By Shireen Mahdavi
This ebook is the 1st significant account of the existence and occasions of a service provider in nineteenth-century Iran or within the heart East. Haj Muhammad Amin al-Zarb (1834–1898) rose from humble beginnings to turn into one among Iran’s wealthiest and such a lot favorite retailers. He equipped up his wealth as a funds changer, a dealer in textiles, invaluable stones, opium, carpets, agricultural items, and staple foodstuffs among different items, and really apt transactions in land. Adept at cultivating strong connections, he grew to become the central provider of luxurious items to the Shah, his court docket, and contributors of the ruling elite; served as deepest banker to the Shah, his major minister, and influential bureaucrats; and have become grasp of the Mint. He had brokers in all of the major cities of Persia and Europe with correspondents in Asia and America.Amin al-Zarb used to be additionally an entrepreneur, industrialist, and innovator. made up our minds to carry to Iran the advances he had witnessed in Europe, he invested in mining, validated factories with imported equipment (such as glass, china, and silk reeling), outfitted a railway line, and instructed the Shah to set up a countrywide financial institution. He additionally turned an recommend of reform and curbs on arbitrary rule. He befriended the recognized Islamic reformer, Jamal al-Din Afghani. An innovator in company, Amin al-Zarb led a truly conventional lifestyles at domestic. talented at getting cash, he used to be however a pious guy who contributed generously to non secular and charitable factors. Shireen Mahdavi attracts on hitherto unpublished kin information to jot down not just a biography of a desirable nineteenth-century service provider but additionally a social background of the interval. Her portrait of Amin al-Zarb additionally offers very important insights into the industrial, social, and political position performed by means of retailers in Iran and in different places within the heart East within the 19th century.
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Additional info for For God, Mammon, and Country: A Nineteenth-Century Persian Merchant, Haj Muhammad Hassan Amin al-Zarb (1834-1898)
2 The fact that the grandfather of Haj Muhammad Hassan bore the honorific title of Ha)i indicates that the family must have had a certain social and economic standing. To have gone on the holy pilgrimage to Mecca, thereby earning the tide of Haji, he must have reached a specific income level. Furthermore, the maternal grandfadier of Haj Muhammad Hassan was rich enough to have built a mosque in his own name in Khoy, and he would only have given his daughter in marriage to a family of similar social standing.
The traditional banking system was operated by the sarrafi (money changers) in major urban centers, sarrafi being a profession in which Amin al-Zarb's forebears were engaged. The sarrafi took care of small transactions, but the large transactions were dealt with by the big merchants, tujjar such as Amin al-Zarb, who conducted die transactions of the diplomatic community, among others. Transactions between the wholesaler and retailer were conducted on die basis of long-term credits. A partial payment would be paid by the retailer to the wholesaler.
Not all agricultural crops increased. The production of wheat, barley, and raw silk decreased, while that of opium, cotton, rice, and fruit increased, contributing to a total increase in agricultural output. This diversification in agricultural output was beneficial from two points of view. First, it prevented the country from being dependent for export on one item that could collapse according to world demand, as was the case with cotton in Egypt following the American Civil War in the nineteenth century.
For God, Mammon, and Country: A Nineteenth-Century Persian Merchant, Haj Muhammad Hassan Amin al-Zarb (1834-1898) by Shireen Mahdavi