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Transregional Trade and TradersSituating Gujarat in the Indian Ocean from Early Times to 1900$
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Edward A. Alpers and Chhaya Goswami

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780199490684

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199490684.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 01 December 2020



City of Ivory

(p.218) 8 Surat
Transregional Trade and Traders

Martha Chaiklin

Oxford University Press

In the eighteenth century, Surat was perhaps the single most important port city of the Moghul empire, if not the world. Dutch, English, French, and Portuguese ships were called from Africa and Brazil to obtain Gujarati textiles, side by side with dhows from the throughout the Indian Ocean. This textile trade was underpinned by ivory, large amounts of which poured in the city both by caravan and by sea. Even though Surat, or even Gujarat, was not elephant habitat in the early modern period, Surat became a significant port for the import of ivory into India. The need for tusks of an appropriate size for bangles created symbiosis of trade between Gujarati textiles and ivory that directly affected the prosperity of Surat. The chapter thus links Surat to the Indian Ocean World through ivory and demonstrate the interconnected nature of ivory and textiles in the Gujarat region.

Keywords:   Surat, Ivory, Textile, early modern production system, global circulation of ivory, Indian Ocean

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