Armenian Merchants in the 17th Century – Trade Links Between Armenians, Swedes, and Persians

Armenian Merchants in the 17th Century

In the 17th century, Armenian merchants introduced the Swedes to Persians, establishing strong trade relations with and between them.

In 1687, the King of Sweden Charles XI signed a decree allowing five Armenian traders to import silk into Sweden from Persia. The decree, which is now kept in the Central Museum of Stockholm, contains the names of the first Armenians in Sweden – Anush Vardanyan, Maruta Nersisyan, Meliknaz Anushyan, Maruta Poghosyan, and Anush Poghosyan.

Never before have the Swedes come into contact with the Persians: the connection between Sweden and Iran, which later developed into close trade and economic cooperation, was established by Armenian merchants.

One of the seven gilded swords that the Armenian traders from New Jugha (Iran) handed over to King of Sweden Charles XI as a gift from the Persian Shah Suleiman I is now stored in Sweden’s Royal Armory. In addition, the Persian Shah through Armenian traders gave the Swedish king seven horses with golden saddles and other precious gifts.

In response to the generous gifts of the Shah, Charles XI provided Armenian merchants with private possessions in Narva, where a large warehouse for the storage of Persian silk was built especially for them.

For 10 years, Armenian traders successfully imported Persian silk to Sweden through the Russian Empire. But the Great Northern War between Sweden and Russia (1700-1721) put the trade of Armenian merchants to a stop. After the end of the Great Northern War, the trade relations did not recover since the city of Narva had been destroyed.

King of Sweden Charles XI
Persian Shah Suleiman I




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