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20 September 2007

Routes into Networks : The Structure of English Trade in the East Indies, 1601-1833

Erikson Emily and Peter Bearman. 2004.
Routes into Networks : The Structure of English Trade in the East Indies, 1601-1833

ISERP Working Paper 04- 07, Columbia University

Drawing on a remarkable dataset compiled from ships logs, journals, factory correspondence, ledgers, and reports that provide unusually precise information on each of the 4,572 voyages taken by English traders of the East India Company (hereafter EIC), we describe the EIC trade network over time, from 1601 to 1833.

From structural images of voyages organized by shipping seasons, we map the (over time and space) emergence of dense, fully integrated, global trade networks: of globalization before globalization. We show that the integration of the world trade system under the aegis of the EIC was the unintended by-product of systematic individual malfeasance (private trading) on the part of ship captains seeking profit from internal Eastern trade.

Keywords: principal-agent problem, networks, global trade, historical sociology, the EIC.

Data for this paper arise from The Catalogue of the East India Companys Ships Journals and Logs, 1600-1834 and The Biographical index of East India Company maritime service officers: 1600-1834, sources which integrate the journals, logs, ledgers, imprest books, pay books, receipt books, absence books, company papers, and voluminous correspondence of the Company relevant for each ship and employed officer. From the first volume, we have a complete list of the 1,480 ships (4,725 voyages) that were engaged in EIC trade from 1601 to 1835. Eighty- Routes into Networks five percent of the entries for voyages contain a complete set of ports visited with dates of arrival and departure. All ships list the trading season in which they were active and 99% percent include the intended destination. Less systematically, there is information on ship tonnage, dimensions, crew size, armaments, principal owners, and shipbuilders. In the analyses reported below, ports fall in and out of the network. [...]
[The sources in question are:
* Farrington, Anthony. 1999. Catalogue of the East India Company Ships' Journals and Logs 1600-1834. London: The British Library.
* Farrington, Anthony. 1999. Biographical Index of the East India Company Maritime Service Officers. London: The British Library.
- tmc.]

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