important sources for the study of the economic history.
One advantage they had was that they were relatively free from the native
prejudices. They did not attach themselves to any particular king or sultan,
and, hence, could give a relatively objective picture about India.
Portuguese Jesuit Missionaries We will now deal with some of the most
important travellers who visited India, especially between 1600 and 1800.
Akbar developed direct contacts with the Europeans especially after his
Gujarat campaign. He further invited religious people to his court and thus
we have the Portuguese Jesuit missionaries like Father Monseratte residing
in Fatehpur Sikri with Akbar. He recorded valuable information about the
king’s religious life and his foundation of Din-i-Illahi. It was, however, from
the time of Jahangir that the Europeans started pouring into India, especially
the Dutch, the English and the French.
English Merchants Englishmen like William Hawkins, Ralph Fitch, John
Mildenhall, William Finch, Thomas Roe, etc., came to India, some of them as
traders and others as envoys and ambassadors.
William Hawkins, for instance, went to the court of Jahangir to get some
trading concessions to trade at Surat and obtained a farman to trade in Surat.
The most important mission, however, was that of Sir Thomas Roe in 1615,
to the court of Jahangir. He, apart from obtaining permission, had left us
valuable information about the port of the Surat and about the Mughal way of
conducting the trade. He elaborately described the port town of Surat, the
grandeur of the Mughal court and the role of the other European companies
in India.
John Fryer, an Englishman, was the contemporary of the Frenchman Abbe
Carre in India and his travels are recorded in the book A New Account of the
East Indies. He was in India between 1672 and 1681. He talks of the
participation of the both European and the Indian merchants in various port
towns of India and the Far East.
French Travellers
The most important traveler of the mid-17th century was a Frenchman,
Francois Bernier (1656–58). His book is called Travels in the Mughal
Empire. He extensively traveled      round the length and the breadth of the