Economic and political history of northern Malabar

Another festschrift contribution – yet to appear, so I cannot reveal the title of the volume and its recipient – this article expands and complements material included in the introductory chapters of Abraham’s Luggage.

   The surviving letters, memoranda and annual accounts of the India traders are rich with allusions to the commerce and, with less focus, the politics of northern Malabar during the 1130s and 1140s, a period for which local, Indian, sources are few and often opaque. Thus, rather than fitting neatly into a secure historical context this Indian correspondence contributes substantially new information for the history of the region in the 12th century and often challenges understandings of Malabari history. “India in the “India Book: 12th century northern Malabar through Geniza documents” pieces together new information on the politics, economy and networks of the northern Malabar coast during these decades to propose a more rounded understanding of the geography and chronology of Jewish trade in South India.