This chapter introduces the central role of coffee in the history of eighteenth-century Yemen during the Qasimi imamate. It also sketches the concept of the “major overseas merchant” as a group tied together not only by their trading investments and shipping routes, but also by the shared yet exclusive materially-oriented social practices and protocols that they engaged in while trading in the southern Arabian Peninsula. The sources and archives that have provided resources for the study are also introduced and framed.
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