© 2019

Indian Cotton Textiles in West Africa

African Agency, Consumer Demand and the Making of the Global Economy, 1750–1850

  • Explores how West African consumers shaped patterns of global trade, influencing economies in Western Europe, South Asia and the Americas

  • Offers a new perspective on the history of South-South globalization during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries

  • Reveals the important role played by Indian cotton textiles in the transatlantic slave trade


Part of the Cambridge Imperial and Post-Colonial Studies Series book series (CIPCSS)

Table of contents

About this book


‘A much-needed, excellently researched history of Senegambia’s non-slave trade role in global commerce, centred on the south-south trade in Indian cloths facilitated by both the French and British empires… The scholarship is of the highest quality.’

—    Bronwen Everill, Gonville & Caius College, University of Cambridge, UK 

This book focuses on the significant role of West African consumers in the development of the global economy. It explores their demand for Indian cotton textiles and how their consumption shaped patterns of global trade, influencing economies and businesses from Western Europe to South Asia. In turn, the book examines how cotton textile production in southern India responded to this demand. Through this perspective of a south-south economic history, the study foregrounds African agency and considers the lasting impact on production and exports in South Asia. It also considers how European commercial and imperial expansion provided a complex web of networks, linking West African consumers and Indian weavers. Crucially, it demonstrates the emergence of the modern global economy.  


Consumers Global trade Senegal River Valley Globalization France Britain European East Indian Companies Imports, exports Slave trade Slavery-based economy Eighteenth century Nineteenth century

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Political Science and EconomicsWaseda UniversityTokyoJapan

About the authors

Kazuo Kobayashi is Associate Professor of Economic History at Waseda University, Tokyo, Japan. He completed his PhD at the London School of Economics and Political Science, UK. His research and teaching focus on African and global economic history.

Bibliographic information

  • Book Title Indian Cotton Textiles in West Africa
  • Book Subtitle African Agency, Consumer Demand and the Making of the Global Economy, 1750–1850
  • Authors Kazuo Kobayashi
  • Series Title Cambridge Imperial and Post-Colonial Studies Series
  • Series Abbreviated Title Cambridge Imperial and Post-Colonial Studies Series
  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2019
  • Publisher Name Palgrave Macmillan, Cham
  • eBook Packages History History (R0)
  • Hardcover ISBN 978-3-030-18674-6
  • Softcover ISBN 978-3-030-18677-7
  • eBook ISBN 978-3-030-18675-3
  • Edition Number 1
  • Number of Pages XX, 258
  • Number of Illustrations 21 b/w illustrations, 5 illustrations in colour
  • Topics World History, Global and Transnational History
    African History
    History of South Asia
    Economic History
    Labor History
  • Buy this book on publisher's site


“Kobayashi’s illuminating focus on African agency invites us to assess the evolution of the global economy and the modern world from a hitherto overlooked perspective. In doing so, this book lights up corners of economic history previously unexplored, posing many more questions and opening new avenues of research. … this book places long-ignored African consumers, Indian artisans, and the cotton cloth that connected them, at the centre of the premodern world, throwing global history wide open to newer insights and interpretations.” (Alka Raman, The Economic History Review, Vol. 73 (3), 2020)

“Kazuo Kobayashi’s book is an innovative and incisive study of consumer interests in the lower Senegal River region as well as their distant reverberations. By tracing out the global effects of West African demand for Indian textiles, Kobayashi not only elucidates South Asian production for African markets but also how West African demands shaped European-South Asian relations. Indian Cotton Textiles in West Africa thus offers a new perspective on global economic history and a fascinating window on linkages between the Atlantic and Indian Ocean worlds.” (Jeremy Prestholdt, University of California, USA)

“This volume provides a new narrative in global history by considering the production, trade and consumption of cloth in Africa, Asia and Europe. For the first time West African consumers are presented as integral in global processes of economic change. Through meticulous research Kazuo Kobayashi demonstrates that the emergence of a global economy can no longer be narrated through Western categories and actors.” (Giorgio Riello, University of Warwick, UK)