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'Quedagh Merchant and Captain Kidd': Armenian merchants vs pirates

Calvin West

June 27, 2021


By h-pem


'Quedagh Merchant and Captain Kidd': Armenian merchants vs pirates

It’s Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises Day! At h-pem we highlight the contribution of energetic entrepreneurs in world economy with —strangely enough — an Armenian twist on “Pirates of the Caribbean!”


Historical animation


Jun. 2021







During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, Armenian owned ships, flying Armenian flags, ploughed the high seas in search of trade. Crossing geographical, political and jurisdictional boundaries, Armenian merchants were able to bridge the East and the West, and negotiate deals between empires.  

“Quedagh Merchant and Captain Kidd (1696)” is an eight-minute animated video by Calvin West, celebrating the ardent aspiration of Armenian merchants who played the role of go-between for countries at odds with one another.


“In April of 1696, a group of Armenian merchants in the city of Surat in India hired a three-hundred-and-fifty-ton vessel called “Quedagh Merchant.” The crew loaded the ship with cotton and departed from Surat, traveled around the tip of India, and reached Bengal in late 1697. There, the Armenian merchants sold their cotton for a variety of cloth, bags of sugar, and other items. The group then applied to the French East India Company for safe passage, which was granted, and the ship began its return journey around the tip of India.” 

This is just the beginning of the saga...  

Wondering what happened after a Scottish pirate decided to seize the vessel? Check out the video below. 

You can also check out Calvin’s updated profile on h-pem here.


  • Quedagh Merchant and Captain Kidd (1696)

    (Video: History of Armenia YouTube channel)

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