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Activity Discussion History Towns, Traders & Craftpersons Reply To: Towns, Traders & Craftpersons

  • Ashwanth

    June 22, 2023 at 2:54 pm
    Not Helpful

    During the Mughal period, Surat in Gujarat was an important place of commerce with West Asia. It was the gateway for trade with West Asia via the Gulf of Ormuz. Surat is also the gateway to Mecca because many pilgrim ships set sail from here. Hence, Surat played a vital role as a port on the Western coast of India. Surat was a cosmopolitan city inhabited by people from all castes and creeds. In the 17th century, The Portuguese, The Dutch, and The English located their warehouses and factories at Surat. Retailers and wholesalers also set up shops in the city to sell cotton textiles. Textiles of Surat were praised for their beautiful gold ace borders(Zari) and they had a market in West Asia, Africa, and Europe. The state provided facilities to people who visited the city from all over the world. The Mahajans had huge banking houses at Surat and the Surat hundis were accepted in faraway places like the markets of Cairo in Egypt, Basra in Iraq, and Antwerp in Belgium. The articles of trade in Surat were manifold. Iron, copper, alum, diamonds, rubies, rock crystals, agate and carnelian were traded. The wheat of Surat, which was considered as best in the world found a prominent place in export. Agricultural products that were exported include peas, lentils and beans. Soap, sugar, wax and opium were other commodities that were exported. There were also exports of cotton and woolen carpets, woodwork and furniture including bedsteads and writing desks exquisitely inlaid with pearl, ivory, gold and silver and ‘all wonderfully cheap’. Surat’s significance declined in the 18th Century CE.

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