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• One of the most interesting aspects of the medieval period in the 17th century was the growth of urbanization.
• The Arabs, Turkish and Afghans settled in many parts of the country leading to the evolution of towns and cities.
Sources of Knowing About the History of this Period:
(i) The sources of history are travelers’ accounts.
(ii) Monserrate, Flitch, Thomas Roe, Domingo Paes, Nicolo Conti and Abdul Razzaq Samarqandi wrote aboute the life of this period.
i) Some of the important court towns were Lahore, Agra, Fatehpur Sikri and Delhi.
ii) Fatehpur Sikri was the new capital founded by Akbar.
iii) Delhi was known as Shahjahanabad and was buit by Shah Jahan in 1639.
Port and Trading Towns:
(i) Some towns developed as ports due to their proximity to the sea shore.
(ii) Some major ports were Cambay, Surat, Broach, Masulipatanam, Nagapattinam, etc.
(i) Some towns were capital citites. They were centres of administration.
(ii) Thanjavur and Uraiyur were important centres.
Temple Towns and Pilgrimage Centres:
i) Temples towns were important centres of urbanization and led to development of cities, economy and society.
ii) Pilgrims gave huge donaitons to temples. This wealth was used by temple authorities to finance their trade and banking.
iii) Some such important towns were Somnath, Madurai, Trupati, Vrindavan, Ajmer, etc.
How important was Bronze:
(i) Bronze is an alloy compound of copper and tin.
(ii) Chola rulers used this metal to make statues through the ‘lost wax’ technique.
Emergence of Small Towns:
(i) From the 8th century onwards, small towns emerged in India. They emerged from large villages. They had a ‘mandapika’ where villagers sold their produce.
(ii) Likewise, there were market streets, called ‘hatta’, full of shops.
iii) Many villagers came to buy local articles and sell products like horses, camphor, saffron betel nut, spices, salt, etc.
(iv) Normally a Samanta was appointed who fortified the palaces and gave the right to collect taxes from traders, artisans, etc.
Name of Traders:
i) Many kinds of traders existed.
ii) Trader travelled in caravans by forming guilds.
iii) Trade was done on a regular basis within the peninsula and with South-east Asia and China.
(iv) Some other important traders were the Chettiars, Marwari, Banjaras, Baniyas, Muslim Bohras, etc.
Crafts in Towns:
Crafts in Town
(i) Craft work was famous by the name of Bidri in the region.
(ii) The goldsmith, bronzesmith, blacksmith, masons and carpenters were together called as the ‘Panchalas’ or ‘Vishwakarma’.
(iii) Some other crafts were cotton cleaning, spinning and dyeing.