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'Industrious Gentiles': Hindu Merchants and Middlemen in the Portuguese Estado da Índia, c. 1730-1850

Dates:
  • Tue 25 Jun 2019 10.00 - 12.00
  Add to Calendar 2019-06-25 10:00 2019-06-25 12:00 Europe/Paris 'Industrious Gentiles': Hindu Merchants and Middlemen in the Portuguese Estado da Índia, c. 1730-1850

This thesis explores the role of Hindu merchants in the Portuguese Estado da Índia from 1730 to 1850 and their myriad processes of engagement with the colonial state. It seeks to understand and account for the extent to which Hindu merchants were dominant commercial and political actors in the colonial economy of the Estado, and how they became indispensable mercantile and political actors for the Portuguese colonial state in India. Although their relationship has been one characterised by ʼmutual dependencyʼ, this thesis is concerned with illuminating the extent to which it was mutually reciprocal by analysing how, why and to what effect, Hindu merchants sought to profit and derive substantial benefits from their status as colonial subjects. The eighteenth century heralded radical alterations in the political, economic and socio-cultural landscape of Portuguese India. Thus, the impact of these structural reforms on its Hindu mercantile community and the dynamics of their responses to it will also be analysed, in order to elucidate the impact of Portuguese colonialism from the ground up. Although their commercial dominance has been widely noted, we know little of their modus operandi and the mechanisms and institutions that undergirded their trade. This thesis thus seeks to examine the full scope of their modus operandi and the influence of family and kinship bonds in order to provide a more finite and detailed account of their commercial success. Given the fact that the scope of their commercial network went far beyond the boundaries of the Estado, the manner in which they built, consolidated and managed a global network of cross-cultural mercantile partners will also be analysed. By examining the dominance and agency of Hindu merchants, it will demonstrate the continued importance and resilience of local mercantile actors in the global economy of the Indian Ocean, adding further nuance to our understanding of the dynamics of European colonialism on the subcontinent, and the complexity of the engagement between Asian and European actors during this period.

Sala dei Levrieri - Villa Salviati- Castle DD/MM/YYYY
  Sala dei Levrieri - Villa Salviati- Castle

This thesis explores the role of Hindu merchants in the Portuguese Estado da Índia from 1730 to 1850 and their myriad processes of engagement with the colonial state. It seeks to understand and account for the extent to which Hindu merchants were dominant commercial and political actors in the colonial economy of the Estado, and how they became indispensable mercantile and political actors for the Portuguese colonial state in India. Although their relationship has been one characterised by ʼmutual dependencyʼ, this thesis is concerned with illuminating the extent to which it was mutually reciprocal by analysing how, why and to what effect, Hindu merchants sought to profit and derive substantial benefits from their status as colonial subjects. The eighteenth century heralded radical alterations in the political, economic and socio-cultural landscape of Portuguese India. Thus, the impact of these structural reforms on its Hindu mercantile community and the dynamics of their responses to it will also be analysed, in order to elucidate the impact of Portuguese colonialism from the ground up. Although their commercial dominance has been widely noted, we know little of their modus operandi and the mechanisms and institutions that undergirded their trade. This thesis thus seeks to examine the full scope of their modus operandi and the influence of family and kinship bonds in order to provide a more finite and detailed account of their commercial success. Given the fact that the scope of their commercial network went far beyond the boundaries of the Estado, the manner in which they built, consolidated and managed a global network of cross-cultural mercantile partners will also be analysed. By examining the dominance and agency of Hindu merchants, it will demonstrate the continued importance and resilience of local mercantile actors in the global economy of the Indian Ocean, adding further nuance to our understanding of the dynamics of European colonialism on the subcontinent, and the complexity of the engagement between Asian and European actors during this period.


Location:
Sala dei Levrieri - Villa Salviati- Castle

Affiliation:
Department of History and Civilization

Type:
Thesis defence

Examiner:
Angela Maria Barreto Xavier
Prof. Regina Grafe
Cátia Antunes (University of Leiden)

Supervisor:
Jorge Flores (European University Institute)

Defendant:
Noelle Nadiah Richardson (EUI - Department of History and Civilization)

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