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The Indian merchant community of Masqaṭ

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  24 December 2009

Extract

In 1836 the Arabian traveller J. R. Wellsted described the Hindu community of Masqaṭ, 'Umān, as constituting ‘a body of the principal merchants’ of that port. By the 1870s the Indian merchants dominated the commercial life of Masqaṭ and had replaced the Āl Bū Sa'īd rulers of the town as the paramount economic power in 'Umān. While this community has much wider significance than their pivotal role in the commerce of Masqaṭ and 'Umān (the Indian merchants in Masqaṭ were a component of the great Indian Ocean trading network, and as Hindus and Shī'īs in a Sunnī, more properly Khārijī, country they offer potential insights into the status of minority groups in Muslim states) the focus of this study is the more specific problem of their origins, development and social and economic activities in Masqaṭ to the end of the nineteenth century.

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Copyright
Copyright © School of Oriental and African Studies 1981

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