Bengali raw silk, the East India Company and the European global market, 1770-1833
Title: Bengali raw silk, the East India Company and the European global market, 1770-1833
Author: DAVINI, Roberto
Citation: Journal of global history, 2009, 4, 1, 57-79
In 1769, the East India Company decided to transform the Bengali silk industry, and introduced Piedmontese reeling technologies and spatially concentrated working practices into the area. Although Bengali raw silk reeled with the new methods never reached the standards of Piedmontese silks, the Company was able to produce huge quantities of low-quality raw silks, and to gain market share in London from the 1770s to the 1830s. By investigating the reasons behind this partial success, this article shows that some features of Piedmontese technologies had a crucial impact on peasants who specialized in the mulberry cultivation and the rearing of silkworms. The Company had to cope with resistance from some rural economic agents in late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century Bengal, but other elements in local society were able to profit from the Company's interest in producing raw silk. An electronic version of this article can be accessed via the internet at http://journals.cambridge.org
Subject: Economic history; Social history; Globalization; Enterprises; International trade; Silk; Raw materials; Market economy; India; Europe; West Bengal
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