Gordon T. Stewart
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The significance of jute
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This chapter is about jute and empire. At the centre of the narrative are Calcutta in West Bengal and Dundee in Scotland. Both cities and their hinterlands prospered by jute; both were blighted by jute. The spinning and weaving of jute in factories began in Dundee in 1838. By 1880s Calcutta had broken the forty-year monopoly of Dundee in the principal markets for jute hessians in North and South America, Australia and even continental Europe. US Department of Agriculture report agreed that the 1890s were the crucial decade marking Calcutta's final displacement of Dundee in the key American market. The privileged British position in India enabled British businessmen to establish enterprises in Calcutta. A small news item in The Statesman, English newspaper in India, in November 1878 offered early evidence of the rapidity and geographical scale of the Calcutta assault on Dundee's export markets.

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Jute and empire

The Calcutta Jute Wallahs and the Landscapes of Empire


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