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Title: The development of the English East India Company, with special reference to its trade and organisation, 1600-1640
Author: Chaudhuri, Kirti Narayan
Awarding Body: SOAS University of London
Current Institution: SOAS, University of London
Date of Award: 1961
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The object of this thesis is two-fold: first to make an economic study of the East India Company's many-sided activities in the first four decades of the seventeenth century, and secondly, through such a study to cast light upon the business-technique of a great merchant company of the period. In many ways, the East India Company was a unique organization. From a limited and modest beginning it quickly developed into a trading organization with wide commercial ramifications both in Asia and Europe. The Company's port to port trade in the Indies and the role it assumed as local traders in Asiatic Continent was ultimately responsible for the rise of the multilateral trade-triangles which characterised the English commerce overseas in the eighteenth and nineteenth century. Such a development brought with it the twin problems of a chronic shortage of finance capital and the political rivalry with the Dutch in the Indies. At home, the Company's existence depended on the successful competition with other European powers trading to the Indies. Its trade was economically viable if only the Company was prepared to extend its operations, in addition to the domestic, to the European markets as well. Hence, the Company put marked emphasis throughout the period on the re-export of its trading products to the Continent and the Levant, which promised to provide also a solution to the drain of treasure from England to Asia. The history of the Company's imports in the European markets reveals, however, that the Company was constantly haunted by the spectre of over-supply and falling prices. The trade in pepper which was the most important commodity on the Company's import list was especially susceptible to violent fluctuations and speculative moves. This led in the 1620's to a gradual and relative shift to the Indian commodities, to indigo and calico. In this thesis an attempt is made to trace in detail the Company's response to such economic problems, and to examine the institutional basis of its trading activities in England as exemplified in the composition and duties of its Court of Committees, the system of factorage, and the running of the shipyards.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral