study o the most important merchant colonies o both western and easternEuropeans in the whole o Europe, western and eastern. Tis is considered oneo the main strengths o this volume as the merchant colonies in the Russian,Habsburg and Ottoman Empires, are currently so underrepresented in English-speaking publications.Te distinction o westerners and easterners has long been made by FredericMauro who has indicated ‘large ethnic ormations o eastern origin, which stoodout against the purely European western background’. Equally, Philip Curtin,a pioneer on the subject o trade diasporas, addressed both western Europeansand ‘the ethnic ormations o eastern origin’ trading beyond their territoriesas ‘trade diasporas’.
Tis book reveals that merchant colonies shared similarorganizations, structures and development in the English, Dutch, French, Ger-man, Russian, Greek and Armenian cases in European cities in the early modern period. Merchant colonies have also been described as ‘trade diasporas’. Teterm coined by Abner Cohen reers to ‘a nation o socially interdependent, butspatially dispersed communities’.
Philip Curtin in his seminal book examines various groups o trade diasporas that carried international trade transcending national boundaries by orming world-wide networks.
Historical diasporas, particularly the three classical ones, those o the Armenians, Greeks and Jews,epitomize the resilience o traditional orms o association in certain groups whoor centuries transcended the boundaries o states and empires. In the presentstudy we do not adopt the concept o ‘diaspora’ or two reasons. Firstly, we deal with both western and eastern Europeans and this term does not apply to Eng-lish, Dutch, German, etc. merchant colonies. Secondly, the term ‘diaspora’ hastaken another connotation as it has been used by cultural and postcolonial stud-ies to orm the discipline o diaspora studies with an immense literature; overthirty new groups have ound shelter now under this term.
Concerning dia-spora people this book ocuses on the trade diasporas o Greeks and Armenians,keeping a comparative perspective with the Jews. Te reason or not including Jewish merchant colonies in this volume is that Jews were dispersed in all major western and eastern European countries or centuries so they, usually, ormed part o the local societies. Furthermore, Jewish diaspora has been extensivelystudied in the Anglo-Saxon bibliography and also in a comparative perspectiveand in many o the chapters o this volume comparisons with the Jewish mer-chants are drawn (see or example, Chapter 3 by Pierrick Pourchasse, Chapter 4by Ina Baghdiantz McCabe and Chapter 8 by Iannis Carras).
Te comparative dimension is also another one o the strengths o the pre-sent volume. Most chapters deal with more than one ethnic merchant colony inone or more countries. For example, English merchant colonies are examinedin comparison with the Scottish and the Dutch in the Baltic and Mediterra-nean ports; German and Italian merchant colonies are examined in English