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Schwartzberg Atlas, v. , p. 209.

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peans, we have indicated the known settlements of Indian traders outside their homeland during the 16th and 17th cen- turies. We have not depicted the mercantile contacts of other Asian peoples (Arabs, Armenians, Malays, etc.), though those too were important, extending over much of Central Asia, the Middle East, East Africa, and Southeast Asia. It is worthy of note that an Arab sailor, Shihāb ud-din Ahmad bin Mājid, guided Vasco da Gama on the final leg of his historic initial voyage to India.

An inset map portrays the image of the world provided by Martin Behaim's globe of 1492, which, despite its large degree of dependence on sources as dated as Marco Polo and Ptol- emy, was believed to represent, for the world as a whole, the most advanced geographic knowledge of the day. Conceivably, Columbus may have based his determination to sail west to India on the feasibility of such a venture suggested by the Behaim globe, of which he presumably had obtained second- hand knowledge.



J. D. Fage (1958); Grosser historischer Weltatlas, vol. 3 (1957); D. G. G. Kerr, ed. (1966); T. R. Miller (1969); C. O. Paullin (1932); USSR, Glavnoe Upravlenie Geodezii i Kartografii (1959); G. Westermann (1968); A. C. Wilgus (1967).

Other Works

J. N. L. Baker (1967); C. A. Fisher (1964); D. G. E. Hall (1968b); E. G. Ravenstein (1908).


We are indebted to Shri Surendra Gopal of the Department of History, Patna University, for sending us his list of settlements of Indian traders abroad in the 16th and 17th centuries, with an explanatory letter dated 22 September 1969.

VI.B.2. European–South Asian Commercial Contacts, 16th–18th Century

Before 1765, European territorial holdings in India and Cey- lon were limited almost exclusively to a narrow coastal fringe and often consisted of nothing more than a small patch of land containing a "factory" (i.e., a trading post under the charge of a "factor") and/or a fort, and accompanying buildings (see illustrations on plate VI.B.5). Although military forays into the interior were undertaken from time to time, acquiring land was rarely their object. Rather, they were to ensure deliveries of commodities of trade from recalcitrant local authorities, to punish those who sought to impede the activities of the Euro- peans or despoil their holdings, or to give succor to friendly local powers who were in rivalry with others who were un- friendly. Vaguely defined spheres of influence for various pow- ers were indeed shown on contemporary European maps; but, with the exception of the territories of the Portuguese around Goa and in Ceylon and later of the Dutch in Ceylon, those spheres were unilaterally asserted and did not imply sover- eignty. Plate VI.B.2 attempts to portray, among other related matters, the principal places where Europeans carried on their commercial contacts with South Asia and the periods during which those contacts were maintained between 1500 and 1830. However, as we shall explain below, the task of doing so is beset with difficulties.

The principal places of European commerce are named in black capital letters on the map, grouped into seven arbitrary clusters and keyed to graphs below the map which, for ease of reference, match the clustered groups. Less important places are named in lower-case letters and keyed to a set of notes to the right of the map. The right of the various European pow- ers or of the several East India companies they chartered to trade in particular localities was commonly conveyed in a farman, or a comparable grant, from the Mughal emperor or some other reigning figure; but it should not be assumed that obtaining a farman was automatically followed by the estab- lishment of a trading post. Nor can it be assumed that, once established, trading posts were continuously maintained. Many trading rights claimed by Europeans were on questionable au- thority, in that they were obtained from local rulers whose sovereignty over the area to which those rights were said to apply was questioned or subsequently challenged by another ruler elsewhere. In such cases attempts to expel the foreigners were common. Factories that could not be adequately de- fended were frequently abandoned, though not necessarily permanently. Among other causes for abandoning trading posts were their failure to return a profit, the unhealthful en- vironment, and external difficulties experienced by the parent company. In the records at our disposal we were not always able to ascertain with certainty the periods when commercial activity was actually carried on by a given power at a given place. Contradictions and gaps in the written records abound. This largely explains the frequent use of question marks in the graphs (panels A–G) relating to particular major sites and the inexactitude in the wording of the notes for sites of lesser importance.

A few other remarks on the manner of preparing plate VI.B.2 are in order. The presence of a European power does not always imply trade. Numerous forts were built by Euro- peans along the coasts of South Asia that had little or no di- rect importance for commercial activities, but were intended, rather, to serve essentially strategic purposes—that is, to help protect shipping or to provide points d'appui for holdings else- where. On the other hand, much trade was carried out, often for protracted periods, at marts over which European powers had no claims whatever. Neither of these two types of Euro- pean presence, military without commerce or commercial ac- tivity not vouchsafed by some form of legal consent, is covered by the graphs and notes of our map.

An additional problem is occasioned by the necessity to make more or less subjective judgements as to the periods when a European commercial presence at a particular site was im- portant enough to be shown. A number of trading posts were allowed to languish with perhaps no more than a token or sporadic presence by the European powers legally in charge. Such neglect often set in when the British restored a post to its former French, Dutch, or Danish occupants after a period of occupation occasioned by the outbreak of war (see note below map title). Two symbols, explained in the legend, relate to these issues. Additional symbols relate to the date when a given site in a princely state became tributary to the British or fell under the definitive sovereignty of the British, French, or Portuguese. For these sites we have shown continuous time bars from that date onward, whether or not much commerce actually took place at the site. The right of the sovereign power to impose a trading monopoly in such sites (whether or not it was actually invoked) appears to us to offer a suffi- cient basis for this convention.

Detailed as the map data on European commercial contacts with South Asia are, they do little more than provide place- specific and time-specific corroboration for what is widely known from standard historical works: the early arrival and long-time commanding lead of the Portuguese; the gradual replacement of the Portuguese by the Dutch in most of their holdings during the 17th century; the replacement of the Dutch, in turn, by the British; and the lateness of arrival and generally poor position of the French, compared with their Dutch and British rivals. With respect to the places of com- mercial importance, the map documents the early prominence of the West Coast and Ceylon; the rise in significance, shortly thereafter, of the Coromandel Coast, and the relative lateness of the emergence of Bengal as a field of European commercial rivalry.

In addition to providing data on European trading posts, plate VII.B.2 indicates the principal indigenous trading cen- ters without a European presence of the kind noted above and the principal centers of manufacturing in South Asia. The specific items in which each center specialized are also noted. The variety of types of cloth and of textile specializations is particularly striking; many cloths still in common use—for ex- ample, calico, chintz, taffeta, muslin, percale, gingham, satin —are seen to be of Indian provenance, their popularization in the West dating from the period of this map.

A final matter portrayed on plate VII.B.2 is the routes of five important 17th-century European travelers in India. The travelers selected are among those whose accounts of India were particularly important in stimulating Western interest in that country and whose accounts of it are of particular utility for historical research on the period. The travel literature on the period, however, is exceedingly abundant, and much of it has been anthologized, some of it repeatedly. The first of the great anthologies in the English language is Richard Hakluyt's three-volume work The Principal Navigations, Voyages, Traf- figues, and Discoveries of the English Nation . . . (1598–1600). In modern times the Hakluyt Society is a veritable mine for reproductions of works on travel, translated if necessary, with scholarly commentary of a very high order. Its publications run into hundreds of volumes.


Unbound Maps

Numerous unbound maps from the 16th to the 18th century were consulted. See main bibliography for titles.

Other Works

F. C. Danvers (1966); K. Datta (1968); C. Fawcett (1936– 55); W. Foster (1906–27); W. Foster, ed. (1921), (1926); H. Furber (1948), (1976); Geschiedkundige Atlas van Neder- land (1913–38, listed under Atlases); K. Glamann (1958); K. W. Goonawardene (1958); R. Hakluyt (1927–28); J. van Lohuizen (1961); T. V. Mahalingam (1951); N. Manucci (1907–8); W. H. Moreland (1923); R. Mukerjee (1967); P. Mundy (1914); E. F. Oaten (1909); A. B. Pandey (1963); K. M. Panikkar (1931); T. I. Poonen (1933), (1948); S. Pur- chas (1905–7); T. Raychaudhuri (1962); T. Roe (1926); J. Sarkar (1933); J. Sarkar, ed. and trans. (1901); S. P. Sen (1947), (1958); R. S. Whiteway (1899).


We thank Holden Furber for detailed editorial criticism of the preliminary draft of plate VI.B.2 and John Richards for addi- tional assistance with a subsequent draft.

VI.B.3 and 4. European Mapping of South Asia in the 16th, 17th, and Early 18th Centuries

The eleven maps or map excerpts presented in facsimile form on atlas plates VI.B.3 and 4 reveal the gradual alteration and steady improvement in European geographic knowledge of South Asia from the beginning of the 16th century to the early 18th century. The captions that accompany the maps make further explanation here superfluous. Also of interest are the introductory paragraphs of the "General Description of East India" from the 1631–38 English edition of the Mercator- Hondius Atlas. A comparison of the maps presented here with the representation of the behaim Globe of 1492 (on plate VI.B.1) and still earlier cartography of European and Middle Eastern provenance (on plate IV.3), on the one hand, and with the British mapping from the late 18th to the mid-19th century (on plates VII.A.4–6), on the other, provides a useful perspective on the long-term development of cartography. Sim- ilarly, a comparison of the textual description of India in the Mercator-Hondius Atlas with that of al-Bīrūnī (c. A.D. 1030, quoted on plate IV.3) and various earlier sources (plates III.A.1 and 2, III.B.2 and 3, III.C.5, and III.D.3) and that of James Rennell (on plate VII.A.6) will provide perspective on changing styles of geographic writing.


These are indicated in the captions for the maps themselves and for the Mercator-Hondius Atlas text. All illustrations were provided courtesy of the James Ford Bell Library, University of Minnesota.

VI.B.5. Early European Establishments on the Coast of India

The illustrations on plate VI.B.5 will help provide a perspec- tive on the data on European commercial contacts with South Asia presented on plate VI.B.2. Included are facsimiles of en- graved pictorial views, maps, and plans of some of the principal and lower-order establishments during the period from the mid-17th century to the mid-18th century. Portuguese, Dutch, British, and French sites are included. The aim in selection was more to show the variety of elements those sites contained than to provide a representative sample of what the European estab- lishments were like, which would have been a much more diffi- cult and space-consuming task. Apart from the richness of detail provided in the contemporary sources depicted, they are noteworthy for their beauty and excellent craftsmanship.


These are indicated in the captions for the illustrations them- selves. All illustrations were provided courtesy of the James Ford Bell Library, University of Minnesota.

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