Recent studies on the economic and social history of Bengal from the sixteenth to the eighteenth centuries suggest that the region experienced an economic boom in this time span, owing to expansion in the agrarian frontier, a flourishing textile industry, urbanization, trade with the western Gangetic plains, and Indo-European maritime trade. The economic boom began with the incorporation of Bengal into the Mughal Empire (c.1590), which stimulated new urban settlements, overland trade, and growth of cultivation. In addition to a strong state, Bengal had significant resource advantages. Thanks to a long coastline, huge riparian highways of goods traffic, alluvial soil, plentiful water, and consequently high yield of land, parts of early modern Bengal had already been a trading and manufacturing region for centuries. Such advantages, it is proposed, had placed peasants, artisans and merchants of Bengal in a position of...

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