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date: 30 June 2022

An Indian Trading Ecumene? On the Global Ecology of South Asian Commercelocked

An Indian Trading Ecumene? On the Global Ecology of South Asian Commercelocked

  • Claude MarkovitsClaude MarkovitsEcole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales

Summary

The circulation of merchants between South Asia and the rest of the world combines a unique temporal depth, as a continuous presence of South Asian merchants outside the subcontinent is attested since at least the 9th century ce, and an impressive spatial range, as by the late 19th century Indian merchants, mostly Gujaratis and Sindhis, were to be found practically across the entire globe. Ecological factors, including the contrast between, on the one hand, the vast “dry zone” of northwestern South Asia and, on the other hand, riverine areas of permanent moisture in the rest of the subcontinent, played an important part in its genesis; they remained important as the movements of South Asian traders were extended beyond the subcontinent before the colonial era. In the colonial period, while political factors also became significant, the role of ecological factors was somewhat residual but still visible.

Subjects

  • South Asia

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