Rival Empires of Trade in the Orient, 1600-1800 was first published in 1976. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.
This volume presents an account of European expansion in Asia through the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries - the story of the rivalries of the East India companies and the growth of British maritime dominance which forged the Pax Britannica destined to keep Asia under European control until 1941. The author explains that it is called Rival Empires of Trade in the Orient because the few thousands of Europeans who built these empires thought of themselves primarily as merchants rather than as rulers.
The book consists of two parts, the first, narrative, the second, interpretive. The story of European commercial activity in the East is told in three chapters, the first ending with the Dutch conquest of Ceylon in 1656 and the reorganization and revival of the English East India Company as a permanent joint stock company under Oliver Cromwell's charter of 1657. The second chapter ends with the European peace settlement at Utrecht in 1713, and the third with the establishment of British preponderance in the East India trade at the close of the eighteenth century.
In the second part the author discusses the organization and structure of East India companies, the commodities in East India trade, the nature, growth, and development of the "country trade," and the relations between Europeans and Asians with some reference to the growth of European knowledge of Asia and the influence of the European presence in Asia on social history in both Asia and Europe.