The World Market and Early Modern Central Asia

  • S. A. M. Adshead


From the middle of the seventeenth century, two developments took place in Central Asia which it is tempting to connect. First, to outward appearance, Central Asia declined: in military power, political stability and international independence; in population, cultivated acreage and urbanization; and in intellectual and artistic creativity. Decline was least deniable with regard to the state. In Transoxania and the oases, the unhopeful Janids lost the capacity to rule in the seventeenth century, were over-run by the ephemeral Persian conqueror Nadir Shah in 1740, and by 1800 had disappeared, with Western Turkestan partitioned between the three city states of Khiva, Bokhara and Kokand. In Semirechie and the steppe, the hopeful Zunghar empire was destroyed between 1750 and 1760 by its own internal dissensions and by the sustained intervention of the Ch’ienlung emperor, who went on to annex Eastern Turkestan from the Afaqi Makhdumzadas. Second, for the first time since the Mongolian explosion, Central Asia became more passive than active in the world order. From being a maker of world history, Central Asia became its recipient. The world institution to which Central Asia first became passive was the world market.


Eighteenth Century World Market Seventeenth Century Sixteenth Century Early Modern Period 
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Copyright information

© S. A. M. Adshead 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. A. M. Adshead
    • 1
  1. 1.University of CanterburyChristchurchNew Zealand

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