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The Workings of the Indian Traders of Zambezia, Mozambique, 1870s-1910s

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The Workings of the Indian Traders of Zambezia, Mozambique, 1870s-1910s

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In Zambezia in the second half of the nineteenth century, the development of the trade in export commodities involved all sectors of the social and economic system, and was largely a response to external stimuli. During this period, the Indian traders reinforced their key role in the inland trade, connecting the peasant producers to the European trade firms that controlled the export trade. By the late 1880s, the colonial state sought to create an infrastructure that would protect and promote Portuguese interests through the ensuing of a new legal and judicial system in the 1890s, and the establishment of a plantation system in Zambezia. Such implied the organization and control of trade, and labour and, consequently, the reduction of both Indian and peasant autonomy. Faced with the rapid growth of the colonial companies' trade monopoly, Indians responded positively to the new economic challenges, establishing new partnerships and cooperating with the companies.

The latter used them as means to achieve territorial and trade control over the prazos. Indeed, the fears of loss of control over the Africans, which represented a deficit in terms of taxation and labour obligations, prompted the establishment of a commercial alliance with the Indians. This suggests that the establishment of both effective colonial rule and modern capitalist enterprise was dependent to a degree upon an Indian-dominated trade network. En Zambézie, au cours de la seconde moitié du dix-neuvième siècle, le développement du commerce d'exportation des marchandises a impliqué tous les secteurs du système économique et social, et constituait en grande partie une réponse à un stimulus externe. Pendant cette période, les marchands indiens ont renforcé leur rôle fondamental dans le commerce intérieur, faisant le lien entre les paysans producteurs et les sociétés commerciales européennes qui contrôlaient les exportations. Dès la fin des années 1880, l'État colonial a voulu créer une infrastructure qui assurerait la protection et la promotion des intérêts portugais par la mise en place d'un nouveau système légal et judiciaire dans les années 1890, et l'établissement d'un système de plantations en Zambézie. Ceci impliquait l'organisation et le contrôle du commerce et du travail et, par conséquent, la réduction de l'autonomie tant indienne que paysanne. Confrontés au développement rapide du monopole commercial des compagnies coloniales, les Indiens ont répondu de façon positive aux nouveaux défis économiques, en établissant de nouveaux partenariats et en coopérant avec les compagnies.

Ces dernières les utilisaient comme un moyen d'obtenir le contrôle territorial et commercial sur les prazos. En effet, la peur de perdre le contrôle sur les Africains, ce qui aurait représenté un manque à gagner, tant en termes de taxes que de travail obligatoire, a été à l'origine d'une alliance commerciale avec les Indiens. Ceci suggère l'idée que l'établissement à la fois d'un gouvernement colonial efficace et d'une entreprise capitaliste moderne dépendaient jusqu'à un certain point d'un réseau commercial dominé par les Indiens.
Na Zambézia, na segunda metade do século dezanove, o desenvolvimento do comércio de exportação de mercadorias envolveu todos os sectores do sistema social e económico, e constituíu em grande parte uma resposta aos estímulos externos. Durante este período, os comerciantes indianos reforçaram o seu papel fundamental no comércio interior, estabelecendo uma ligação entre os produtores camponeses e as sociedades comerciais europeias que controlavam as exportações. A partir do final da década de 1880, o Estado colonial desejou criar uma infra-estrutura que asseguraria a promoção e a protecção dos interesses portugueses através da implementação de um novo sistema legal e judiciário na década de 1890, e o estabelecimento de um sistema de plantações na Zambézia. Isto implicava a organização e o controlo do comércio e do trabalho e, consequentemente, a redução da autonomia tanto indiana como camponesa. Confrontados ao rápido desenvolvimento do monopólio comercial das companhias coloniais, os Indianos responderam de maneira positiva aos novos desafios económicos, com o estabelecimento de novas parcerias e a cooperação com as companhias.

Este estado usou-os como um meio para alcançar um controlo territorial e comercial sobre os prazos. Aliás, os receios da perda de controle sobre os Africanos, que representavam um défice em termos de tributação e obrigações laborais, levou à assinatura de um pacto comercial com os Indianos. O facto sugere que o estabelecimento tanto de um governo colonial eficaz, como do empreendedorismo capitalista moderno se encontravam, em certa medida, dependentes de uma rede comercial dominada pelos Indianos.

Affiliations: 1: University of Oxford

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/content/journals/10.1163/176830808785327304
2008-08-01
2016-12-10

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