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The Indian Maritime Merchant, 1500-1800

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The paper analyses the composition, social organization and wide range of activities of the Indian maritime merchant of the early modern period. Regional contrasts between Gujarat, the Coromandel coast and Bengal are discussed. The last section of the paper discusses the interaction between the Indian maritime merchants and the Europeans, both the corporate enterprises as well as private traders. It is argued that the Indian merchants displayed a remarkable degree of adaptiveness and resilience and refused to be overwhelmed by the competition provided by the Europeans. Cet article analyse la composition, l'organisation sociale, et les activités diverses qu'exploitent les marchands maritimes indiens du début de la période moderne. Les contrastes régionaux entre le Gujarat, la côte du Coromandel et le Bengal passeront la revue. La dernière section de l'article est consacrée à l'interaction entre les marchands maritimes indiens et les Européens, tant les grandes sociétés de négoce que la marine de commerce privée. Il est avancé que les marchands indiens se montrèrent très adaptifs et dynamiques et qu'ils refusèrent d'être subjugués par la concurrence survenue par l'arrivée des Européens.


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