Maritime Histories, Indian Ocean and Port-Towns

Changing Dynamics of Urban Spaces in Pre-Modern India


  • Pius Malekandathil Jawaharalal Nehru University, New Delhi, India



Maritime Histories, Heritage, Transportation, Port Towns, Urbanisation


Maritime histories is a very important tool in the study of the development of Port towns in Pre-modern India - as it enables researchers to come closer to the crucial dynamics of the urban historical process, embracing aspects such as international politics, navigation, oceanic currents, oceanic society, maritime transportation, sea-borne trade and commerce, port-hinterland relations and heritage aligned with it. The changing social character of these port towns are also indicative of the changing roles that were ascribed to them and the type of meanings that the new power wielders inscribed onto their urban spaces. In the transition phase of eighteenth century, the English towns of Bombay, Madras and Calcutta, which had a large number of Indo-Portuguese population and were relatively lying on the commercial periphery in the second half of seventeenth century, emerged as principal maritime exchange centres and towns in maritime India attracting traders, artisans, and financiers from other economic enclaves of India. This paper is an attempt to explore the dynamics of change and evolution of these port towns, not only as a conduit for providing trade and commerce, but also as a space for communication and the development of tangible and intangible heritage.

Author Biography

Pius Malekandathil, Jawaharalal Nehru University, New Delhi, India

Professor, Centre for Historical Studies,  Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India


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How to Cite

Malekandathil, P. . (2020). Maritime Histories, Indian Ocean and Port-Towns: Changing Dynamics of Urban Spaces in Pre-Modern India. Atna Journal of Tourism Studies, 15(2), 115-147.