A History of the Rupee, 1757-1858

The talk provided a history of the Indian rupee during the last century of the East India Company’s existence. It began with an overview of the Company’s trade networks and the proliferation of currencies within its territories. It continued by examining the Company’s reliance on indigenous currency conventions, including references to the Mughal emperor, and its great interest in the innovations of an allied state (Awadh). It then explains the measures the Company took to unify its currencies and create the Company Rupee in 1835. It finally discusses the significance of new rupee in promoting a ‘colonial’ economy and reassesses the importance of this era.

Ian Barrow is Professor of History at Middlebury College, Vermont, USA. He is the author of Surveying and Mapping in Colonial Sri Lanka (OUP 2008) and Making History, Drawing Territory: British Mapping in India, c. 1756-1905 (OUP 2003) as well as numerous articles in journals such as The HistorianModern Asian Studies, and Imago Mundi. He is currently completing a short textbook on the history of the East India Company (1600-1858). His longer-term project is an examination of ‘assassination museums’ in South Asia. His work has been supported by grants and fellowships from, among others, the American Institute of Indian Studies, the Fulbright program, the American Institute for Sri Lankan Studies and the American Institute of Bangladesh Studies.

Thursday, 29 October 2015
4 pm, CSDS Seminar Room