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  • Print publication year: 1993
  • Online publication date: March 2008

8 - Economic and Social Change, c. 1400–1800

from PART TWO - FROM c. 1500 to c. 1800 CE
The impact of the major economic trends in Southeast Asia during the period 1400-1800 can be understood to some extent by looking at the low population levels in the region till 1750. The region shared some of the notable economic cycles which affected Europe and China, as the period 1400-1620 was essentially one of boom in both those great markets. In terms of the overall level of commercialization in the region, it was local and regional trade which was most important. Cash-cropping brought wealth, international contacts, and social changes on a considerable scale. In most of the languages of Southeast Asia the state and the city were indistinguishable. The power and grandeur of the Southeast Asian country essentially resided in its capital. The early seventeenth century saw a clear trend towards state absolutism, most marked in those Southeast Asian states which survived as vigorous trade centres into the mid-seventeenth century.
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The Cambridge History of Southeast Asia
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