This collection of 13 essays deals with a range of topics concerning Portuguese, Dutch and Chinese merchants, commodities and commerce in maritime Asia in the early modern period from c. 1585-1800. They are based on exhaustive research and careful analysis of diverse sets of archival materials found around the globe. Written by a leading authority on global maritime economic history and the history of European Expansion, each individual essay addresses a topic of fundamental importance to those interested in knowing more about what merchants did (with which resources and under what conditions) and how they did it, what were the commodities that were incorporated into local, regional, intra-regional and global economies, and what was the role and function of early modern maritime trade and commerce in economic development in general and especially in Asia in the early modern era, from c. 1585-1800. A number of them, in particular, relate the individual or collective merchant experience to specific European (Portuguese and Dutch) imperial projects and their contestation amongst themselves and their indigenous neighbours over portions of the period. Collectively, they form an exposition of a utilitarian view of human activity under a wide-ranging different set of circumstances and conditions but with similar patterns of behaviors and responses that are largely independent from ethnic, racial or religious stereotyping. The work therefore should raise new issues and avenues of research concerning these agents and objects in European Expansion, Asian and Global History.
Table of Contents
Contents: Preface; Part I Introduction: Maritime trade and politics in China and the South China Sea. Part II Portuguese and Other Merchants and Administrators: Portuguese country traders in the Indian Ocean and the South China Sea, c. 1600; Imperial defense and finance and the colonial city in the tropics: the Senado da Camara of Cochin and the relief of Malacca, 1587-1598; Commerce and capital: Portuguese maritime losses in the South China Sea, 1600-1754; Portuguese colonial administrators and inter-Asian maritime trade: Manuel de Sousa de Meneses and the Fateh Moula affair; Agency, monopoly, and commerce: the administrators of the Junta do Tobaco in Asia and the Atlantic, Indian Ocean, and global economies, 1674 to 1774; The VOC’s price current records in the long 18th century: commodities and prices in global, intra-Asian and regional Asian maritime economic history; An anatomy of commerce and consumption: opium and merchants at Batavia over the long 18th century. Part III Commodities and Commerce: Ballast goods: Chinese maritime trade in zinc and sugar in the 17th and 18th centuries; Country trade and Chinese alum: raw material supply and demand in Asia’s textile production in the 17th and 18th centuries; Developing habits: opium and tobacco in the Indonesian archipelago, c. 1619-c. 1794; Opium and the Company: maritime trade and imperial finances on Java, 1684-1796; Global commodities and commerce in the Early Modern world: the case of Sri Lankan cinnamon; Index.
'The singularity of his extensive research of both Portuguese and Dutch presence in Asia, his use of archival materials in Portuguese, Dutch, English and Spanish, and his generosity in providing detailed citations make Portuguese, Dutch and Chinese in Maritime Asia c. 1585-1800 an irreplaceable tome in any respectable research library. ... a must for any student and scholar of the Early Modern Indian Ocean World.' Itinerario '[A] fine volume, which, as with others in the series, has the great merit of making scattered publications by an eminent author available in a single volume.' International Journal of Maritime History 'Souza's new book will be useful to historians of China, European empires, and economic history.' Journal of Economic History 'Souza establishes connections with a wider arena to include the trans-Pacific commercial route to America, and the connections with India and Europe, which shaped the first globalization. It is an economic history of commerce, referring to key commodities and heralding a new global world characterized by a quicker circulation of goods, capital, and men with an ever present social dimension. Souza vividly portrays this multifarious world with empirical abundance provided by countless hours spent in archives and libraries around the world, but always structured in sound ideas so that the reader is offered a solid text to study and to reflect upon.' Journal of Northeast Asian History '[This book] gathers information from dispersed secondary sources and makes use of archival records to shed light on business practices in the context of early modern Eastern markets.' Enterprise and Society