Rice Trade in 16th Century Southern India

“It is worth stressing one again in the context of the south-west coast that the channels for the movement of rice, one of the more important on this circuit, were well defined. Thus, while Kanara rice found its way annually to the Persian Gulf and Muscat, not much made its way to Ceylon, except when the Portuguese Estado intervened to direct a fraction of the thither. Again, while we know of extensive trade in rice between Bengal and the Maldives, not much by way of Kanara rice, which had to travel a much shorter distance than that of Bengal, was exported to these islands. One part of the explanation lies in the re-export of Kanara rice from Malabar to the Maldives, but we must also bear in mind, besides the tastes and preferences for specific varieties, the fact that Bengal shippers and traders had a strong motivation to trade in the Maldives, given the importance of the return cargo, cauris.”

- The Political Economy of Commerce: Southern India 1500-1650 by Sanjay Subrahmanyam, pp.57-58, thanks to Google’s Book Search.

Subrahmanyam columns for Outlook India
Sanjay Subrahmanyam on Nandy: secularism, convivencia, millet system


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This page contains a single entry by Paul published on August 16, 2006 9:58 PM.

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