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Colombo versus Cannanore: contrasting structures of two colonial port cities (1500-1700)

Biedermann, Zoltan (2009) Colombo versus Cannanore: contrasting structures of two colonial port cities (1500-1700). Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient 53 (3), pp. 413-459. ISSN 0022-4995.

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This article compares the urban structures of early modern Colombo and Cannanore, two South Asian port cities controlled by the Portuguese during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and taken over by the Dutch in 1656 and 1663. It is argued that, whereas Cannanore was an urban complex marked by a set of walls that separated ethnically and religiously distinct neighborhoods, Colombo, less influenced by regulations emanating from Lisbon and Goa and more exposed to local politics in an unusual historical and military context, developed into a more integrated city surrounded by a single external wall. Although, after the Dutch takeover, Cannanore's urban structure did not change much, Colombo's, on the other hand, was entirely transformed. These contrasts draw our attention to the complexity of urban developments in the colonial contexts of South Asia between 1500 and 1700.

Item Type: Article
Keyword(s) / Subject(s): The Empire, Portugal, India, voc, urbanism, port cities, Portuguese empire, Sri Lanka, colonial urbanism, fortifications, cosmopolitanism
School or Research Centre: Birkbeck Schools and Research Centres > School of Arts > Cultures and Languages
Depositing User: Zoltan Biedermann
Date Deposited: 01 Nov 2012 11:20
Last Modified: 30 Oct 2014 10:55

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