History - Trade & Commerce in ancient India

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History - Trade & Commerce in ancient India

Metallurgy is as old as pre-historic times. Mining of metals was known even in pre-Vedic period and during the Harappa period various metals like cop-per, lead, silver were in use.

During Vedic period, metal (ayas) was chiefly of two kinds—krishna ayas (black metal or iron) used during later Vedic period and loh ayas (copper).

The Jatakas refer to eighteen important handicrafts and industries.

The Vaishyas developed institu-tions like Sreni, Nigama and Puga to regu-late trade and avoid intrusion by other varnas and develop monopoly.

Proper rules of conduct of trade were laid by the head of trade guilds, known as Sarthavaha or Srenipramukha. The rules were called Samay and Srenidharma.

Taxila, Pushkalavati, Kapisa and Vidisha prospered as trade centres, under the Indo-Greek rulers.

Kautilya asked the king to develop measures to stop obstruction of the trade routes by his favourite men (vallabhas). Frontier guards (Antapalas) were also appointed.

The close contacts between the commercial classes and the king’s court is very clear

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