Explain the following: The port of Surat declined by the end of the eighteenth century

The port of Surat declined by the end of the eighteenth century 

India had a vibrant sea trade. The Port of Surat was an extremely important trading port in India.

  • Surat on the Gujarat coast connected India to the Red Sea and the Gulf.
  • Hooghly in Bengal, Masulipatam on the Coromandel coast had trade links with Southeast Asian ports.
  • Supply merchants linked the port towns to the inland regions. 
  • Merchants procured the woven cloth from weaving villages by giving advances to weavers. 
  • Merchants carried the supply to the ports.
  • At the port, the price negotiation with the supply merchants who were operating inland, were done by the brokers of export merchants and big shippers.
  • A variety of Indian bankers and merchants were involved in the network of export trade – supplying exporters, carrying goods, financing production.
  • Bales of fine textiles were carried on camel backs across the deserts, through mountain passes, via the North-West Frontier.
  • Persian and Armenian merchants took the goods from Punjab to Central Asia, Eastern Persia, and Afghanistan.

Decline of Trade – Surat Port

  • The Indian merchants who were controlling the above mentioned trade, began breaking down by the 1750s.
  • Power was gradually gained by the European companies.
  • Initially the European companies gained a variety of concessions from the local courts.
  • Later on, the European companies gained the monopoly rights to trade.
  • These factors led to the decline of Surat port and Hooghly port which were earlier operated by the local merchants.
  • From the port of Surat, the exports started declining dramatically.
  • Local bankers started going bankrupt.
  • The trade which was financed through earlier credit, started to dry up.
  • To understand the extent of decline in trade at Surat port, by 1740s the value of trade at Surat port had come down to Rs 3 million from Rs 16 million in the last years of the seventeenth century.
  • As the old ports of Surat and Hooghly declined, new ports of Calcutta and Bombay grew, signalling the growth of colonial power in India.
  • Trade through new ports of Bombay and Calcutta was carried by European ships and European companies.

Was this answer helpful?


3.5 (2)

Upvote (1)

Choose An Option That Best Describes Your Problem

Thank you. Your Feedback will Help us Serve you better.

Leave a Comment

Your Mobile number and Email id will not be published. Required fields are marked *




Free Class