Fishing in Troubled Waters: Masulipatnam

Machilipatnam derived its name from the construction of a gateway to the town decorated with the eyes of a fish.

It was founded in the 14th century by the Arab traders in their way from the Red Sea to Southern India.

It was a flourishing seaport on the east coast during the time of the Satavahanas.

Later in the 17th century, it was a centre of French, British, and Dutch trade.

Let us see how Masulipatnam developed as a Trade Center

Masulipatnam was an important port of the Andhra coast, so the Dutch and English East India Companies tried to control it.

Even a fort was built by the Dutch company at Masulipatnam.

The Qutub Shahi ruler of Golconda imposed monopolies on the sale of textiles, spices, and other items.

They did so because they did not want the entire trade to go into the hands of the East India Companies.

There was competition between trading groups like Golconda nobles, Persian Merchants, Telugu Komati Chettis and European traders.

The competition between these various trading groups made the city prosperous and popular.

Later, the Mughals tried to extend their power to Golconda.

So the Mughal governor, Mir Jumla made the Dutch and the English fight with each other for power.

Finally, from 1686 to 1687, the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb conquered Golconda and extended his power.

Since Mughals controlled the area, European companies started looking at other places for trade.

European companies felt that it was not enough if ports had connections with the production centres of the hinterland.

It was felt that new company trade centers should combine political, administrative and commercial roles.

Slowly, the company traders shifted their trade from Masulipatnam to Bombay, Calcutta, and Madras.

With this move, Masulipatnam lost its merchants as well as prosperity.

In the present day, this city is not more than a broken little town.

Revision

The town of Masulipatnam or Machilipatnam lays on the delta of the Krishna river.

The Dutch and the East India Companies attempted to control over Masulipatnam as it was the most important port on the Andhra coast.

The Qutub Shahi ruler of Golconda imposed royal monopolies on the sale of textiles, spices, and other items.

Later, the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb conquered Golconda and extended his power.

Slowly, the company traders shifted their trade from Masulipatnam to Bombay, Calcutta, and Madras.

With this move, Masulipatnam lost its merchants as well as prosperity.

The End