Weaving a Global Trade Pattern: The Portuguese Role in the Globalisation on Asian Textiles, 1500–1800

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


The Portuguese, after Vasco da Gama's maiden voyage to India in 1497-99, established a maritime trade route between Portugal and Asia. Since 1500, a great amount and variety of Asian textiles were regularly traded, shifting forever the panorama of the textile supply to the Atlantic world (including Europe, Africa and America), setting new consuming trends.
This revolution in trade and taste was led by Portugal until the first half of the seventeenth century, when the Dutch, and the English took her position as leading supplier of Asian goods to Europe. Portugal, however, created a niche for her merchants in the South Atlantic during the seventeenth century, linking Goa to Brazil - Bahia first and later Rio de Janeiro in the eighteenth century. These stopovers by ships of the Carreira da Índia, initially tolerated and then authorized (1698), contributed to revitalize Goan trade in Asian textiles to the Atlantic world. The nexus of this commerce of Asian textiles was also linked with the slave trade, where cheap Indian cottons became one of the staples good to acquire African slaves since the sixteenth century. Another niche was created in Lisbon, the supply of Asian textile to major Mediterranean emporia (Marseille, Genoa, Livorno), taking advantage of Portuguese neutrality in the European conflicts since the late seventeenth century.
It is in this context that we propose to analyze the circulation of Asian textiles in the Portuguese overseas empire, its agents, as well as its impact and consequences for the Portuguese society.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Fruits of the Early Globalization
Subtitle of host publicationAn Iberian Perspective
EditorsRafael Dobado-González, Alfredo García-Hiernaux
Place of PublicationHeidelberg
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages43
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-69666-5
ISBN (Print)978-3-030-69665-8
Publication statusPublished - 2021


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