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From the Indian Ocean to the MediterraneanThe Global Trade Networks of Armenian Merchants from New Julfa$
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Sebouh DavidAslanian

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780520266872

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520266872.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 27 September 2021

The Circulation of Men and Credit: The Commenda and the Family Firm

The Circulation of Men and Credit: The Commenda and the Family Firm

(p.121) 6 The Circulation of Men and Credit: The Commenda and the Family Firm
From the Indian Ocean to the Mediterranean

Sebouh David Aslanian

University of California Press

This chapter explores the role of the commenda contract in Julfan trade during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries by situating the commenda within the context of the “family firm,” the basic organizational unit of Julfan commerce. It explores the legal and economic institution of the commenda contract among the Julfan merchants and argues that the commenda was the principal mechanism among Julfans for the circulation of men and credit. As a means of bringing together a principal merchant, known as a khwaja among the Julfans, the commenda was an economic institution of possibly Islamic origins and was widely used in the Mediterranean in the medieval period. The chapter surveys the origins and functions of the Mediterranean commenda and through a rigorous examination of Julfan commercial law and of surviving commenda contracts points out the crucial differences of this legal-commercial institution among Julfan merchants.

Keywords:   Julfan, commenda, family firm, merchants, credit, Mediterranean, commercial law, trade, khwaja

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