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Colour of ParadiseEmeralds in the Age of the Gunpowder Empires$
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Kris Lane

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780300161311

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300161311.001.0001

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Emeralds of the Shahs

Emeralds of the Shahs

(p.143) Chapter 6 Emeralds of the Shahs
Colour of Paradise

Kris Lane

Yale University Press

This chapter discusses the wealth and tremendous power of Asia's gunpowder empires in their heyday, as suggested by the adventures of Jacques de Coutre. Catholic missionaries, most of them Iberians and Italians, had long sought the ears of Asian sultans and shahs, particularly those of Mughal India and Safavid Persia. Embassies sent by the newly chartered trading companies of Protestant Europe followed closely on their heels. In the years around 1600 the courts of the Mughal Akbar and Persia's Shah Abbas I were veritable hives of European activity, and the atmosphere of relative openness, if not embrace, continued for many decades after their deaths. Travel was dangerous, all the more so when one trafficked in glimmering compact valuables. Pirates roved both the Mediterranean and Afrasian seas, and Bedouin and other bandit-nomads regularly attacked sojourners in the mountains and deserts of Syria.

Keywords:   glimmering compact valuables, pirates, Asia's gunpowder empires, Jacques de Coutre, Catholic missionaries, Mughal India, Safavid Persia

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