It is the intention of this paper to analyse the trends relating to commerce and merchant entrepreneurship in the Coromandel coast in the political context in which they were carried out in the eighteenth century. Much has been written in recent times about the nature of historical developments in that century in the Asian continent. The historiography relating to the different parts of Asia has looked afresh at long-held assumptions and a variety of new hypotheses has surfaced charting out changes or the absence of them in these regions. The Indian subcontinent is one of these regions subject to the full flood of revisionist historiography. The most radical revisions in our existing knowledge relate to the Mughal Empire and what happened to its component parts during the eighteenth century. A number of its regions in the inner heartland of the subcontinent have been subject to intense investigation. Whatever be the merit of these new historical interpretations, one thing they have served to do is to assert the autonomy of this century in the historical process and to encourage its study in its own right and on its own terms. The eighteenth century in the Indian subcontinent can no longer be looked upon as merely the collapse of the seventeenth or as a vestibule of the nineteenth.1