what were the major economic developments in medieval india

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India‘s share of the world economy declined from 24.4% in 1700 to 4.2% in 1950 duringĀ British rule, with significant deindustrialisation and decline in global industrial output share.
The medieval period in India, spanning from around the 8th to the 16th century, witnessed several significant economic developments. Here are some of the major economic developments during this time:

Growth of Trade and Commerce

  • There was a flourishing trade and commerce both within India and with other parts of the world during the medieval period.
  • The Delhi Sultanate and the Mughal Empire facilitated the growth of trade by providing a stable political environment and improving road networks.
  • Major trade routes like the Silk Road and the Indian Ocean maritime trade routes connected India with Central Asia, West Asia, Europe, and Southeast Asia.
  • Indian textiles, spices, precious stones, and other goods were in high demand in foreign markets.

Urbanization and Growth of Cities

  • The medieval period saw the rise of many urban centers and cities across India.
  • Cities like Delhi, Agra, Fatehpur Sikri, Lahore, and Vijayanagar became important economic and cultural hubs.
  • The growth of cities was facilitated by the expansion of trade, the development of handicrafts, and the patronage of rulers.

Development of Handicrafts and Artisanal Industries

  • Handicrafts and artisanal industries, such as textiles, metalwork, pottery, and jewelry-making, flourished during this period.
  • The Mughal Empire, in particular, was known for its patronage of arts and crafts, leading to the development of intricate designs and techniques.

Agricultural Developments

  • Agriculture remained the backbone of the Indian economy during the medieval period.
  • Rulers like Alauddin Khalji and Sher Shah Suri introduced land revenue reforms and encouraged agricultural expansion.
  • Irrigation systems, such as canals and wells, were developed to support agricultural activities.

Monetization and Banking

  • The use of coins and currency became more widespread during the medieval period.
  • The Delhi Sultanate and the Mughal Empire issued their own coins, facilitating trade and economic transactions.
  • Banking and credit systems also emerged, with the involvement of merchants and moneylenders.

Taxation and Revenue Systems

  • Rulers during the medieval period implemented various taxation systems to generate revenue for their empires.
  • Land revenue was a significant source of income, with taxes like kharaj, jizya, and zakat being levied.
  • Other taxes, such as customs duties and market taxes, were also collected.

Growth of Mercantile Communities

  • Mercantile communities, such as the Banjaras, Marwaris, and Gujaratis, played a crucial role in facilitating trade and commerce during the medieval period.
  • These communities established trade networks and contributed to the economic prosperity of the region.

These economic developments during the medieval period laid the foundation for the growth of trade, urbanization, and the emergence of a more complex economic system in India.

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