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From merchant capitalists to Corsairs: the response of the Muslim merchants of Malabar to the Portuguese commercial expansion (1498-1600).

The Muslim merchants of Malabar formed an important commercial group operating within the orbit of a "world system" that encompassed the Indian Ocean and the Mediterranean. Their spheres of activity, though geographically originating in Malabar, tied into the pan-Islamic commercial network extending to the ports of Red Sea and the Mediterranean. The entry of the Portuguese into the Indian Ocean and their commercial expansion in the East initiated an attempt to incorporate this region into a new "world system" that was slowly appearing in an embryonic form in the Atlantic. This move eventually led in the Indian Ocean to a clash between the two "world systems", old and new, the effect of which was reflected in differing degrees in the economy, society, religion and politics of Malabar.

This theme has generated much academic interest and scholars such as Fernand Braudel, Niels Steensgaard, Genevieve Bouchon, Vitorino Magalhaes Godinho, M. N. Pearson, Ashin Das Gupta, Sanjay Subrahmanyam, have already explored the nature of the responses by Asian traders operating in the old "world system" to the Portuguese commercial expansion and to futile Lusitanian attempts to establish a trade monopoly. (1) The present study, however, seeks to address the fact that each spatial unit and each mercantile community reacted differently to the various challenges posed by the Portuguese, as well as the fact that these responses were characterized by temporal variations. The Muslim merchants of Malabar, who on the basis of Portuguese descriptions might fit into a wide variety of social groups such as merchant capitalists, peddling traders, corsairs, etc. (2) offer a challenging opportunity for an empirical study clearly highlighting such regional and temporal variations.

The central purpose of this study is to see how the different groups of Malabar's Muslim merchants--who were the active feeders from Malabar for the old World System--responded to the commercial expansion of the Portuguese, and also to unravel the nature of the transformation they underwent during this period, following the clash between old "world system" and the newly emerging one. This point is made clear by focusing on two aspects: first, the Muslim merchant groups that collaborated with the Portuguese and second, those who opposed the commercial designs of the Portuguese and developed alternative commercial arrangements to bypass Portuguese control systems for conducting trade with the ports of the Red Sea and the Mediterranean. The attempts of the latter group to transfer their mercantile capital into state-building ventures with a view to containing Portuguese commercial operations gave an altogether new dimension to the very clash. Needless to add, this study is based chiefly on contemporary Portuguese sources.

The Muslim Merchants of the Indian Ocean: A Historical Setting

When the Portuguese reached the Indian Ocean, Muslim traders enjoyed a rather monopolistic hold over India's maritime trade. Yet the Muslim merchants engaged in maritime trade within the Indian Ocean region were not a monolithic group--they were split into three main strands, cohesively held together by a commonality of religion and a shared Shaft'ite tradition linked with Arab origin. (3) The first of these were the paradesi (foreign) Muslims, of whom a good many were al-Karimi merchants engaged in the spice-trade with Mamluk Egypt. (4) They controlled the long-distance-movement of the commodities destined for the Red-Sea--Mediterranean world. The paradesi Muslims possessed wider networks and substantial capital for their ventures, which enabled them to operate almost as merchant capitalists. Two of these merchants trading in Cochin alone deployed as many as fifty ships in their commercial operations. (5) No other merchant group in southern India was reputed to dispose of so much capital as the paradesi Muslims. (6)

While transoceanic trade was increasingly appropriated by the paradesi Muslims, the Marakkar (7) Muslim merchants of Kayalpatnam, Kilakarai and Kunimedu controlled the coastal trade between Coromandel and Malabar. The Marakkar Muslims were in fact natives of the coastal region between Kunimedu and Nagapattinam on the Coromandel coast. (8) They had established themselves along the coast of Malabar on the eve of the Portuguese arrival, and they used to carry textiles, as well as rice and other provisions, to the food-deficient zones of Kerala. (9) The wide family networks and partnerships deeply rooted in the rice-belt of the Kavery region enabled the Marakkars to make regular supply of foods tuffs to their customers in Malabar in exchange for spices. (10) As the paradesi from Red Sea ports and the Marakkar from Coromandel appropriated the dominant share of commerce, the local Mapilla Muslims of Malabar, (11) who seem to have engaged more in peddling trade, were relegated to the lowest commercial strata. These native Mapillas (12) increasingly looked for commercial partners who would enable them one day to compete with the merchants of Mecca, in order to attain upward mobility on the social and economic ladder. (13) It is against this background that we should interpret the support extended by Koya Pakki (a Mapilla Muslim) to the Portuguese, who appeared to represent potential partners in the Mapillas' dream of carving out a commercial niche to their advantage. (14)

The practice of temporary marriages (carried out through the institution of mufia) (15) between traders of Arab origin and local women was chiefly responsible for the changing demographic profile of the Mapilla Muslims on the Malabar coast. The Mapillas of Malabar, the Marakkars of Coromandel, the Muslims of Sri Lanka and Indonesia, all followers of the Sunni tradition, played a vital role in the emergence of an Islamic commercial world in south Asia, linked with Arabia and the Red Sea--the doorway to the Mediterranean. The Zamorin of Calicut, who pursued his commercial and political expansionist aims with the help of money and personnel offered by Muslim merchants, patronized Muslim mercantile interests in Malabar, even to the extent of encouraging a male member from each family to be brought up according to the tenets of Islam. (16) As a result, the pan-Islamic commercial venture had developed strong bases in the ports of Malabar, where the Zamorin succeeded in establishing his hegemony. The merchant guilds of the Jews and the St. Thomas Christians, which had earlier operated in the commercial zones of southern India, lost their prominence and began to give way before the expansion of Muslim commerce. (17)

Having established bases in the northern part of Malabar, Muslim traders moved southward along with the political expansion of the Zamorin's power, in an attempt to control the commerce of central and southern Kerala. When the Zamorin attacked the port of Cochin with the help of Arab merchants towards the end of the fifteenth century, the Nazaranis (St.Thomas Christians) who had been trading there earlier were denied the right to conduct trade in Cochin, and the commercial privileges they had enjoyed were transferred to the Muslims. (18) At the time of the Portuguese arrival, Quilon was the only port in Kerala where Muslim presence was relatively less significant and where St. Thomas Christian traders still retained some commercial predominance. This state of affairs lasted, however, only until the end of the second decade of the sixteenth century, when Muslim attacks threatened the commerce of Quilon. (19) The discovery of the Cape route and the arrival of the Portuguese in India coincided with an apogee of Islamic commerce in the southern Indian maritime zone. However, Malabar's wheels of commerce moved in two opposite directions: the Red Sea-oriented trade of the paradesi Muslims and the Coromandel-oriented commerce of the Marakkar Muslims. In between, the Mapilla Muslims, dwarfed by their competitors, looked for an opportunity to create an economic identity of their own.

The Portuguese and the Muslim Collaborators

The Portuguese response to the predominant presence of Muslim merchants in south Indian ports was a mixed one. On the one hand, they found that the paradesi Muslims linked with Arabia and Red Seaports were their chief commercial enemy, instigating the Zamorin against the Christian newcomers. The atmosphere of rivalry was set by the machinations of Arab traders at the Zamorin's court against Vasco da Gama when he visited Calicut for the first time in 1498. (20) On the other hand, the Lusitanians found that their Lisbon-oriented long distance trade could be carried out successfully only with the help of the Marakkar and the Mapilla merchants, whose co-operation was indispensable to purchase spices. Moreover, in the first two decades of the sixteenth century the Marakkars were the principal suppliers of foodstuffs to the Portuguese factories and colonies, established on the coast and cut off from production centers. (21) As a result, until the second decade of the sixteenth century the "crusading spirit" of the Portuguese was directed only against the paradesi Muslims, who formed the backbone of Red Sea-Venice trade, whereas the Mapilla and the Marakkar Muslims were assimilated into the Portuguese commercial system as collaborators and partners.

While keeping the paradesi Muslims out, the Portuguese made attempts to ensure the commercial collaboration of the Marakkar and the Mapilla Muslim traders since 1502, when Vasco da Gama contacted the leading merchants of Cochin and Cannanore in order to fix spice prices. (22) From 1503 onward, we find the Marakkar merchants actively cooperating with the Portuguese in procuring cargo for the carreira vessels. The initiative came from the great merchant Charine Mecar (differently written as Cherina or Karine, standing for Karim Marakkar), who approached Francisco de Albuquerque on 7 October 1503, offering to supply pepper to the Portuguese vessels without the Zamorin's knowledge. (23) When Francisco de Albuquerque and Afonso de Albuquerque left Malabar, the Zamorin tried to use the war tactic of creating an artificial famine in Cochin by blocking rice supply to the city. However, Duarte Pacheco overcame this hurdle by establishing a friendship with Marne (Muhammad) Marakkar, the head of the Marakkar merchants in Cochin, who in turn saw to it that regular supply of provisions was made available in the city. (24)

At a time when the Portuguese did not have a strong mercantile base in India, the Marakkar merchants helped them to procure spices from various parts of Malabar for their Lisbon-bound vessels. In 1504, Cherina Marakkar and Mamale Marakkar supplied 3,000 bhares of pepper for the sum of 6,000 cruzados to the fleet of Lopo Soares. (25) The Marakkars also helped the Portuguse in other ways in the early days of their presence in India: Nino Marakkar not only supplied cinnamon from Ceylon to the Portuguese in Cochin, (26) but even provided ships and a fighting force consisting of 1, 500 soldiers to confront the Zamorin's forces; (27) Chilay Marakkar gave the Portuguese his own ship to take commodities to Goa. (28) Meanwhile, the commercially dwarfed Mapilla Muslims, hitherto content with their role as peddling traders, also began to emerge as suppliers of spices to the Portuguese. Ali Apule, Coje Mapilla, and Abraham Mapilla used to supply regularly the Portuguese in Cochin with pepper from the production centers of Edappilly. (29) This timely help was promptly reciprocated by the Lusitanians. The Muslim merchants of Cochin and Cannanore, who co-operated with the Portuguese commercial system, were given considerable freedom to send vessels and commodities to Red Sea ports, provided that they took cartazes or safe-conducts from the Portuguese. (30)

The Portuguese commercial collaboration with the Marakkar and the Mapilla Muslims eventually led to the practice of forging matrimonial ties between the Lusitanians and local families. As Antonio Real wrote from Cochin in 1512, many Portuguese preferred native Muslim women as their partners. (31) Such Muslim links through marriage later helped some Portuguese citizens to develop a network of private trade and to penetrate into the ports of the Bay of Bengal and South-East Asia with the help of Muslim relatives and partners. (32)

The Exodus of the Paradesi and the Pre-eminence of the Marakkar Merchants

The peace treaty that Afonso de Albuquerque signed in 1513 with the new Zamorin, who ascended the throne after poisoning his uncle and predecessor, made the majority of the paradesi Muslims including the al-Karimis flee from Calicut to other safer ports in the Indian Ocean region--to Gujarat, Vijayanagara, Hormuz, and all the way to the Red Sea. (33) The treaty seemed more detrimental to their existence than the several battles they had fought earlier against the Portuguese, along with the Zamorin, with a view to protecting their commercial links with Cairo and Venice. The mercantile group that took maximum advantage of the paradesi Muslims' flight was the Marakkar merchants, who enjoyed greater freedom and a privileged position in the Portuguese commercial sphere until the death of Afonso de Albuquerque. In 1513 Albuquerque even made an attempt to bestow certain special privileges on them, in recognition of their commercial co-operation. (34) The favourable atmosphere that prevailed during the Albuquerquian period enabled the Marakkar traders to establish themselves as the principal mercantile community in South India, and the exodus of the paradesi Muslims from Calicut accelerated this transformation process.

The period immediately following the death of Afonso de Albuquerque (1515) witnessed, however, the reversal of many of his policies related to administration and commerce. The nomination of Lopo Soares de Albergaria as the new governor in 1515 constituted a victory for the Portuguese private enterpreneurs of Cochin (the "Cochin group"), who demanded less state intervention and more free trade. The new governor eventually demarcated for the casado entrepreneurs a space east of Cape Comorin, which was relatively free of state interference. (35) It seems that in the commercial expansion of the casado traders in the Bay of Bengal and SouthEast Asia, the Marakkar merchants, thus far in control of the east-west coastal trade, played a very significant role. Matrimonial ties and commercial partnerships between the two groups enabled the Portuguese private traders to penetrate into the ports of the Indian Ocean's eastern zones, where Islamised traders increasingly held sway. Some of the Portuguese casados started sending spices even to the Red Sea ports with the help of their Marakkar allies. In 1521, governor Diogo Lopes and another Portuguese private trader joined hands with Kuti Ali, a Marakkar merchant, to send pepper to Red Sea, even though the attempt did not come to a successful conclusion and the cargo was later confiscated by the governor himself. (36)

The commercial vacuum already created by the exodus of the paradesi Muslims was best utilized by the Marakkar merchants to penetrate deeper into the fabric of Malabar society. As early as 1507, with the accession of a new ruler in the kingdom of Kolathunad (who favoured the Muslims), Mamale Marakkar--the leader of the Muslim merchants in Cannanore--had emerged as a decisive political and commercial player in Cannanore and the Maldives. (37) With a supportive ruler on the throne, Mamale began to look into the prospects of protecting the commercial interests of native Muslims, under threat following the entry of the Portuguese into the Kolathunad market. He and his men increasingly tried to explore new commercial avenues for their operations based in the Maldives, and this greatly strained their relationship with the Portuguese by the 1520s. (38)

The beginning of the third decade of the sixteenth century thus witnessed conflicts of interest between the Portuguese and the Marakkar mercantile clan. The frictions coincided with the expansion of private trade in the eastern reaches of the Indian Ocean by the Portuguese casados, an enterprise that flourished with the tacit approval of Portuguese officials. The Portuguese-Marakkar rift clearly originated as a reaction of the old "world system" to the eventual penetration by the new "world system".

The Emergence of Kunjali Marakkar and Corsair Activities as an Alternative Way of Trade

By the 1520s, with the entry of the Portuguese casados into intra-Asian trade, Portuguese attitudes towards the Muslim merchants changed. (39) ThzEstado officials began to use more frequently the system of cartazes (safe-conducts), which authorized them to check and confiscate any vessel, as a convenient tool to undermine the commercial strength of the traditional Muslim traders. Among these, the worst affected were the Marakkars. The frequent checking and confiscation of merchandise and vessels under the cover of the cartaz system prevented many of them from mobilizing capital for further commercial ventures. Leveraging this situation, the casados were able to create opportunities for expanding their trade in the Indian Ocean region. Even though the cartazes had been introduced from 1502 onward, it was only after the death of Afonso de Albuquerque, as key offices were filled by those who supported the Portuguese casados' private trade, that the Marakkar traders became constant victims of raids and torture, carried under the pretext of enforcing the safe-conducts. (40) This fact is very much suggestive of an involvement of the Portuguese "private-trade-lobby" in the process. Many Marakkar merchants fell prey to the torture-tactics, which the contemporary Arab writer Sbaykh Zaynuddin refers to as Portuguese high-handedness. (41) The natural reaction eventually was for some of the leading Marakkar merchants of Cochin to turn corsair. Kuti Ali, for instance, took this path when the Portuguese governor Diogo Lopes de Sequeira (1518-21), who had previously joined hands with him to send pepper to the Red Sea ports, confiscated the cargo as contraband and appropriated the vessel. (42)

The most significant among these developments was the emergence of Kunjali Marakkar from the Marakkar clan of Cochin--estranged from the Portuguese--who shifted his residence and loyalty from Cochin to Calicut and became the Admiral of the Zamorin's navy. The frequent confiscation of their vessels and cargo by the Portuguese prompted the leading merchants, including Kunjali Marakkar, his brother Ahmad Marakkar, their uncle Muhammadali Marakkar, and their dependents to leave Cochin by 1524. They settled down in Calicut, from where they decided to organize guerilla warfare and corsair activities against the Portuguese. (43) Not much later, after two of his ships sent to Cambay were captured by the Portuguese, Pate Marakkar, who had been a great friend and collaborator of the Portuguese in the early days of their establishment, also turned to corsairing and joined his nephew Kunjali Marakkar in Calicut. (44)

By this time the Zamorin's relationship with the Portuguese had already become strained and he was eagerly looking for merchants and naval personalities to fill the gap created by the 1513 exodus of Arab Muslims. He found what he looked for in the Marakkar merchants from Cochin, who brought capital to improve commerce, as well as to undertake naval expeditions against the Portuguese. Under the peace treaty of 1513-25, the commerce of Calicut suffered very much not only because of the mass exodus of the paradesi merchant magnates, but also because of an under-pricing of commodities. With the peacetime extension of the fixed-price system to the spice market of Calicut, the prices of pepper and ginger in Calicut were reduced to almost half the 1500 level. Though the price-fixing was implemented to bring Calicut near to the level of Cochin prices, it ultimately led to under-pricing, which adversely affected the commerce of the Zamorin's port. (45) At this juncture, at a time when the Portuguese casado traders were fast penetrating into the principal Asian maritime trade centers, the Marakkar clan under the leadership of Kunjali undertook the task of restructuring the commerce of Calicut. It seems that in the process even the native Mapilla Muslims accepted their naval and commercial hegemony, in spite of the Marakkars' Coromandel origin, probably because of the commonality of religion.

With the estrangement of the Marakkar Muslim traders and the shifting of their loyalty to the Zamorin as a result of Portuguese coercion and violence, the casados stepped into the commercial vacuum, emerging as the leading traders of the Indian Ocean region. The second-rate Muslim merchants who continued to co-operate with the Portuguese were reduced to the role of peddlers or petty shopkeepers, but the Marakkars who moved to Calicut began to develop corsairing as an alternative way of trade. (46)

In the initial phase, Kunjali's men focussed more on the Ceylon-Coromandel-Malabar trade, a traditional Marakkar monopoly. Even after settling in Calicut, the Marakkar merchants jealously guarded the Gulf of Manar and the coast of Coromandel as their commercial preserve, just as the Muslim merchants of Cannanore monopolistically held the Maldives. These bases in fact enabled both groups to join hands to evade the Portuguese control systems and to divert commodities to the traditional Red Sea-Venice route. The increasing Portuguese presence in this area, however, prompted Kunjali's crews to begin targeting the Portuguese mercantile settlements of Nagapattinam, Sao Tome, and Pulicat. (47) In 1527, Pate Marakkar captured near Pulicat a Portuguese ship coming from Malacca. (48) Furthermore, the continued involvement of Kunjali's followers in the pearl trade of the Fishery Coast and in the cinnamon trade of Kotte also invited direct confrontation with the Portuguese, who had already started trading there.

In the struggle for control of the coasts of Coromandel and Ceylon, even some of the Portuguese casados who moved over to Coromandel from Cochin along with the Muslim merchants came to join hands with Kunjali. These casados, living almost five or six leagues away from Cochin, in places like Culimute, made armaments for Kunjali's followers and traded with them in contraband commodities. They also built ships for the Muslim corsairs, helping them to enlarge their fleet. (49) Jointly, the casados and the corsairs even attacked the Estado's fleet, in an act prompted by common economic interests. Diogo Fernandes, writing to king John III in 1537, explained the casado association with the corsairs by stressing the Muslim origin of the casados' wives. The Portuguese who were married to native Muslim women were giving, in his view, protection and support to the corsairs. (50)

In the military confrontation between the Portuguese and the Marakkars linked with Calicut (1537-1539), the Muslim merchants were divided into two camps: one group stood with the Kunjali while the other supported the Portuguese. However, the beheading of the first Kunjali and Pate Marakkar in 1539 in Ceylon (51) shattered the Marakkar dream to keep the ports of Coromandel and Ceylon as bases of operation for their Red Sea-oriented trade. Nevertheless, the Muslim merchants of Cannanore had by this time developed a parallel commercial network outside Lusitanian control by keeping the Maldives as a base for diverting merchandise to the Levant. South-East Asian commodities began to move to the Red Sea through the straits of Karaidu and Haddumati, via the Maldives, bypassing all the control mechanisms of the Portuguese. (52) By exercising control over this route, Mamale and later other regedors including Ali Raja were able to generate wealth for their state-formation ventures in Cannanore.

By 1540s, the Muslim merchants of Kerala were involved in two trade circuits: on the one hand there were the channels of old "world system"--the Cannanore/(Calicut)-Maldives-Red Sea route linked with Venice. As the flow of commodities through these channels increased, trade correspondingly intensified in the Mediterranean after 1540. (53) On the other hand, there was the channel of the new "world system"---the Goa/Cochin-Lisbon route of the Portuguese, in which certain Muslim merchants continued to participate as suppliers of cargo. (54) Some of them also entered into contract with the Portuguese to supply annually about 150 bhares of coir from the Maldives. As per this contract, made in February 1560, Chaudela Marakkar, Ade Ramao, Ali Poera and Coje Ahmed, all belonging to both the Marakkar and the Mapilla segments of the Cochin and Palliport Muslim community, took up the responsibility of supplying the stipulated quantity of coir in Cochin. (55) From there, the Portuguese carried it to Lisbon to be used in shipbuilding. A leading Muslim merchant involved in the Lisbon-oriented Portuguese trade was Khwaja Shams-ud-din Giloni, a native of Persia conducting business in Cannanore. The Portuguese supported his business endeavours in Cannanore and even relaxed laws in order for him to buy land in Cochin in 1547 to extend his trading networks. Shams-ud-din Giloni, however, habitually plied trade through both channels: while keeping the Portuguese in good humour, he used to send frequently commodities to Mecca, to his brother's commercial establishments. (56)

Meanwhile, by the 1540s the Kunjali's men, who had been ousted from the Coromandel ports, increasingly began to veer toward corsair activities involving two types of operation: a) to patrol the west coast of India with the tacit or explicit consent of the Zamorin, blockading and plundering Portuguese vessels; b) to integrate the native trade networks in order to channel spices regularly to the Red Sea-Venice route. The agents of the old "world system" thus partially circumvented the operations of the new "world system"--the first tactic yielded wealth to support continued resistance and facilitated the second tactic, the movement of vessels bound for Red Sea ports. Most anti-Portuguese factors seem to have co-operated with the corsair endeavours, which appeared to promise both political and economic outlets for exercising freedom. The corsair activity developed by Kunjali's men turned out to be an alternative arrangement of trade, where plundering and confiscation of enemy vessels went hand in hand with parallel shipment of commodities to preferred destinations. (57)

The Muslim Merchants' State Formation Ventures

Drawing on half a century of experience, the Muslim merchants of Cannanore and Calicut, who still clung to the old "world system", realized that the Portuguese trade expansion could be contained only by setting up a substantial state power of their own. As a result, the Muslim merchant magnates made attempts to institute statehood in the territories under their influence and commercial sway. The initial steps in this direction were taken by the Muslims of Kolathunad, where the Hindu ruler Kolathiri had already granted a great measure of administrative rights and political power to the Muslim regedor, Mamale, and to his successors Poca Amame and Pocaralle. (58) By keeping the Maldives as an integral part of Cannanore's economic operations, the regedors were easily able to generate wealth from the Cannanore-Maldives-Red Sea trade in order to put in place over time a state infrastructure and appropriate apparatus. (59) The evolution of the Muslim regedor from a merchant to a head of a state was completed by 1545, when Ali Raja (following the assassination of his uncle Pocaralle by Belchior de Sousa) came to power and thus laid the foundation of the Muslim dynasty of Ali Rajas of Cannanore. (60) In the process of state formation and expansion of associated instmments of power by Ali Raja, his mentor Kolathiri was reduced to the status of a puppet and finally transferred his residence to Kasargod, in the northern part of his country. (61)

The evolving Muslim state of Cannanore depended economically very much on the mercantile networks that increasingly used the Maldives to divert contraband commodities to the Red Sea-Venice route. The Portuguese, who apprehended the danger, reacted by building a fortress in the Maldives and by intervening in the domestic affairs of the archipelago. In the ensuing troubles of 1552, the king of the Maldives fled to Cochin and embraced Christianity, taking the name of D. Manuel. As Ali Raja was easily able to bring back the islands under his control and keep his nominee on the throne, king D. Manuel, his sons (D. Joao and D. Paulo), and grandson (D. Filipe) were forced to live in exile in Cochin. In 1567, the Portuguese accepted Cannanore's nominee as the Maldives' official ruler, thus allowing the islands to become a political and economic appendage of the Muslim state of Cannanore. (62)

Meanwhile, with the acquisition of state power, the Ali Raja of Cannanore entered into alliance with the Kunjalis of Calicut to fight the Portuguese, (63) and probably also to organize joint commercial ventures. In 1564, as the Portuguese attempted to confront Ali Raja and the Muslim forces attacking the Portuguese fort of Cannanore, the Kunjalis took the conflict to places where they possessed local ties. In the Bay of Bhatkal, Kunjali and his men came upon the Portuguese force proceeding to Cannanore, and delayed timely military assistance to the Portuguese facing the Ali Raja. (64)

Kunjali was very much taken up by the way the Muslim merchant leader of Cannanore had created a state structure under his leadership, and sought to emulate the process. He realized that the expanding networks of Portuguese commerce could be checked only by accumulating and institutionalizing power within the framework of a state. Eventually the wealth accrued from corsair activities began to concentrate in Pudupattanam, where Kunjali had already established a fortress of his own. (65) Apprehensive of these developments, in 1583 the Portuguese solicited the help of the ruler of Chaliyam, seeking from him a site where to build a fortress that could easily control developments in Pudupattanam and keep close check on the movements of Kunjali's men. (66)

Kunjali, however, had less landed territory at his disposal than Ali Raja did when he built up a Muslim state in Carmanore, with the Maldives as the principal feeding center and trading posts along the Indian Ocean rim as satellite economic units. Though Pudupattanam was jealously guarded as the basis of Kunjali's evolving state, the outer boundaries of his power stretched rather along the coastal waters of western India, making the entity more of a maritime state. Kunjali extended the diverse machineries of his evolving state (i.e. administration of justice, law and order, and regular patrolling of territory with a well equipped fleet) to the shorelands over which he claimed authority. (67) As a German document sent from India in 1588 attests, (68) the entire western coast right from Diu up to Cape Comorin was under the control of the Malabar corsairs, a description suggestive of the effective boundaries of their power. With the expansion of Kunjali's sphere of influence, the Portuguese fleet patrolling Malabar was now given the double responsibility of curbing the corsair activities spearheaded by the Malabar Muslims and of obstructing their links with the Red Sea ports. (69) As an additional security measure the Portuguese merchant ships were also obliged to sail in convoy or cafilas (caravans). (70)

In imitation of the title regedor do mar (Regent of the Sea), which the leader of the Cannanore Muslims used to bear during the phase of transformation from a mercantile stature to a kingly one, the Kunjali also began to assume the titles of "Lord of the Arabian Seas,", "Prince of Navigation," and "King of the Malabar Moors." (71) This development naturally invited the suspicion of the Zamorin who, connecting the titles with Kunjali's incipient state-building ventures, feared a repetition of the Cannanore situation in Calicut, where the emerging Muslim leader might dwarf the actual ruler. Now the mentor himself turned against Kunjali. Though the Muslim maritime state that Kunjali wanted to institute in Pudupattanam was mainly aimed at containing the commercial operations of the Portuguese, as a double-edged sword the endeavour really did hit at the sovereignty of the Zamorin as well. The latter thus joined hands with the Portuguese to attack Kunjali's fort in Pudupattanam and to capture him. (72)

At this juncture, Kunjali's state-building received the support of the king of Cochin, who promised to help fight the Zamorin and the Portuguese. (73) This intervention was probably designed to show his displeasure with the peace treaty recently concluded between the Zamorin and the Portuguese, and to keep the Muslim mercantile community in his camp. This had its results. Muslim merchants belonging to both the Marakkar and Mapilla groups joined hands with the king of Cochin to send about 4,000 quintals of pepper and timber to the Red Sea, under the cover of cartazes. (74) The merchants also began to collect pepper from the hinterland and hide it so that is could be loaded on the king of Cochin's ships, and this eventually led to an increase in prices and created a shortage of the commodity for the Portuguese. (75) With the tightening siege of Kunjali's fort, various Muslim groups in Malabar joined a pan-Islamic resistance to the Portuguese. Even the Ravuthar Muslims of Kanjirappally, who originally came from Madurai and settled down in the interior market places of central Kerala, staged a protest, but under a different pretext. The journey of D. Alexis Menezes, the Archbishop of Goa, to the settlements of the St.Thomas Christians in the spice-producing centers to correct their so-called "heresies", and his efforts to found a church in such a remote interior market center as Periate (Vandiperiyar) was viewed by them as the prelude to a Portuguese penetration into the Kerala hinterland. The Ravuthars thus instigated the Thekkenkur king to destroy the building, which they portrayed as "a fortress equipped with artillery", (76) and to obstruct the moves of the Portuguese and their allies in Malabar.

Kunjali's venture enjoyed the support of Malabar's entire Muslim community, whose members "recognized him almost like their king." In attendance at Pudupattanam were "the ambassadors of the most powerful Muslim kings of India, and even of the great Moghul, and of Mecca, all of them viewing him as the defender of the law of Mohammed." (77) This sent further messages of caution and alarm to the Zamorin who, joining hands with the Portuguese, tried to destroy Kunjali's power structures. Finally, as a result of the joint operation of the Zamorin's forces and the Portuguese, Kunjali was captured and later beheaded in Goa in 1600. (78) With this, the dream of Kunjali and his men to establish a Muslim state in Pudupattanam died.

Of the two state formation ventures mounted by the Muslims of Cannanore and Pudupattanam, both of which aimed at countering the inroads of the new "world system" into the Indian Ocean, only the former was more successful, while the latter failed drastically. In both cases, an infusion of mercantile capital took place to empower the emergent Muslim states. In Cannanore, the political atmosphere was rather favourable, and with the accession of a pro-Muslim Kolathiri in 1507, the Muslim merchants wielded more power, easily succeeding to leverage it into the framework of a new state. The expansion of the Muslim state of Cannanore was realized at the expense of later Kolathiris, whose power was eventually undermined and who were in due course of time relegated to the northern limits of Kasargod. The Kunjali state-formation endeavour in Pudupattanam, however, presents a different scenario. The Zamorin was not as weak as Kolathiri. Though he knew very well that the consolidation of Kunjali's base in Pudupattanam represented a means to better attack Portuguese vessels, he also realized that Pudupattanam was an alternative locus of power that might turn out to be a threat to his suzerainty. With an apprehensive and assertive Zamorin as his immediate political superior, Kunjali could not wield power to the same extent as he moved mercantile capital to institute the various machineries of the new state. As a result, unlike the Muslim leader of Cannanore, Kunjali had to fight both the indigenous forces of the Zamorin and the European forces of the Portuguese to establish his state and his political identity. This constitutes an evident case of fragmentation among the agents of old "world system", brought about by varying and mutually contradictory responses to the challenges of new "world system". With Kunjali dead, the Pudupattanam project was shattered and with it a major commercial strand of the old "world system" was cut off.

The Vicissitudes of Muslim Trade

Kunjali Marakkar's execution did not put an end, however, either to the corsairs' activities, or to their involvement in the native trade networks seeking to divert commodities to the Red Sea-Venice route. On the contrary, the process took on a new dimension with the establishment of the English and Dutch settlements along the coasts of India. In 1615, a Malabar Muslim Mapilla merchant named Mousa Attale entered into an agreement with the English to mount joint commercial operations ("to conduct mutuall trade and traffique with one another"). (79) The friendship between the corsairs of Malabar and the English must have been part of a tactic seeking to forge a commercial partnership between forces opposing the Portuguese trade system. The arrangement helped the Malabar Muslims to ship goods to the Red Sea ports and other destinations even when the English and the Dutch blockaded Portuguese sea routes. Thus we find for example in 1621 vessels from India, including one from Cochin--probably all operating as part of this network--anchoring at Mocha. (80)

The joint operation of the Zamorin and the Portuguese against Kunjali and his men reduced temporarily the severity of corsair attacks and also thinned the ranks of Muslims competing with the casados for trade. The latter had by this time emerged as a "bourgeoisie", thanks to the wealth amassed from their earlier commerce with ports in the Bay of Bengal and in South-East Asia. Some of the casados even began to lend substantial amounts of money to the bankrupt Portuguese Estado, while others began later on to send navetas regularly to Portugal. (81) Eventually, given the accumulation of substantial capital in the hands of the Portuguese casado traders, Muslim corsairs began to target at them as well, and the frequency of attacks increased when the two systems of shipping lanes, casado and Muslim, encroached on each other. The corsairs sold the goods robbed from the Portuguese in the market of Calicut, as observed by Pietro Della Valle in 1624. (82) With the increasing penetration by European powers into Indian Ocean waters, corsair numbers and their operations further increased. Mentioning the Muslim corsairs who operated under the patronage of the Zamorin, Jean Baptiste Tavernier reports that they habitually sailed in squadrons of 10 to 15 vessels (sometimes 25 to 30 vessels, as during the attack on the English captain Clerc), with 200 to 250 men on board each. (83) By the middle of the seventeenth century, corsairing would evolve into an anti-European maritime campaign, in which all Europeans, including the Portuguese, the Dutch, and the English, became a target of frequent attacks.

While the Muslim merchants of Calicut continued to operate as corsairs for want of a legally secured commercial ambit, given the economic subjection to which they were confined for more than a century, the merchants of Cannanore continued to trade with the wider world through their base in the Maldives. Though the Muslim merchants of Cannanore and the casado traders of Cochin visited the archipelago in competition with each other, the Portuguese accepted the Maldives as a dominion of the Ali Raja by 1627, probably with a view to ensuring a supply of Maldive cowries and coir for Lusitanian commerce (84)


The relations between Muslim traders and the Portuguese unquestionably evolved in several different strands. While the commercially powerful paradesi Muslims were predominantly hostile to the Portuguese, the Marakkar and Mapilla merchants initially became their collaborators. Eventually, the exodus of the paradesi from Calicut enabled the Marakkars to control the better part of Malabar's indigenous trade, although later on Marakkar activities diversified into corsairing-cum-trade under Kunjali and partnership trade under the Portuguese. The process did not result in a long-term accumulation of mercantile capital in Malabar, in contrast with Europe. The main reason was that the paradesi merchant magnates with substantial capital kept away from the opportunities thrown open by the discovery of the Cape route, and clung on to the traditional links with Red Sea ports. Not waiting to take advantage of the emerging global commercial revolution, they left Malabar for other promising trade centers in the Indian Ocean region, from where they continued to trade with the old caravan routes.

The incipient clash between the old "world system" and the new one elicited changes in the Malabar Muslim merchants' response to the Portuguese commercial expansion. Kunjali and his men in Calicut did amass a considerable.amount of wealth from corsairing-cum-trade activities, as well as from partnership trade with the Portuguese. So did Mamale (as well as his successors) and his men in Cannanore. However a major portion of this wealth, which might have been further invested in commerce and productive ventures, became frozen when diverted into state-building ventures--those of Kunjali in Pudupattanam and Ali Raja in Cannanore. In both places large sums were spent on setting up the diverse machineries of state and on meeting the expenses of recurrent warfare, including the purchase of weapons.

The Muslim ruler of Cannanore easily compensated for these burdens by leveraging state power to achieve an expansion of trade. The Marakkar clan and Kunjali's men, however, would pay a heavy price for having used mercantile capital for state building instead of investing it in productive commercial enterprise. With the destruction of Pudupattanam by the Luso-Zamorin force, a surplus accumulated for nearly a century and locked in various state structures was lost. The formation of a Muslim state in Pudupattanam represented Kunjali's attempt to check and control the advance of the new "world system", but its potential threat to Calicut's suzerainty created a rift between two prominent and hitherto closely associated agents of the old "world system"--the Zamorin and Kunjali. This rift and its consequences set the stage by 1600 for the full-fledged operation of the new "world system". The tragic aspect of this process was that a great many Muslims merchants became economically disempowered by the beginning of the seventeenth century, (85) and remained incapable of undertaking any large-scale commercial activity requiring substantial capital.

Pius Malekandathil

Sree Sankaracharya University of Sanskrit

(1) Fernand Braudel, Civilization and Capitalism 15th-18th Century, vol. 2, The Wheels of Commerce (London: Collins, 1982), 218-21; Niels Steensgaard, "Asian Trade and the World Economy from the 15th to the 18th Centuries," in Teotonio R. de Souza, ed., Indo-Portuguese History': Old Issues, New Questions (New Delhi: Concept, 1990), 213-26; Niels Steensgaard, Carracks, Caravans and Companies. The Structural Crisis in the European-Asian Trade in the Early Seventeenth Century (Lund: Studentlitteratur, 1973), 80-95; Genevieve Bouchon, Regent of the Sea: Cannamore's Response to Portuguese Expansion, J507-1538, trans. Louise Shackley (Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1988); Vitorino Magalhaes Godinho, Os Descobrimentos e a economia mundial, 4 vols. (Lisboa: Editorial Presenca, 1981-84); M. N. Pearson, Merchants and Rulers in Gujarat, the Response to the Portuguese in the Sixteenth Centwy (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1976); Ashin Das Gupta, "Indian Merchants and the Trade of the Indian Ocean," in Tapan Raychaudhuri and Irfan, eds., The Cambridge Economic History> of India (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1982), 1: 427-30; Sanjay Subrahmanyam, Improvising Empire: Portuguese Trade and the Settlement in the Bay of Bengal, 1500-1700 (Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1990). The discussion within the frame of "world systems" is based on ideas from Fernand Braudel, "The Expansion of Europe and the Long Duree," in H. L. Wesseling, ed., Expansion and Reaction (Leiden: Leiden University Press, 1978), 20-3; Immanuel Wallerstein, ed., Social Change; The Colonial Situation (New York; Wiley, 1966); Immanuel Wallerstein, The Modern World-System, vol. 2, Mercantilism and the Consolidation of the European World-Economy, 1600-1750 (New York: Academic Press, 1980); Janet L. Abu-Lughod, Before European Hegemony: The World System A.D. 1250-1350 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1989).

(2) "Merchant capitalist" here means a social agent who uses the whole or a part of the accumulated capital to generate not "use-values" but "exchange values." Here capital is invested in the exchange of commodities that have use, based on the principle of exploiting price-differentials. In the organization of such trade, which covers larger spans of space and time, the merchant capitalist needs greater resources, extensive networks and more personnel. Usually this is done on a legitimate basis and confined with certain legal frameworks, even though illegitimate trade transactions may also at times betray fragments of merchant capitalism. For a detailed discussion of "merchant capitalism", see Maurice Dobb, Studies in the Development of Capitalism (London: Routledge and Paul, 1963), 17, 83-129, 152-62. The Portuguese use the word "corsairs" in the sense of sea-pirates, a category in which they included Kunjali Marakkar and his men. Some historians consider Kunjali and his men patriots and nationalists. See O. (C. Nambiar, The Kunjalis, Admirals of Calicut (New York: Asia Pub. House, 1963), 14-16; M. N. Pearson pictures them as something between pirate and privateer. M. N. Pearson, Coastal Western India (New Delhi: Concept, 1981), 25-6. A "pirate" is a sea-robber acting on his own account, whereas a privateer is a private person who owns and mans an armed vessel with permission and authorization from the government to use it against a hostile nation, especially in merchant shipping. Here the concept of legality from the point of view of the plunderer does not necessarily coincide with how the plundered parties see it. For more details see Luis Filipe Thomaz, "Portuguese Control on the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal--A Comparative Study," Paper presented at the "Bay of Bengal" Conference (New Delhi, Dec. 1994), 2-3; Pius Malekandathil, Portuguese Cochin and the Maritime Trade of India, 1500-1663, South Asian Study Series (Heidelberg University, Germany) (Delhi: Manohar, 2000), 131.

(3) For details A. Cherian, "The Genesis of Islam in Malabar," Indica 1 (1969): 5-9; for a discussion of Islamic commercial identity see K.N. Chaudhuri, Asia Before Europe: Economy and Civilization of (he Indian Ocean from the Rise of Islam lo 1750 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992), 48-50.

(4) For details concerning al-Karimi merchants, see Walter J. Fischel, "The Spice Trade in Mamlukc Egypt," Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient 1 (1958), 165; Eliyahu Ashtor, "The Venetian Supremacy in Levantine Trade: Monopoly of Pre-Colonialism," Journal of European Economic History 3 (1974), 27; Genevieve Bouchon, "Calicut at the Turn of the Sixteenth Century," Revista de Cultura [The Asian Seas, 1550-1800: Local Societies. European Expansion and the Portuguese], 5 (1987): 1, 42.

(5) "Letter from King Manuel to Ferdinand and Isabella," in William Brooks Greenlee, ed., The Voyage of Pedro Alvares Cabral to Brazil and India from Contemporary Documents and Narratives (London: Hakluyt Society, 1938), 49.

(6) Raymundo Antonio de Bulhao Pato, ed., Cartas de Affonso de Albuquerque seguidas de documentos que as elucidam (Lisboa: Typ. da Academia Real das Sciencias de Lisboa, 1884), 1: 306.

(7) Etymologically the word "Marakkar" means captain or owner of a ship and is derived from the Tamil word "Marakalam" meaning ship. For details see Nambiar, The Kunjalis, 76.

(8) S. Jeyaseela Stephen, The Coromandel Coast and Its Hinterland: Economy, Society and Political System (A.D. 1500-1600) (Delhi: Manohar, 1997), 137-39.

(9) As Kerala's topography does not favourricc cultivation except in scattered low-lying areas, a great part of the region had to depend upon rice imported from Coromandel, Orissa, Bengal and Canara. Tome Pires says that the whole of Kerala was lacking in rice and the area from Tanore to Quilon had to depend on Kalinga for supplies. For details see Tome Pires, The Suma Oriental of Tome Pires: An Account of the East, from the Red Sea to Japan, written in Malacca and India in 1512-1515 (Nendeln: Kraus Reprint, 1967), 77. During this period Cochin did not produce enough rice to support its population. Rice had to be imported from the Coromandel coast and distributed throughout the country by Muslim traders. The king of Cochin gave the monopoly in rice trade to Muhammed Marakkar. See Gaspar Correia, Lendas da India (Coimbra: Impr. da Universidade, 1922), vol. 1, parte I, 428 ff; C. Achyuta Menon, The Cochin State Manual (Emakulam: Cochin Govt. Press, 1911), 58.

(10) Malekandathil, Portuguese Cochin, 111-12; see also Jorge Manuel Flores, "The Straits of Ceylon and the Maritime Trade in Early Sixteenth Century India: Commodities, Merchants and Trading Networks," Moyen Orient and Ocean Indien 7 (1990): 30-36.

(11) For details concerning Islamisation in Malabar see Genevieve Bouchon, "Queiques aspects de l'islamisation des regions maritimes de Finde a l'epoque de la decouverte portugaise," Mare Luso-Indicum 2 (1973): 17-20.

(12) The word "Mapilla" is an abbreviation of the Malayalam word "Mahapilla," meaning "great son." This appellation is given only to the indigenous Muslims having origin in Malabar, as well as to the members of St. Thomas Christians of Malabar. The former are ca lied Jona Mapillas or Muslim Mapillas while the latter are called Nazarani Mapillas or Christian Mapillas. In preparing the legal documents of the elder male members of the St. Thomas Christians, their proper name is invariably followed by the appellation "Mapilla." The use of the common appellation "Mapilla" for indigenous Muslims and the St. Thomas Christians, with differentiating prefixes Jona or Nazarani, suggests that the term was in currency even before the islamization of (he region. Possibly it may have been a common word initially used to signify those people linked with the trading community and more probably with the Christian merchant guilds of Manigramam and Anjuvannatn, as such people were viewed as "great men" both by the rulers and the society. The appellation Mapilla continued in use even after Islamization, but the word Torn was used as a prefix to make the social distinction between the Islamizcd segment and the Christian Mapillas. Though the Muslim Mapillas were indigenous traders of Malabar, their economic activity entered a phase of doldrums with the influx to Malabar ports of a larger number of foreign Muslim traders with substantial amounts of capital, such as the paradesi Muslims and the Marakkars. See also Pius Malekandathil, ed., Jomada of Dom Alexis de Menezes: A Portuguese Account of the Sixteenth Century Malabar (Cochin: LRC Publications, 2003), 173.

(13) Bouchon, Regent of the Sea, 53.

(14) For the diverse help rendered by Koya Pakki to the Portuguese see, "The Anonymous Narrative," in Brooks Greenlee, The Voyage, 83-6; Henry E. J. Stanley, ed., The Three Voyages of Vasco da Gama and his Viceroyalty from the Lendas da India of Gaspar Correia (London: Hakluyt Society, 1869), 358-60; Femao Lopes de Castanheda, Historia do descobrimento e conquista da India pelos Portugueses (Coimbra: Impr. da Universidade, 1924), 1:81-83; Joao de Barros, Asia. Dos feitos que os Portugueses fizeram no descobrimento e conquista dos mares e temas do Oriente, Decada 7 (Lisboa: Divisao de Publicacoes e Biblioteca, Agencia Geral das Colonias, 1945), I-v-5, 6, 197-200.

(15) V. D'Souza, "A Unique Custom Regarding Mahr Observed by Certain Indian Muslims of South India," Islamic Culture 28-29 (1954-1955): 273-5. This practice of temporary marriage was more common in the coastal society, where the traders used to stay only temporarily.

(16) Pius Malekandathil, "Merchants, Markets and Commodities: Some Aspects of Portugese Commerce with Malabar," The Portugese, Indian Ocean and European Bridgehead: Festschrift in Honour of Prof K. S. Mathew, Pius Malekandathil and Jamal Mohammed, eds. (Tellicherry: Institute for Research in Social Sciences and Humanities of MESHAR, 2001), 242-4.

(17) Pius Malekandathil, "St. Thomas Christians and the Indian Ocean: 52 A.D. to 1500 A.D.," Ephretn's Theological Journal (International Journal) 7 (2) (October 2001): 197, 199; Andre Wink, Al-Hind: The Making of the Jndo-Islamic World (New Delhi, 1999), 1:71.

(18) Nambiar, The Kunjalis, 40; Malekandathil, "St. Thomas Christians," 199.

(19) In the Commentaries of Afonso Albuquerque we read that there was neither a single native Moor in Quilon in 1504 nor any foreigner there except the brother of Cherina Marakkar. See Walter de Gray Birch, ed., The Commentaries of the Great Afonso Dalboqerque, Second Viceroy of India (New York: B. Franklin, 1875), 11. At the same time we find the St. Thomas Christian traders as emissaries of the queen of Quilon inviting Vasco da Gama in 1502 to trade with Quilon. Nationalbibliothek, Vienna, Nr. 6948; Christine von Rohr, Nene Quellen zur zweiten lndienfahn Vasco da Gamas (Leipzig: K. F. Koehler, 1939), 51. For further details concerning the prominent St. Thomas Christian traders of the port of Quilon, see Bulhao Pato, Cartas, 268; 3: 30, 258-59.

(20) For details of the Arab merchants' anti-Portuguese activities at the court of the Zamorin, see Gemot Giertz, Vasco da Gama, die Endeckungdes Seewegs nach Indien: Ein Augenzeugenbericht 149799 (Tiibingen: Edition Erdmann, 1980), 92-98. Ignorance of the native language (Malayalam) was a great handicap for the Portuguese. The Arab traders who read and translated the Portuguese letter gave a wrong interpretation of the same, making the decision-taking machinery turn against the Portuguese. For more details about the Portuguese clash with the Arab merchants in the succeeding period sec "Anonymous Narrative" in Brooks Greenlee, ed., The Voyage, 83-85; Stanley, The Three Voyages, 329-30; Menon, The Cochin State Manual, 65-69.

(21) By 1520s, with the emergence of Portuguese casado traders, the monopoly of the Marakkar merchants in rice trade was broken. At least from 1540s onwards we have evidence for rice being imported to Malabar by Portuguese casado traders. See Elaine Sauceau, Coleccao de Sao Lourenco, (Lisboa: Centro de Estudos Historicos Ultramarinos, 1975), 2: 275. A great bulk of it was return cargo for the spices taken to Bengal, Orissa and Coromandel. For details on the rice trade of the Portuguese casado traders see Malekandathil.Por/wgwere Cochin, 199-201, 207-8, 213, 227-29; Biblioteca Nacional de Lisboa (BNL), Fundo Geral, 1980, Livro das despenzas de hum porcento, fos. 12, 16, 25, 40.

(22) For details of price fixing in Cochin (160 panams per bhar) and Cannanore (210 panams per bhar), see Thome Lopes, "Navegacao as Indias Orientales escrita em Portugues por Thome Lopes," Colleccao de noticias para a historia e geografia das nacoes ultramarinas que vivem nod dominios Portugueses ou ilhes sao vizinhas, vol. 2, nos. 1 & 2 (Lisboa: Typ. da Academia, 1812), 200; Bouchon, Regent of the Sea, 72.

(23) "Reiseberichtdes Franc iscus Dalberquerque vom 27. December 1503," in B. Greiff, ed., Tagebuch des Lucas Rem aus den Jahren 1494-1541 (Augsburg: N. J. Hartmann, 1861), 148; see also Pius Malekandathil, "Trade and Agriculture in Pre-Modern Kerala," in K.S. Mathew and Pius Malekandathil, eds., The Kerala Economy and European Trade (Muvattupuzha [Kerala], 2003), 26-38.

(24) Lopes de Castanheda.Historia, 1:74; Gaspar Correia, Lendas da India (Lisboa, 1921), 1:430-31; Mamale Marakkar of Cochin was the "richest man in the country." See Ludovico di Varthema, The Travels of Ludovico di Varthema in Egypt, Syria, Arabia Deserta and Arabia Felix, in Persia, India, and Ethiopia: 1503-1508 (London: Hakluyt Society, 1863), 106.

(25) As Gavetas da Torre do Tombo (Lisboa: Centro de Estudos Historicos Ultramarinos, 1964), 4: 132; See also Bulhao Pato, Cartas, 320; 2: 361,

(26) K.. S. Mathew, "Indian Merchants and the Portuguese Trade on the Malabar Coast during the Sixteenth Century," in Tcotonio de Souza, ed., Indo-Ponuguese History: Old Issues--New Questions (New Delhi: Concept, 1985), 6-7.

(27) Bulhao Pato, Cartas, 2: 377-378.

(28) Bulhao Pato, Carias, 4:31.

(29) Bulhao Pato, Cartas, 5: 503-504; Mathew, "Indian merchants and the Portuguese Trade," 6-7; K. S. Mathew, Portuguese Trade with India in the Sixteenth Century (New Delhi: Manohar, 1983), 102. Even though the kingdom of Edappilly was an enemy of Cochin and the Portuguese, the latter succeeded in penetrating into its production centers with the help of the Mapilla merchants.

(30) For details see Malekandathil, Portuguese Cochin, 125-26; 220-21; Luis Filipe Thomaz, "Portuguese Control on the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal: A Comparative Study," paper presented at the Conference on "Bay of Bengal" (Delhi, December 1994).

(31) Antonio da Silva Re go, edDocumentacao para a historia das missoes do Padroado Portugues do Oriente (Lisboa; Fundacao Oriente and Comissao Nacional para as Comemoracoes dos Descobrimentos Portugueses, 1991), 171 (doc. 76).

(32) See notes 43 and 44 below.

(33) Arquivos Nacionais/Torre do Tombo (AN/TT), Chancelaria de D. Manuel I, liv. 2, fo. 83 "Capitulos de pazes entre Afonso de Albuquerque e o Samorin de Calicut" (Lisbon, 26 Feb. 1515); Genevieve Bouchon, "Calicut," 46; Bulhao Pato, Cartas, 1: 126.

(34) Bulhao Pato, Cartas, 3: 401.

(35) For more details see Vitor Luis Gaspar Rodrigues, "O Grupo de Cochim e a oposicao a Afonso de Albuquerque," Stitdia 51 (1992): 119-44; Sanjay Subrahmanyam, The Portuguese Empire in Asia 1500-1700: A Political and Economic History (London: Longman, 1993), 97. Here the Portuguese casado traders clamoured for an atmosphere of free trade only for themselves and not for the nonPortuguese merchants of the region.

(36) R. S, Whiteway, The Rise of the Portuguese Power in India: 1498-1550 (New Delhi: Asian Educational Services, 1989 [original edition London, 1899]), 196.

(37) Pius Malekandathil, "The Maritime Trade of Cannanore and the Global Commercial Revolution in the 16th and the 17, h Centuries," paper presented in the National Seminar on "Cannanore in the Maritime History of India" (Kannur University, 8-9 March, 2001), 4. Though Bouchon assigns Mamale a native origin, it seems that he was a Marakkar merchant from Coromandel who settled down in Cannonore, for Tome Pires and Ludovico di Varthema call him Mamalle Mercar and Malmavicar respectively. Armando Cortesao, ed., The Suma Oriental of Tome Pires (New Delhi: Asian Educational Services, 1990), 2: 359; Varthema, The Travels, 282.

(38) Bouchon, Regent of the Sea, 153-164.

(39) Initially it was Afonso Albuquerque, the protagonist of the policy of mixed marriages, who encouraged the Portuguese casados (married citizens) to take up local trade and small business as a means of livelihood. The taste for profits generated by this trade induced in them a desire to participate in wider commercial activity, for which an opportunity arose when the entire eastern space of the Indian Ocean was demarcated for their activities by Lopo Soares de Albergia in 1515. By the 1520s they had already reached the main exchange centers of maritime Asia and started supplying commodities to the Portuguese settlements both for local consumption and for the Lisbon-oriented trade. As the casados started supplying goods to the Portuguese, the Marakkar merchants ceased to be an indispensable clement in Portuguese commerce. For details see Pius Malekandathil, "Portuguese Casados and the Intra-Asian Trade: 1500-1663," In Proceedings of the Indian History Congress, 61 (Millennial Session, 2001), 385-87.

(40) Malekandathil," Portuguese Casados," 385-87.

(41) Shaykh Zaynuddin, Tuhfat-ul-Mujahidin, trans. by S. Muhammad Husain Nainar (Madras: University of Madras, 1942), 89-91. Shaykh Zaynuddin, an Arab residing in Malabar, gives elaborate details in the Tuhfat concerning the raids and torture inflicted by the Portuguese on the Muslims, principally the Marakkars. Though some scholars consider him to be a Malayali Muslim, it is highly probable that he was an Arab trader. This inference is made not only from the Arab language in which the work was composed, but also from the title shaykh, which is altogether absent among the Malayali Muslims but very much in use among the west Asian Muslims.

(42) Whiteway, The Rise, 196.

(43) Manuel de Faria e Souza, Asia Portuguesa: The History of the Discovery and Conquest of India by the Portuguese, trans. John Stevens (London: Printed for C. Brome, 1695), 1: 284; Zaynuddin, Tulifai-ul-Mujahidin, 66; A. P. Ibrahim Kunju, Studies in Medieval Kerala (Trivandrum: Kerala Historical Society, 1975), 60.

(44) As Gavetas de Torre do Tombo (Lisbon: Centro de Estudos Historicos Ultramarinos. 1975), 577; Genevieve Bouchon, "Les Musulmans du Kerala," 52-53; Diogo do Couto, Da Asia. Dos feitos que os Portuguezes fizeram na conquista e descobrimento das ten as e mares do Oriente (Lisbon: Livraria S. Carlos, 1973-5 [facsimile reprint of 1777-8 edition, Lisbon: Regia Officina Typographica, 1777-8]), Decadas IV-XII.

(45) In 1500, the price of a bhar of pepper (166.3 kilograms) in Calicut was 360 panams, whereas in 1516 after the peace-treaty, the price came down to 189.5 pancims (10.17 cruzados). See for details, Malekandathil, Portuguese Cochin, 154; Duarte Barbosa, The Book of Duarte Bnarbosa (Nendeln: Kraus Reprint, 1967), 2: 226ff.

(46) Malekandathil, "Portuguese Casados," 387-88. For details about the Muslim merchants who put up small shops in Cochin see K, S. Mathew and Afzal Ahmad, Emergence of Cochin in the Pre-Industrial Era: A Study of Portuguese Cochin (Pondicherry: Pondicherry University, 1990), doc. 14, 27-28. The trade organized by Zamorin and his naval chieftain Kunjali was often referred to by the Portuguese as corsairing, because of their moral and legal perception.

(47) Joao de Barros, Asia. Dos feitos que os Portuguezes fuer am na conquista e descobrimento das terras e mares do Oriente (Lisbon: Livraria S. Carlos, 1973-5 [facsimile reprint of 1777-8 edition, Lisbon: Regia Officina Typographica, 1777-8]), Decadas I-IV.

(48) Gaspar Correia, Lendas da India, 3: 235.

(49) Gaspar Correia, Lendas da India, 2: 830 and 3:712. The exact geographical location of Culimute could not be identified. It might be Calmutao, which Georg Schurhammer identified as Muttamtura in Travancore. See Georg Schurhammer, Die Zeitgenossischen QueUen zur Geschichte PortugiesischAsiens undseiner Nachbarldnder zur Zeitdes hi. Franz Xaver, 1539-1552, Bibliotheca Instituti Historiei S.I., 20 (Rome: Institutum Historicum S.I., 1962 [reprint of first edition, Leipzig, 1932]), 1: nr. 6147, 461 and 540.

(50) AN/TT, Corpo Cronologico, II, maco 211, doc. 65, fos. 5-6, Diogo Fernandes to D. John III, 1 Jun. 1537; see also Jorge Manuel Costa da Silva Flores, "Os Portugueses e o Mar de Ceilao 1498-1543: Trato, Diplomacia, e Guerra," Dissertacao de Mestrado em Historia dos Descobrimentos e da Expansao Portuguesa presented to the Faculdade de Ciencias Sociais c Humanas da Universidade Nova de Lisboa (1991), 200-5.

(51) Costa da Silva Flores, "Os Portugueses e o Mar de Ceilao," 214, 221; Barros, Asia, Decada IV, livro 8, caps. 12-14.

(52) For details of this route, see Bouchon, Regent of the Sea, 118, 161.

(53) For the revival of Venetian trade, see Frederic C, Lane, "The Mediterranean Spice Trade: Further Evidence of its Revival in the Sixteenth Century," Brian Pulian, ed., Crisis and Change in the Venetian Economy in the 16th and 17th Centuries (London: Methuen, 1968), 47-58.

(54) By the beginning of the 1540s, the supply of ginger to the Lisbon bound-vessels amounted to 2,000 to 3,000 quintals per year. AN/TT, Sao Lourenco, III, doc. 130, Kolathiri to Martim Afonso de Souza. In 1547 and 1548, the pepper exports from Malabar to Portugal stood at 1, 910, 138 kg and 1.249, 941 kilograms respectively. Malekandathil, Portuguese Cochin, 179. It is highly probable that this export trade was made possible with the continued collaboration of some Muslim traders.

(55) J. H. da Cunha Rivara, Archivo Portugues Oriental (New Delhi: Asian Educational Services, 1992), Fase. 5:425-426.

(56) AN/TT, Corpo Cronologico, I, maco 76, doc. 103; maco 78, doc. 108; maco 79, doc. 134. Initially he was in the service of Asad Khan of Belgaum (protector of the kingdom of Bijapur when Ismail Adil Shah died), who himself had a plan to buy a piece of land in Cannanore and to transfer his enormous wealth there. However, on his death Shams-ud-din Giloni inherited the entire wealth of Asad Khan, estimated to be about ten million cruzados, which he used as capital for his commercial endeavors. In order to ensure the support of the Portuguese, he sent half of it to Lisbon in gold bars and the remaining half he invested in commercial activities. Eventually he bought land in Cannanore and made it the base of a trading empire extending up to Bassein and linked with Mecca. For more details see Faria e Souza, Asia, 87-88; K. S. Mathew, "Khwaja Shams-ud-din Giloni: A Sixteenth Century Entrepreneur in Portuguese India," in Rodcrich Ptak and Dietmar Rothermund cd., Emporia, Commodities and Entrepreneurs in Asian Maritime Trade, c. 1400-1750 (Stuttgart: Steiner Verlag, 1991), 363-71.

(57) Malekandathil, Portuguese Cochin, 131-132.

(58) Bouchon, Regent of the Sea, 151-175.

(59) Malekandathil, "The Maritime Trade," 7.

(60) Couto, Da Asia, Decada V, parte II, 431-37; Correia, Lendas da India, 1: 425ff; Bouchon, Regent of the Sea, 172. This dynasty was to reign until the end of the 19th century.

(61) For details see Francois Pyrard de Laval, The Voyages of Francois Pyrard of Laval to the East Indies, the Maldives, the Moluccas and Brazil, trans. Albert Gray (London: Hakluyt Society, 1887), 1: 444-46; Couto, Da Asia, Decada VII, 16-18; Bouchon, Regent of the Sea, 173.

(62) Joao Manuel de Almeida Teles e Cunha, "Economia de um imperio: Economia politica do Estado da india em tomo do Mar Arabico e Golfo Persico. Elementos Conjunturais: 1595-1635," Mestrado diss., Universidade Nova de Lisboa (1995), 397-400; Malekandathil, "The Maritime Trade," 7-8.

(63) K. K. N. Kurup, The Ali Rajas of Cannanore (Trivandrum: College Book House, 1975); K. S. Mathew, "Cannanore and the Portuguese: A Study of Trade and Urban Growth in the Sixteenth Century," Paper presented in the National Seminar "Cannanore in the Maritime History of India," Kannur University (8-9 March 2001), 4.

(64) F. C. Danvers, The Portuguese in India (New Delhi: Asian Educational Services, 1988), 1: 528-529.

(65) See the picture of the ICunjali's fortress in Luis da Silveira, ed., Livro das plantas, fortalezas, cidades e povoacoes do Estado da India Oriental, com as descricoes do maritimo dos reinos e pmvincias onde estao situados e outros portos principais daqueles partes, Contribuicao para a Historia das Fortalezas dos Portugueses no Ultramar (Lisboa: Ministerio do Planeamento e da Administracao do Territorio, Secretaria de Estado da Ciencia e Tecnologia, Instituto de Investigacao Cientifica Tropical, 1991), 86.

(66) Danvers, The Portuguese, 2: 51.

(67) Kunjali of course bad his own version of justice and law. He used to execute it mercilessly. See Danvers, The Portuguese, 2: 51.

(68) Nationalbibliothek, Vienna, Cod. 8961, fo. 891-892, letter dated 15 Dec. 1588.

(69) Historical Archive of Goa (HAG), Livro das Moncoes, No. 3A (1585-1589), fos. 180-81, Royal letter sent to Duarte Meneses, dated 13 Mar. 1587.

(70) Pearson, Merchants and Rulers, 46.

(71) Danvers, The Portuguese, 2: 112.

(72) Arquivo Historico Ultramarino (AHU), Caixas da India, Caixa 1, doc. 20, fo. 11; Faria e Souza, Asia, 3: 99-100; Danvers, The Portuguese, 2: 112; Kunju, Studies, 81-82; Antonio de Gouveia, Jornada do Arcebispo (Coimbra: Na officina da Diogo Gomez Loureyro, 1606), 72-77; Malekandathil, Jornada, 69-71; 108-15; 478; 481-82.

(73) BNL, Fundo Geral, Codice No. 1976, fos. 158-9, letter of Conde de Vidigueira to Philip, written in 1599.

(74) HAG, Livro das Moncoes, no.7 (1600-3), fos. 192-95, royal letter sent to Aires de Saldanha, dated 15 Feb. 1603; HAG, Livro das Moncoes, no. 6A (1604-5), fos. 71, 77, 79. All these three letters were dated 15 Mar. 1605; AN/TT, MSS, S. Vicente, 14, fo. 161, letter of Philip II (of Portugal) sent to D. A lex is de Menezes, dated 15 May 1605; AN/TT, MSS, 51 Vicente, 14, fols. 163-163 v, letter of Philip II (of Portugal) to the bishop of Cochin, dated 15 May 1605; Raymundo Antonio de Bulhao Pato, Documentos remetidos da India ou Livro das Moncoes (Lisboa: Academia Real das Sciencias, 1884), 1: 36 (doc. 8), letter of Philip II to D. Martim Afonso de Castro, dated 6 Mar. 1605.

(75) HAG Liviv das Moncoes, no. 6 A (1604-5), foi. 79, royal letter sent to the bishop of Cochin, dated 15 Mar. 1605.

(76) Gouveia, Jornada do Arcebispo, 208-9; Malekandathil, Jornada, 333-34. The Ravuthar Muslims of Kanjirappally, an interior market place of central Kerala, trace their origin back to Moosavannan Ravuthar, Kulasekhara Khan and Mollamiya Labha, who came to Kanjirappally from Madurai in A.D. 1373. From there these Ravuthar Muslims eventually spread to Erumely, Erattupetta and Thodupuzha. For details see Jacob Aerthail, Kanjirappally Noottandukaliloode (Kanjirappally, 1985), 88-97 [text in Malayalam], Even now they use certain Tamil words in their Malayalam conversation.

(77) Gouveia, Jornada do Arcebispo, 94.

(78) For details concerning the promise of the king of Cochin to help Kunjali to fight against the Zamorin and the Portuguese, see BNL, Fundo Geral, Codice No. 1976, fos.l 58-159, letter of Conde Vidigueira to King Philip written in 1599. For details of the Kunjali's execution see C. R. Boxer and Frazao de Vasconcelos, Andre Furtado de Mendonca (1558-1610) (Lisboa: Agencia Geral do Ultramar, Divisao de Publicacoes e Biblioteca, 1955), 21-35.

(79) William Foster, ed., The Voyage of Nicholas Downton to the East Indies: 1614-1615 (London: Hakluyt Society, 1939), 25.

(80) M. A. P. Meilink-Roelofsz, Asian Trade and European Influence in the Indonesian Archipelago between 1500-1630 (The Hague: M. Nijhoff, 1962), 387.

(81) The Portuguese casado traders of this period are viewed as a "bourgeois class" by scholars like Dietmar Rothermund and Sanjay Subrahmanyam. Dictmar Rothermund, "Introduction: The Fate of the Portuguese in Asia," in Roderich Ptak, ed., Portuguese Asia: Aspects in History and Economic History (Stuttgart: Steiner Vcrlag Wiesbaden, 1987), vii; Sanjay Subrahmanyam, "Cochin in Decline, 1600-1650: Myth and Manipulation in the Estado da India, " in Roderich Ptak ed., Portuguese Asia, 63-79; For more details see Malekandathi), Portuguese Cochin, 207-18; 264-65.

(82) James Talboys Whellerand Michael Macmillan, European Travellers in India (Calcutta: S. Gupta, 1956), 34.

(83) V. Ball, ed., Travels in India by Jean Baptiste Tavernier (London: Macmillan and Co., 1889), 1: 177-78.

(84) Bulhao Pato, Documentos, 4: 295-96 (doc. 954); Almeida Teles e Cunha, "Economia de um imperio."

(85) Authors like Jamal Mohammed argue that the inland movement of Muslims, away from coastal areas, and their involvement in agriculture started in this period, reflecting their impoverishment in the wake of the hundred years' war with the Portuguese (Jamal Mohammed, "Muslims on the Malabar Coast: A Study of the Nature and Activities of the Society [1600-1800]," in K. S. Mathew, Teotonio R. de Souza, and Pius Malekandathil, cds., The Portuguese and the Socio-cultural Changes in India, 15001800 [Tellicherry: Institute for Research in Social Sciences and Humanities, MESHAR, 2001], 269275).
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Author:Malekandathil, Pius
Publication:Portuguese Studies Review
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Date:Jan 1, 2004
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