In The Political Economy of Commerce: Southern India 1500–1650 Sanjay Subrahmanyam explores the relationship between long-distance trade and the economic and political structure of southern India in the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. He questions the more traditional views that external demand was the force behind pre-colonial Indian economic growth or that external trade was insignificant in quantitative and qualitative terms compared with the vastness of the internal economy. Instead, Dr Subrahmanyam authoritatively demonstrates the interaction between south Indian developments and larger international processes within certain economic institutions - most notably the network of marketing villages, great coastal emporia and operations of revenue-farmers and 'portfolio' capitalists. This book is based on extensive and previously unused Portuguese and Dutch archival sources. Its secondary theme is to explore the relationship between the documentation used and the context within which it was generated, thus illuminating how Europeans and Asians reacted to one another.
List of illustrations; List of tables; Preface; Abbreviations used; Introduction; 1. The political economy of southern India, 1500–1650: preliminary remarks; 2. Coastal trade and overland trade: complementarities and contradictions; 3. Overseas trade, 1500–1570: traders, ports and networks; 4. Overseas trade, 1570–1650: expansion and realignment; 5. Europeans and Asians in an age of contained conflict; 6. External commerce and political participation; 7. Situating trade: models and methodological strategies; Conclusion; A note on currency and weights; Glossary; Note on sources; Bibliography; Index.