THE ARMENIAN FLAG IN THE INDIAN OCEAN IN THE 17TH-18TH CENTURIES
Penetration of Armenians into India and the Far East had started since the pre-Christian times. We find information on the regular visits of Armenians to India and the military aid Armenians showed to India in Cyropaedia by Xenophon (430-355 BC). Already in the 12th century the Armenian seafarer-merchants had a trading colony in Canton. The next wave of the resettlement of some Armenian groups took place in the 17th century. They created one of the largest trading networks of the world, and not only the local authorities but also the European countries had to reckon with it at least for two centuries. Armenians had considerable privileges in almost all the ports. Europeans tried to use that fact for their own purposes. Practically all the European East-Indian companies had been created with the Armenians’ direct participation or help. The Armenians had created a wide branched trading network which included the sea routs of the Indian Ocean and the western part of the Pacific Ocean, branching to the main centers of European trade. Together with it the upper strata of authorities of all the eastern countries that accepted the Armenian flag de facto were involved in the Armenian trade. For several centuries Armenians used their flag outside of their Motherland (where during several centuries the kingdom had ceased to exist) and that flag was recognized both by the local authorities and by Europeans. The Europeans themselves widely used the possibilities and advantages of the Armenian flag.
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