Conclusion: Comparative Thoughts on Julfan Armenians, Multani Indians, and Sephardic Jews

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:
Conclusion: Comparative Thoughts on Julfan Armenians, Multani Indians, and Sephardic Jews

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Most scholarship on “trade diasporas,” or long-distance mercantile communities and their networks, has tended to be insular and narrowly focused on a single community of merchants. Little work has been done to conceptualize mercantile communities in a comparative context. This chapter places the Julfan trade network and its methods of policing trust within a larger comparative context by examining the network of Julfan Armenians in relation to two other exemplary early modern long-distance trading networks, those of the Multani Indians and the Sephardic Jews. It examines the Julfan network for possible structural flaws and argues that one such flaw was the network's privileging of the commenda contract over other forms of partnerships, a choice that severely limited the network's ability to expand and diversify into new markets. It also considers how each network was structured in relation to a single “nodal center” of circulation, as in the case of the Julfans and Multanis, or to multiple centers, as in the case of the Sephardim.

Keywords: Julfan; trade network; Julfan Armenians; Multani Indians; Sephardic Jews; commenda contract; nodal center; partnerships; trade diasporas; merchants

Chapter.  9981 words. 

Subjects: Asian History

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