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In Session: The Eighteenth Century Philippines: A Connected Archipelago
3: The Indian Connection: Philippine Commercial and Diplomatic Reorientation Prior to the Bourbon Reforms
Thursday, March 25, 2021
3:00pm – 4:30pm EDT
Linneus University, United States
In 1776, more than a decade after the British occupation of Manila, the Spanish governor general of the Philippines sent a diplomatic mission under the command of Don Miguel Antonio Gómez to Nabab Hyder Ali Bahade of the kingdom of Mysore in Southern India. While the reception in Mangalore provides insights into the performative aspect of diplomatic protocols, the complex web of diplomatic exchange of Hyder Ali and his son Tipu Sultan has been usually studied from the point of view of military history. Both perspectives have neglected commercial aspects. Looking at how the diplomatic episode of 1776 was embedded in a broader context allows to revisit maritime trade relations with new actors and goods involved. The paper combines economic and diplomatic history and aims to discuss the economic historical relevance of the diplomatic mission and the thought processes behind the event. In a first step it looks at the different parties involved and their attempts in both re-orienting trade and getting to terms with geopolitical change. It discusses shifts in the negotiation practices in insular Southeast Asia, the Indian Ocean and Europe in the second half of the eighteenth century and thus ultimately contributes to a nuanced view of macro-regional political and economic developments prior to Bourbon reformism.