Indian Ocean Trade and Sultanic Authority: The Nazir of Jedda and the Mamluk Political Economy
Faced with a mounting economic crisis, the Mamluk sultan al-Ashraf Barsbāy (r. 1422- 1438) sought new sources of revenue from the commercial economy of the Red Sea port of Jedda, which was emerging in the 15th century as a hub for maritime trade between the Indian Ocean and Mediterranean. This article examines the career of the first nāẓir, or financial supervisor, of Jedda, a Coptic secretary appointed by Sultan Barsbāy. A glimpse at his career sheds light on strategies employed by the Mamluk sultan to align his household bureaucracy with the business of trade at Jedda and the interests of influential merchant networks, as well as the limitations of such strategies.
Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient
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