The Indigenous Origins of the ‘Colonial Economy’

C. A. Bayly

in Rulers, Townsmen and Bazaars

Third edition

Published in print June 2012 | ISBN: 9780198077466
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199081110 | DOI:

Series: Oxford India Perennials Series

The Indigenous Origins of the ‘Colonial Economy’

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This chapter examines the origins of the colonial economy in north India during the later part of the eighteenth century to the early part of the nineteenth century. It explains that during this period the East India Company and the European private traders considered the consolidation of Benares as the main money market for eastern India and the growth of Mirzapur as the key commodity mart between Bengal, Hindustan, and central India as the most important developments in north India's pre-colonial commercial geography. It discusses the improvement in European relations with the great trading corporations of Benares and the motives and conditions which led Indian merchant families to associate with European enterprises. The chapter also provides a summary of the failures and impediments to trade which drew the British into territorial dominion in India.

Keywords: colonial economy; East India Company; commodity mart; European private traders; Benares; Mirzapur; money market; Bengal; Hindustan; trading corporations

Chapter.  15428 words.  Illustrated.

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