Proceedings of the 43rd International Academic Conference, Lisbon

COMMERCIAL AND ECONOMIC GOALS OF THE BRITISH IN THE SAFAVID PERSIA AND THE COUNTRIES OF SOUTH CAUCASUS IN THE 16TH CENTURY

TEA KARCHAVA, TEA TSITLANADZE, MURMAN PAPASHVILI, NIKOLOZ SILAGADZE, ANDRO GOGOLADZE

Abstract:

It is indisputable that the active work of the trade companies in the Tudor period was one of the factors determining economic power of England. Before the British East-India Company began to struggle with the Portuguese for the positions in India the representatives of the English “Muscovy Company” had 7 visits in the East in 1558-1581.  After entering the Moscow market, the British tried to use the Volga rout and to establish trade relationship with India and China through Central Asia and Persia, but the trade with China was actually reduced to nil due to turbulent situation in oriental countries. Trade with India did not seem prospective either – their hot climate and poverty of local people was not a favorable prospect for English broadcloth.  Disillusioned with his plan about China and India, Jenkinson turned his attention to Safavid Persia (where the main export product was silk, so desirable for Europeans) and obtained a sanction from the “Muscovy Company” to trade in that direction. However, he also needed permission of the Moscow ruler, Ivan Grozny for which Jenkinson offered his service that is apparent from the relazione about his trip to Persia.  Jenkinson's notifications (which provides significant information about Shirvan located on the shores of the Caspian Sea and its neighboring Georgian kingdoms in the South Caucasus, where the raw silk was produced) clearly demonstrates the wide profile of the trips of British merchants - diplomatic flexibility and understanding of political situation, in addition to their primary economic interests. After reading and analyzing the entire context of his report, if we try to connect the facts of the fragments, where Anthony Jenkinson mentions the Georgians and compare them with the Persian and Georgian sources of that period, we can reconstruct of the historical events and correct understanding of the processes in 16th century Georgia.  Although, Jenkinson could not achieve privilegies in Kazvin, he managed to make contacts with Indian merchants, who gave him hope that he could trade with spices throughout Persia. More specific result was waiting for him on the way back to the South Caucasus, where he visited one of his most desirable hosts in all the Safavid Iran - the ruler of Shirvan, Abdula Han. He received the separate and valuable privilegies from him that allowed him to exchange English wool products into the Iranian silk.

Keywords: Trade Agents; Commerce; Economic Interests; Diplomatic relations.

DOI: 10.20472/IAC.2018.043.020

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