Book chapter / The Dutch Empire in Malabar

Gommans, Jos J.L., and Pieter C. Emmer, eds. ‘The Dutch Tropics’. In The Dutch Overseas Empire, 1600–1800, 254–310. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2020.

Excerpt (edited): As in virtually all the other trading posts in Asia, the VOC [Dutch East India Company] in Malabar also depended on middlemen for the supply and sale of goods. Even during the Portuguese period, several groups of traders had emerged who fulfilled an important role as mediators between the long-distance trade of the Portuguese and immigrant (pardesi) Muslims and the local distribution networks.

The three most important were the indigenous Mappila Muslims and two Brahmin groups, the Konkani (or Canarians, in Dutch Canarijns) from the northern coastal areas of the Konkan and Kanara, and the Tamil Pattars from Coromandel. In addition, there were all sorts of other regional trading communities, usually referred to by the umbrella term Chettiars or, as we met them in Ceylon, Chetties.

These groups worked closely together with the minor noblemen consisting of so-called Nayars, local warrior chiefs who, with their widespread family networks, controlled the production of pepper and other crops.

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Reposted from Kerala Scholars eGroup


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