The Center Cannot Hold: The Decline and Collapse of the Julfan Trade Network

Sebouh David Aslanian

in From the Indian Ocean to the Mediterranean

Published by University of California Press

Published in print April 2011 | ISBN: 9780520266872
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520947573 | DOI:
The Center Cannot Hold: The Decline and Collapse of the Julfan Trade Network

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This chapter explores the decline and collapse of the Julfan trade network. It argues that the Julfan network collapsed in the decades following 1747 when the suburb was extensively looted and overtaxed by the predatory policies of Nadir Shah Afshar, who became the ruler of Iran in 1736 after the Afghan occupation of Isfahan and the collapse of the Safavid dynasty in 1722. Excessive taxation and looting ruined many of the township's leading merchant families and caused a massive exodus of its population to Russia, the Mediterranean, and especially India. With the collapse of the nodal center and the financial ruin of its remaining wealthy families, the rest of the network gravitated to India, where it continued to function in a debilitated fashion for a few more decades, eventually succumbing to pressures from the rival imperializing network of the English East India Company.

Keywords: Julfan; trade network; Nadir Shah Afshar; Isfahan; taxation; looting; India; East India Company; Iran; nodal center

Chapter.  6586 words. 

Subjects: Asian History

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