Research Programs: Summer Stipends

Period of Performance

7/1/2004 - 8/31/2004

Funding Totals

$5,000.00 (approved)
$5,000.00 (awarded)

Marking the Mocha Trade Network: Architecture, Spatial History and the Port City in Early Modern Yemen

FAIN: FT-52110-04

Nancy Ajung Um
Getty Publications (Binghamton, NY 13902-4400)

I am preparing a book manuscript on the seventeenth and eighteenth-century trade of the port city of Mocha in Yemen and its impact on architecture and urbanism. While most of the fieldwork in Yemen and the research in European archives has been completed, I need to spend two months in the National Archives of the Netherlands in the Hague for a final consultation of the Dutch East India Company records of the Mocha factory and one week at the Museum für Völkerkunde in Berlin to view their collection of early twentieth-century photographs of Yemeni architectural sites. I propose to finish this archival work over the summer so that I may complete my manuscript during the academic year 2004-5.

Media Coverage

Book Review (Review)
Author(s): Sebastian R. Prange
Publication: Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East
Date: 11/1/2011

Book Review (Review)
Author(s): Ulrike Freitag
Publication: Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies
Date: 2/1/2011

Book Review (Review)
Author(s): John L. Meloy
Publication: International Journal of Middle East Studies
Date: 5/1/2011

Associated Products

The Merchant Houses of Mocha: Trade and Architecture in an Indian Ocean Port (Book)
Title: The Merchant Houses of Mocha: Trade and Architecture in an Indian Ocean Port
Author: Nancy Um
Abstract: Gaining prominence as a seaport under the Ottomans in the mid-1500s, the city of Mocha on the Red Sea coast of Yemen pulsed with maritime commerce. Its very name became synonymous with Yemen's most important revenue-producing crop - coffee. After the imams of the Qasimi dynasty ousted the Ottomans in 1635, Mocha's trade turned eastward toward the Indian Ocean and coastal India. Merchants and shipowners from Asian, African, and European shores flocked to the city to trade in Arabian coffee and aromatics, Indian textiles, Asian spices, and silver from the New World. Nancy Um tells how and why Mocha's urban shape and architecture took the forms they did. Mocha was a hub in a great trade network encompassing overseas cities, agricultural hinterlands, and inland market centers. All these connected places, together with the functional demands of commerce in the city, the social stratification of its residents, and the imam's desire for wealth, contributed to Mocha's architectural and urban form. Eventually, in the mid-1800s, the Ottomans regained control over Yemen and abandoned Mocha as their coastal base. Its trade and its population diminished and its magnificent buildings began to crumble, until few traces are left of them today. This book helps bring Mocha to life once again.
Year: 2009
Primary URL:
Secondary URL:
Publisher: University of Washington Press
Type: Single author monograph
ISBN: 978-029598911