What is the course about?
Did you ever wonder how fragrant spices such as cinnamon, cloves or nutmeg first made their way to Europe? Did you know that at one point in the 1600s the Dutch liked nutmeg so much that they handed over Manhattan Island to the British to ensure total control over nutmeg production on the Spice Islands in the East Indies? Yet more interestingly, did you know that years before the Europeans even knew about the Spice Islands, India was at the centre or a vast maritime trade network? Through the history of the spice trade this course will explore the important position of India in the global trade. This fascinating course will cover themes of India’s intercultural exchanges and overseas trade in the pre-colonial period.
What will we cover?
The course will explore the growth of trade routes connecting India with its geographical neighbours. This may include:
-the Middle East
The course will then address the Portuguese trade network in India, and finally move on to the numerous East India companies, such as the East India Company, the Dutch East India Company (VOC), The French East India Company, The Danish East India Company, the Swedish East India Company and the Scottish Company.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
• Be more knowledgeable about the pre-colonial India’s global trade connections
• Know more about the role traders played in cultural exchanges
• Have a better understanding of the far-reaching influence of Indian spice and commodity trade on processes such as globalisation
• Feel more confident analysing primary sources and drawing your own conclusions.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
This is an introductory course; no previous knowledge required.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
In this interactive lecture-based course, we will examine diaries, letters, ship-logs and old lithographs to reveal captivating people, places and transactions.
The course will be delivered through a mixture of formal tutor input and discussion, with student participation strongly encouraged. You will also be encouraged to engage with primary sources provided by the tutor, such as for example, excerpts from ‘The Private Diary of Ananda Ranga Pillai 1730-80’.
The course will be divided into three sections, each will comprise of an initial lecture and then an interactive part during which you will get the opportunity to ask questions and discuss covered topics and analyse primary sources relevant to each section. The three sections are: India and maritime trade across the Indian Ocean, India and the arrival of the Portuguese, India and the many East India Companies.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
Pen and paper for any voluntary note taking. Although there is no requirement to buy anything, you might wish to buy a book or make a museum visit following a recommendation. These costs are not covered by the course fee.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
Check out our range of History, Economics and Politics courses on our website.