This paper explores relations between Western Indian cities and the supply areas connected to them. It begins with a discussion of the term “hinterland,” frequently used to describe these relations. As we shall see, the term greatly simplifies a complex set of relationships between cities, smaller towns, and rural villages. We will consider three case studies of money advanced against future assets. The first concerns the relation of thirteenth-century Jewish traders to their indigenous spice suppliers on the Malabar Coast; the second, the relation of eighteenth-century East India Company traders to cloth producers; and the third, the relation of Pune investors to taxation areas against which they loaned money to the Maratha government. In a time of slow communications and transportation the central problem was “trust at a distance”; the operative relationships were as much emotional and moral as economic. Finally, I will suggest a new way to conceptualize cities and their hinterlands.
Asian Review of World Histories – Brill
Published: Jul 19, 2018