This article examines the violence surrounding a war that the Danish East India Company declared against the Mughal Empire during the mid-seventeenth century. To explain why such a small chartered company would declare war against such a formidable foe, the relationship between trade, violence and statecraft in both societies is discussed at length. The article further describes how the war was waged, including the complex legal situation surrounding it and the various ways in which the opponents tried to hold each other responsible for losses. Using the Danish-Mughal war as a vehicle for exploring relations between European and Asian merchants, the article argues that violence was the contingency plan of even the weakest European companies.
Luís Filipe F.R. Thomaz“Portuguese Control over the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal: A Comparative Study,” in Commerce and Culture in the Bay of Bengal 1500-1800ed. Om Prakash and Denys Lombard (New Delhi 1999) 120 and Sebastian R. Prange “A Trade of No Dishonor: Piracy Commerce and Community in the Western Indian Ocean Twelfth to Sixteenth Century” American Historical Review 116 no. 5 (2011): 1272-1275. See also Anthony Reid “Violence at Sea: Unpacking “Piracy” in the Claims of States over Asian Seas” in Elusive Pirates Pervasive Smugglers; Violence and Clandestine Trade in the Greater China Seas ed. Robert J. Anthony (Hong Kong 2010) 15-26 and Giancarlo Casale “Ottoman Guerre de Course and the Indian Ocean Spice Trade: The Career of Sefer Reis” Itinerario 23 no. 1 (2008): 59-79.
John F. Guilmartin“The military revolution in warfare at sea during the early modern era: technological origins, operational outcomes and strategic consequences,”Journal for Maritime Research13 no. 2 (2011): 130-134.
lrfan Habib“Merchant communities in precolonial India,” in The Rise of Merchant Empires Long-Distance Trade in the Early Modern Worlded. James D. Tracy (Cambridge 1990) 396; Sanjay Subrahmanyam “Of imârat and tijârat: Asian Merchants and State Power in the Western Indian Ocean 1400 to 1750” Comparative Studies in Society and History 31 no. 3 ( 1995): 754-758; Sanjay Subrahmanyam The Portuguese Empire in Asia 1500-1700: A Political and Economic History (London 1993) 11-21 274-276.
Craig A. Lockard“ ‘The Sea Common to All’: Maritime Frontiers, Port Cities, and Chinese Traders in the Southeast Asian Age of Commerce ca. 1400-1750,”Journal of World History21 no. 2 (2010): 231; Leonard Y. Andaya Leaves of the same tree: trade and ethnicity in the Straits of Melaka (Honolulu 2008) 178-184; Sebastian R. Prange “The Contested Sea: Regimes of Maritime Violence in the Pre-Modern Indian Ocean” Journal of Early Modern History 17 (2013): 24-25.
Ole Feldbæk“No Ship for Tranquebar for Twenty-nine Years. Or: The Art of Survival of a Mid-Seventeenth Century European Settlement in India,” in Emporia Commodities and Entrepreneurs in Asian Maritime Trade c. 1400-1750ed. Roderich Ptak and Dietmar Rothemund (Stuttgart 1991) 30.
See P.J. Marshall“Western Arms in Maritime Asia in the Early Phases of Expansion,”Modern Asian Studies14 no. 1 (1980): 13-28and Geoffrey Parker The Military Revolution: Military innovation and the rise of the West 1500-1800 (Cambridge 1988).