Towns, Traders And Craftspersons

In Thanjavur, capital of the Cholas, Rajaraja Chola built Rajarajeshvara temple. In Thanjavur Temple, there were palaces with mandapas. Barracks were also there for the army. Thanjavur is an example of a temple town.

Eighteenth century subcontinent witnessed emergence of several small towns from large villages. Samantas or zamindars built a fortified palace in and around these towns. Traders travelled through many kingdoms and forests. They also formed guilds to protect their interests. Guilds traded both within the peninsula and with Southeast Asia and China. Hampi, founded in 1336, became center of the Vijayanagara Empire. Surat was Emporium of western trade along with Cambay.

Masulipatnam was a city located on the delta of the Krishna River. Dutch and English East India Companies tried to dominate Masulipatnam. Qutb Shahi rulers of Golconda tried to control trading activities of East India Company. Mughals attempted to extend their power to Golconda. European companies looked for trade centers having political, administrative and commercial roles. Trade activities shifted to Bombay, Calcutta and Madras.

European companies used naval power to gain control of the sea trade. English emerged as most successful commercial and political power in the subcontinent. Craftsmen took advances from European agents. Weavers lost the liberty of selling their own cloth or weaving their own design. They worked on the designs supplied by the European agents.

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