelier monétaire de Huwayza atteignit son essor productif dans la seconde moitié du XVIIe siècle, avec la frappe d'un monnayage d'argent, le mahmudi, qui devint la monnaie la plus repandue dans le bassin entier du golfe Persique et jusqu'aux côtes occidentales de l'Inde. L'étude des pièces de monnaie preservées et des données écrites qui leur sont consacrées, nous permet d'analyser le mahmudi de Huwayza à la lumière des difficultés économiques qui accablaient l'Iran vers la fin de l'époque safavide. Le présent article a un double objectif. La première partie s'interroge sur la place de Huwayza dans l'unification des ateliers de frappe iraniens au XVIIe siècle, et sur les raisons pour lesquelles Huwayza ne s'était pas conformé à cette tendance générale. La seconde partie tente de vérifier, par des techniques numismatiques, la détérioration prétendue de la monnaie de Huwayza à partir de 1660. Enfin, en établissant un rapport entre le mahmudi de Huwayza et les conditions monétaires générales dans le pays, nous évoquons les causes de l'arrêt de l'émission de cette monnaie au tournant du XVIIIe siècle.


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