Cut from the Same Cloth: Salem, Zanzibar, and the Consolidation of the Indo-Atlantic World, 1790-1875

Morrison, Joshua, History - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Virginia
Varon, Elizabeth, History, University of Virginia
Bishara, Fahad, History, University of Virginia

“Cut from the Same Cloth: Salem, Zanzibar, and the Consolidation of the Indo-Atlantic World, 1790-1875” explores commercial adaptability in the face of systemic economic transformation. Based on mercantile and governmental records from the United States, Great Britain, and Tanzania, it illuminates the role of international trade in the rapid expansion of the American economy during the mid-nineteenth century. Pushed to the brink by war and recession, the merchants of the once thriving seaport of Salem, Massachusetts struggled to carve out a future in a region increasingly dominated by the financial hub of Boston and the manufacturing center of Lowell. Long successful intermediaries between the United States and far-flung ports, Salem’s merchants forged a new trading network in the Western Indian Ocean by coopting the rising tide of manufactured goods and the auspices of the federal government to push into new markets, especially the island of Zanzibar, a central node in the loose, inter-ethnic Omani Empire that spanned the coasts of Southeast Arabia and East Africa. Although each party was motivated by profoundly divergent concerns, on Zanzibar, American, Indian, and Omani merchants slowly developed a mutually comprehensible and profitable commercial system that led to an increasing flow of goods, tying together New England and the Western Indian Ocean for fifty years.

PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
Salem, Zanzibar, Commerce, Diplomacy, Oman, United States, Nineteenth Century, Cotton Cloth , Merchants, Trade Networks, Industrialization , Massachusetts , Commodities, Cross-Cultural Trade, Contracts, Transnational History , Civil War, Global History
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