The International Workshop “The Safavids, the Post-Safavids and the East Indian Companies” will be jointly organized by Gruoup B01“The Ideas of the Muslim Community and State Systems(Principal Investigator: KONDO Nobuaki)”, Group A02 “Changes in the World of Islamic Thought and Knowledge”, and Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (A), “Toward a Global History of Inter-State Relations: A Comparative Study on Governmental Controls on Commercial Exchanges and Traffics in Eurasia, 1400-1900” (Principal Investigator: MATSUKATA Fuyuko).
Date & Time: December 17, Sunday, 2023, 14:00~17:00 (JST)
14:00 Introduction by Nobuaki Kondo (ILCAA)
14:10 Peter Good (JSPS Fellow/ILCAA)
“Stability by Contract?: The East India Company in Persia 1600-1747”
15:10 Norifumi Daito (Historiographical Institute, the University of Tokyo)
“Pursue of Agreement: The Dutch East India Company”
Discussant: Shinsaku Kato (ILCAA)
Stability by Contract?: The East India Company in Persia 1600-1747.
The English East India Company’s presence in Persia represents one of the longest non-colonial or imperial relationships of a European state with an Indian Ocean Empire. The Company’s ability to maintain its position as both a trading and diplomatic presence in the Safavid Empire was due to mutually recognised benefits. These included joint military campaigns against the Portuguese (1622), Gulf Piracy, or Arab and Afghan rebels along the littoral of the Persian Gulf. This paper will explore the different and changing methods used and deployed by both parties in order to maintain this valuable cooperation. The Company and the Safavid State enshrined their relationship in an evolving written document, the Farman. However, the Farman alone was rarely sufficient to fully answer all eventualities faced by either party, renegotiations were therefore required to better reflect changing circumstances. This paper will explore how the Anglo-Persian relationship was maintained outside of the formal confines of the written Farman. By exploring these bilateral exchanges, it is possible to better understand how the Company’s business was interwoven with the local and state policies of the Safavid Empire and its successors. Understanding the balance of power and management of the Anglo-Persian relations has an important impact upon the way we understand the agency of non-European states and peoples in their commercial and diplomatic exchanges. This helps us to understand the multi-valent nature of these interactions, rather than relying solely on Eurocentric views.
Pursue of Agreement: The Dutch East India Company
After the brutal overthrow of the Safavid dynasty in 1722, the Dutch East India Company (VOC) faced a serious setback in Iran. In face of incessant war their once-thriving trade in Bandar Abbas fell substantially. After desperate efforts in the rising markets of Basra, Bushire and Kharg Island, the VOC finally withdrew from the Persian Gulf in 1766. Historians think the Dutch failures signified Iran’s imperial and economic crisis, but the underlined overall catastrophe raises the question: how could the VOC nevertheless last so long?
This paper argues that the crucial driving force behind the “longevity” of the VOC was a maintained vitality of local intermediaries, particularly Hindu and Armenian merchants. While endorsing the ailing Company trade as brokers or interpreters, they also served as important fixers between the VOC and rising regional powers. Here I elaborate on that understanding through an investigation of trade agreements the Company made with ruling elites in the Gulf and neighboring countries after the Safavids. By culling evidence from changing socioeconomic conditions that formed them, the paper shows a remarkable mobility of the local intermediaries that helped the VOC to struggle with the political vicissitudes in the post-Safavid period.
Venue: Room 301, Research Institute for Languages and Cultures of Asia and Africa, Tokyo University of Foreign Studies (registered participants may also access the workshop online by Zoom), Open to public/Admission free, Pre-registration is required.
Organizer: Grant-in-Aid for Transformative Research Areas (A), “The Ideas of the Muslim Community and State Systems” (Principal Investigator: KONDO Nobuaki (ILCAA); 20H05827)/ Grant-in-Aid for Transformative Research Areas (A), “Changes in the World of Islamic Thought and Knowledge” (Principal Investigator: Jin Noda (ILCAA); 20H05825); Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (A), “Toward a Global History of Inter-State Relations: A Comparative Study on Governmental Controls on Commercial Exchanges and Traffics in Eurasia, 1400-1900” (Principal Investigator: MATSUKATA Fuyuko (Historiographical Institute, the University of Tokyo); 21H04355)
Contact: MORITA Madoka (mmorita[at]aa.tufs.ac.jp)