July 12, 2013

Arrival of Europeans in India

Many trading companies were formed in Europe for trade with India and other parts of Asia and Africa. These trading companies mainly belonged to Portugal, Holland, England, France and Denmark.

  • Vasco-de-gama discovered a sea route to India in 1498 A.D.
  • Initially the Portuguese controlled the trade route along the Malabar coast.
  • Their position was consolidated by able generals like Almeida and Albuqureque who established trade settlements in Goa, Daman and Diu.
  • They were the first to come and last to leave India.

  • The Dutch had been purchasing the eastern produce (spices) from the Portuguese in Portugal and selling it in Europe.
  • In 1602 they founded the Dutch East India Company to carry on this trade only with the East, because they were interested only in the spices produced in East India.
  • This commercial interest of the Dutch brought them to India. They established their trading centres at Surat, Broach, Ahmedabad, Cochin, Nagapatam in Madras and Masulipatnam in Andhra, Chinsura (in Bengal), Patna and Agra.
  • In 1658, they won Ceylon from the Portuguese.
  • But the English won the possessions of the Dutch one by one.
  • By 1759 A.D., their power in India came to an end.

  • French established the French East India Company to trade with India and the East Indies. This Company set up its factories at Surat and Masulipatnam.
  • In 1674 A.D., the French established Pondicherry and made it their headquarters. The French Company had its factories also on the east and west coasts of India such as their factories in Chandernagar, Mahe and Karikal.
  • In 1742 A.D., France appointed Dupleix as the Governor of their possessions in India. His idea of establishing the French Empire in India led to the wars between the two powers, the English and the French. At last the English emerged victorious in these wars and they were able to contain the French influence in India.

 The East India Company (also the East India Trading Company, English East India Company, and then the British East India Company) was an early English joint-stock company that was formed initially for pursuing trade with the East Indies, but that ended up trading with the Indian subcontinent and China.
  •  The East India Company traded mainly in cotton, silk, indigo dye, saltpetre, tea, and opium.
  • Company rule in India, which effectively began in 1757 after the Battle of Plassey, lasted until 1858, when, following the events of the Indian Rebellion of 1857, and under the Government of India Act 1858, the British Crown assumed direct administration of India in the new British Raj.


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