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Signed, Sealed, and Undelivered: The Voyage of the Santa Catharina and a Global Microhistory of Trade and Politics in the Indian Ocean, 1739-1748

Sebouh Aslanian, UCLA

December 12, 2018 · 12:00 pm1:20 pm · 219 Aaron Burr

Sharmin and Bijan Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Iran and Persian Gulf Studies

The talk focuses on the discovery of several thousand pieces of commercial correspondence and contracts traveling aboard the Armenian-freighted vessel, the Santa Catharina, across the Indian Ocean at the time of the vessel’s capture in 1748. These papers discovered by the author in the High Court of Admiralty (HCA) in the National Archives in Kew offer an extraordinary glimpse into the complex operation of a global network of trade connecting far-flung places such as Tocat and Isfahan in the Ottoman and Safavid Empires to Calcutta, Madras, Guangzhou and Manila in the East.

The presentation assesses the importance of the Santa Catharina’s paper cargo in reconstructing commercial and social life across the Indian Ocean.

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