The Danish East India Company’s War against the Mughal Empire, 1642-1698

In: Journal of Early Modern History
Kathryn Wellen Royal Netherlands Institute for Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies

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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.

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