Colbert, Mercantilism and the French Quest for the Asian Trade

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9780875802077: Colbert, Mercantilism and the French Quest for the Asian Trade
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This examination of French trade with Asia analyzes France’s attempt to establish a mercantile empire in the East by breaking into the lucrative market of the Indian Ocean. Between 1664 and 1674, France advanced a vigorous strategy of commerce and colonization. It founded the powerful East India Company and constructed a large royal fleet as the principal instrument for entrenching French power in Asia. Drawing on archival sources, Ames offers a new interpretation of France’s mercantilism in the context of the rise of the world market economy of the early modern period. This study sheds new light on the reign of Louis XIV, the mercantilist theories of Colbert, the origins of the Dutch War, and the Asian trading empires of the French, Dutch, English, and Portuguese during the late seventeenth century.
 

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This revisionist examination of French trade with Asia analyzes the concerted attempt of France under Louis XIV to establish a mercantile empire in the East by breaking into the lucrative market of the Indian Ocean. Drawing on archival sources from Paris, Lisbon, London, The Hague, and Goa, Ames offers a new interpretation of Bourbon France's mercantilism in the context of the rise of the world market economy of the early modern period. In addition to illuminating the politics behind Colbert's establishment of the East India Company and his creation of the royal fleet, Ames details France's efforts to reach an alliance with the English and Portuguese and the eventual failure of this enterprise. He further analyzes the significance of such a setback for French political and economic aspirations in Asia for the remainder of the seventeenth century. Evidence presented in this study sheds new light on the reign of Louis XIV, the mercantilist theories of Colbert, the origins of the Dutch War, and the Asian trading empires of the French, Dutch, English, and Portuguese during the late seventeenth century.

About the Author:

Glenn J. Ames (1955–2010) was professor of history at the University of Toledo.
 

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