English Country Traders and Their Relations with Malay Rulers in the Late Eighteenth Century
- Journal of the Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society
- Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society
- Volume 84, Part 1, June 2010, No. 300
- pp. 23-45
- View Citation
- Additional Information
Through their contacts within the region, 'English country traders' operating in the Malay Archipelago between 1750 and 1820 played as important a role in the accumulation of knowledge as did East India Company officials. At its most basic level, their need for contact with the Malays involved the obtaining of provisions: food, water and wood. Trade contacts required a more sophisticated knowledge of Malay protocol and an ability to speak Malay. Political involvement often led to close mutually beneficial relationships with local rulers. Several country traders even acquired local knowledge as a result of extended periods spent living in Malay society. This accumulated knowledge was important for the extension of British influence in Southeast Asia at the turn of the eighteenth century. This article focuses on several of the lesser-known English country traders.