Fort Cochin in Kerala 1750-1830 : the social condition of a Dutch community in an Indian milieu

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Fort Cochin in Kerala 1750-1830 : the social condition of a Dutch community in an Indian milieu

Type: Doctoral Thesis
Title: Fort Cochin in Kerala 1750-1830 : the social condition of a Dutch community in an Indian milieu
Author: Singh, Anjana
Publisher: Kern Institute, Faculty of Arts, Leiden University
Issue Date: 2007-06-20
Keywords: Cochin
Colonial city
European-Asian interaction
Social condition
Abstract: Focussing on individuals and institutions, the economic and social condition of the people of Fort Cochin between 1781 and 1830 has been studied. This study of the Dutch East India Company's (VOC) establishment on the south west coast of India provides a detailed research into the functioning of the company and its personnel there. To begin the company's presence on the coast around the year 1750, after it had been defeated by the raja of Travancore, on whom it was dependant for purchasing pepper, is summarized. It places the VOC's Malabar Command on the larger web of the VOC network in Asia. The VOC strove hard to maintain its pepper monopoly on the coast, but non-VOC trade in pepper contined. Three consecutive commanders between 1751 and 1764 constantly strove to expand the company's territorial possesions on the coast resulting in a metamorphosis in the command's functioning. The components of the Fort Cochinsociety and the relations among the different communities that made up the social world of Fort Cochin receive attention in the book. Starting with the company men and analysing the recruitment pattern of the VOC in Malabar Command, one is faced with rather startling facts. The majority of the VOC personnel in the mercantile sections were locally recruited. European women were a rare sight in Fort Cochin. The European company men married mestizo women and through them became rooted in Cochin. Their sons joined the Dutch company thereby forming 'VOC-family'. While Dutch men were securing their future on the Malabar Coast, the EIC was expanding in India. During the 1780-1784 Anglo-Dutch war, many Dutch settlements were lost to the British. Fort Cochin evaded the fate as the EIC was yet to conquer Mysore, a formidable power in the south. When in 1795, the British forces conquered Fort Cochin, the servants of the Dutch company were forced to decide their future course of action. The social and economic condition of the people of Fort Cochin under the British administration has been analysed and lives of former VOC servants and their families after the transition has been portrayed
Description: Promotor: D.H.A. Kolff, Co-promotor: H.K. s'Jacob
With summary in Dutch
Faculty: Faculteit der Letteren
Citation: Singh, A., 2007, Doctoral thesis, Leiden University

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