This article traces Charles Irvine’s and his extended family’ s engagement with the Swedish East India Company between 1731 and 1770. It shows how changing international and domestic conditions influenced the opportunities British subjects had to cross company lines and national borders and engage in different parts of the Asian trade. Considering the context of the family structure, the article also discusses how immediate and future family interests shaped the agents’ interactions with Asian markets. Covering a period of nearly forty years, the article brings to the fore how adaptable the family was to changing circumstances; its members positioned themselves inside and outside the company in ways that allowed them to maximize profits and minimize risks. The results of the study point to the need to consider the mutual dependency that existed between charted companies and flexible families in East Indian trade.


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pp. 567-595
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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