Download PDF by Emrys Chew (auth.): Arming the Periphery: The Arms Trade in the Indian Ocean

By Emrys Chew (auth.)

ISBN-10: 1137006609

ISBN-13: 9781137006608

ISBN-10: 1349346632

ISBN-13: 9781349346639

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38 By 1878, all the European powers had rearmed their infantry with the Chassepot, Snider, and Martini-Henry breech-loaders, all using metallic cartridge cases and steel barrels instead of the iron used in the old muskets. This changeover immediately liberated huge quantities of obsolete weapons for export, mostly percussion guns using caps instead of the flintlock mechanism. Then came the second phase: the single-shot breech-loader had barely been perfected when the repeating or magazine rifle was introduced, again with minimal lags in the procurement of the new weaponry and technology.

But the transfer of weapons and military technology between the European seaborne empires and the states of Africa and Asia was relatively sparing. Small arms were supplied primarily for the 24 Arming the Periphery protection of European people and property. As a military-strategic commodity, they were only on a secondary basis to be sold outright, exchanged for other commodities, or presented as gifts to indigenous rulers. 46 What altered this set of cross-cultural, cross-border relationships was the ebb and flow of great power rivalry, which gathered pace during the second half of the eighteenth century and fed into the mainstream of late nineteenth-century ‘new imperialism’.

89 Arms and ammunition had already figured prominently among the stock-intrade bartered to petty rajas for spices, but the stakes were raised when great magnates like Mahadji Scindia and the Nizam of Hyderabad were drawn into this volatile military market. In 1784, the submission of the Mughal emperor to the ‘protection’ of Mahadji Scindia, the greatest of Maratha warlords, following a brief rearguard action in defence of the heartland of Delhi, signified a watershed in the devolution of political power to the Mughal successor states.

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Arming the Periphery: The Arms Trade in the Indian Ocean during the Age of Global Empire by Emrys Chew (auth.)


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