Settlement and Authority in Eastern Gujarat

Samira Sheikh

in Forging a Region

Published in print December 2009 | ISBN: 9780198060192
Published online October 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199080137 | DOI:

Series: SOAS Studies on South Asia

Settlement and Authority in Eastern Gujarat

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From the twelfth to the end of the fifteenth century and even later, Gujarat was still in the process of being ‘settled’. The coastal towns were particularly prosperous and boasted sizeable and entrenched colonies of local and itinerant merchants. In the hinterland, however, migration and mobility were the norm for all those engaged in trade, politics, and pilgrimage. Eastern Gujarat was already urbanized, and trade and even agriculture were largely monetized. Settlement patterns in Gujarat and corresponding local political authority illustrate the extent to which the necessities of trade influenced settlement and administration. The campaigns of the sultans were generally meant to safeguard trade for their own benefit and secure their supplies of resources. The sultans personally supervised the construction of several new forts, city walls, and even entire towns that served as proof of monumental public architecture during the period.

Keywords: settlement patterns; political authority; merchants; agriculture; trade; sultans; public architecture; coastal towns; migration

Chapter.  15927 words.  Illustrated.

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