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British East India Company

British East India Company

Overview
The East India Company (also known as the English East India Company, and, after the Treaty of Union
Treaty of Union
The Treaty of Union is the name given to the agreement that led to the creation of the united kingdom of Great Britain, the political union of the Kingdom of England and the Kingdom of Scotland, which took effect on 1 May 1707...

, the British East India Company) was an early English joint-stock company that was formed initially for pursuing trade with the East Indies
Indies
The Indies is a term that has been used to describe the lands of South and Southeast Asia, occupying all of the present India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, the Maldives, and also Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Brunei, Singapore, the Philippines, East Timor, Malaysia and...

, but that ended up trading mainly with the Indian subcontinent
Indian subcontinent
The Indian subcontinent, also Indian Subcontinent, Indo-Pak Subcontinent or South Asian Subcontinent is a region of the Asian continent on the Indian tectonic plate from the Hindu Kush or Hindu Koh, Himalayas and including the Kuen Lun and Karakoram ranges, forming a land mass which extends...

 and China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

. The Company was granted an English Royal Charter
Royal Charter
A royal charter is a formal document issued by a monarch as letters patent, granting a right or power to an individual or a body corporate. They were, and are still, used to establish significant organizations such as cities or universities. Charters should be distinguished from warrants and...

, under the name Governor and Company of Merchants of London Trading into the East Indies, by Elizabeth I
Elizabeth I of England
Elizabeth I was queen regnant of England and Ireland from 17 November 1558 until her death. Sometimes called The Virgin Queen, Gloriana, or Good Queen Bess, Elizabeth was the fifth and last monarch of the Tudor dynasty...

 on 31 December 1600, making it the oldest among several similarly formed European East India Companies
East India Company (disambiguation)
The East India Company, also known as the English East India Company and the British East India Company, was a historical English, and later British, company, founded in 1600, and chartered with the monopoly of trading with Southeast Asia, East Asia, and India.East India Company may also refer to...

, the largest of which was the Dutch East India Company
Dutch East India Company
The Dutch East India Company was a chartered company established in 1602, when the States-General of the Netherlands granted it a 21-year monopoly to carry out colonial activities in Asia...

.
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Timeline

1600   The British East India Company is chartered.

1639   Madras (now Chennai), India, is founded by the British East India Company on a sliver of land bought from local Nayak rulers.

1773   The Parliament of Great Britain passes the Tea Act, designed to save the British East India Company by granting it a monopoly on the North American tea trade.

1773   Just before the beginning of the American Revolutionary War, several of the British East India Company's tea ships are set ablaze at the old seaport of Annapolis, Maryland.

1803   Second Anglo-Maratha War: Battle of Assaye between the British East India Company and the Maratha Empire in India.

1806   The Vellore Mutiny is the first instance of a mutiny by Indian sepoys against the British East India Company.

1839   The British East India Company captures Aden.

1842   Dr. William Brydon, an assistant surgeon in the British East India Company Army during the First Anglo-Afghan War, becomes famous for being the sole survivor of an army of 4,500 men and 12,000 camp followers when he reaches the safety of a garrison in Jalalabad.

1856   The Kingdom of Awadh is annexed by the British East India Company after a peaceful abdication of Wajid Ali Shah, the king of Awadh.

1857   The British East India Company disbands the 34th Regiment of Bengal Native Infantry whose sepoy Mangal Pandey had earlier revolted against the British and is considered to be the First Martyr in the War of Indian Independence.

 
Encyclopedia
The East India Company (also known as the English East India Company, and, after the Treaty of Union
Treaty of Union
The Treaty of Union is the name given to the agreement that led to the creation of the united kingdom of Great Britain, the political union of the Kingdom of England and the Kingdom of Scotland, which took effect on 1 May 1707...

, the British East India Company) was an early English joint-stock company that was formed initially for pursuing trade with the East Indies
Indies
The Indies is a term that has been used to describe the lands of South and Southeast Asia, occupying all of the present India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, the Maldives, and also Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Brunei, Singapore, the Philippines, East Timor, Malaysia and...

, but that ended up trading mainly with the Indian subcontinent
Indian subcontinent
The Indian subcontinent, also Indian Subcontinent, Indo-Pak Subcontinent or South Asian Subcontinent is a region of the Asian continent on the Indian tectonic plate from the Hindu Kush or Hindu Koh, Himalayas and including the Kuen Lun and Karakoram ranges, forming a land mass which extends...

 and China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

. The Company was granted an English Royal Charter
Royal Charter
A royal charter is a formal document issued by a monarch as letters patent, granting a right or power to an individual or a body corporate. They were, and are still, used to establish significant organizations such as cities or universities. Charters should be distinguished from warrants and...

, under the name Governor and Company of Merchants of London Trading into the East Indies, by Elizabeth I
Elizabeth I of England
Elizabeth I was queen regnant of England and Ireland from 17 November 1558 until her death. Sometimes called The Virgin Queen, Gloriana, or Good Queen Bess, Elizabeth was the fifth and last monarch of the Tudor dynasty...

 on 31 December 1600, making it the oldest among several similarly formed European East India Companies
East India Company (disambiguation)
The East India Company, also known as the English East India Company and the British East India Company, was a historical English, and later British, company, founded in 1600, and chartered with the monopoly of trading with Southeast Asia, East Asia, and India.East India Company may also refer to...

, the largest of which was the Dutch East India Company
Dutch East India Company
The Dutch East India Company was a chartered company established in 1602, when the States-General of the Netherlands granted it a 21-year monopoly to carry out colonial activities in Asia...

. After a rival English company challenged its monopoly in the late 17th century, the two companies were merged in 1708 to form the United Company of Merchants of England Trading to the East Indies, commonly styled the Honourable East India Company, and abbreviated, HEIC; the Company was colloquially referred to as John Company, and in India as Company Bahadur (Hindustani
Hindustani language
Hindi-Urdu is an Indo-Aryan language and the lingua franca of North India and Pakistan. It is also known as Hindustani , and historically, as Hindavi or Rekhta...

 bahādur, "brave"/"authority").

The East India Company traded mainly in cotton, silk, indigo dye
Indigo dye
Indigo dye is an organic compound with a distinctive blue color . Historically, indigo was a natural dye extracted from plants, and this process was important economically because blue dyes were once rare. Nearly all indigo dye produced today — several thousand tons each year — is synthetic...

, saltpetre
Potassium nitrate
Potassium nitrate is a chemical compound with the formula KNO3. It is an ionic salt of potassium ions K+ and nitrate ions NO3−.It occurs as a mineral niter and is a natural solid source of nitrogen. Its common names include saltpetre , from medieval Latin sal petræ: "stone salt" or possibly "Salt...

, tea, and opium
Opium
Opium is the dried latex obtained from the opium poppy . Opium contains up to 12% morphine, an alkaloid, which is frequently processed chemically to produce heroin for the illegal drug trade. The latex also includes codeine and non-narcotic alkaloids such as papaverine, thebaine and noscapine...

. The Company also came to rule large areas of India, exercising military power and assuming administrative functions, to the exclusion, gradually, of its commercial pursuits; it effectively functioned as a megacorporation. Company rule in India
Company rule in India
Company rule in India refers to the rule or dominion of the British East India Company on the Indian subcontinent...

, which effectively began in 1757 after the Battle of Plassey
Battle of Plassey
The Battle of Plassey , 23 June 1757, was a decisive British East India Company victory over the Nawab of Bengal and his French allies, establishing Company rule in South Asia which expanded over much of the Indies for the next hundred years...

, lasted until 1858, when, following the events of the Indian Rebellion of 1857
Indian Rebellion of 1857
The Indian Rebellion of 1857 began as a mutiny of sepoys of the British East India Company's army on 10 May 1857, in the town of Meerut, and soon escalated into other mutinies and civilian rebellions largely in the upper Gangetic plain and central India, with the major hostilities confined to...

, and under the Government of India Act 1858
Government of India Act 1858
The Government of India Act 1858 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom passed on August 2, 1858. Its provisions called for the liquidation of the British East India Company and the transference of its functions to the British Crown...

, the British Crown assumed direct administration of India in the new British Raj
British Raj
British Raj was the British rule in the Indian subcontinent between 1858 and 1947; The term can also refer to the period of dominion...

. The Company itself was finally dissolved on 1 January 1874, as a result of the East India Stock Dividend Redemption Act 1873. The East India Company often issued coinage bearing its stamp in the regions it had control over.

The Company long held a privileged position in relation to the British Government. As a result, it was frequently granted special rights and privileges, including trade monopolies and exemptions. These caused resentment
Resentment
Resentment is the experience of a negative emotion felt as a result of a real or imagined wrong done. Etymologically, the word originates from French "ressentir", re-, intensive prefix, and sentir "to feel"; from the Latin "sentire"...

 among its competitors, who saw unfair advantage in the Company's position. Despite this resentment, the Company remained a powerful force for over 250 years.

Founding



Soon after the defeat of the Spanish Armada
Spanish Armada
This article refers to the Battle of Gravelines, for the modern navy of Spain, see Spanish NavyThe Spanish Armada was the Spanish fleet that sailed against England under the command of the Duke of Medina Sidonia in 1588, with the intention of overthrowing Elizabeth I of England to stop English...

 in 1588, London merchants presented a petition to Queen Elizabeth I
Elizabeth I of England
Elizabeth I was queen regnant of England and Ireland from 17 November 1558 until her death. Sometimes called The Virgin Queen, Gloriana, or Good Queen Bess, Elizabeth was the fifth and last monarch of the Tudor dynasty...

 for permission to sail to the Indian Ocean. The permission was granted and in 1591 three ships sailed from England around the Cape of Good Hope
Cape of Good Hope
The Cape of Good Hope is a rocky headland on the Atlantic coast of the Cape Peninsula, South Africa.There is a misconception that the Cape of Good Hope is the southern tip of Africa, because it was once believed to be the dividing point between the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. In fact, the...

 to the Arabian Sea
Arabian Sea
The Arabian Sea is a region of the Indian Ocean bounded on the east by India, on the north by Pakistan and Iran, on the west by the Arabian Peninsula, on the south, approximately, by a line between Cape Guardafui in northeastern Somalia and Kanyakumari in India...

. One of them, the Edward Bonaventure, then sailed around Cape Comorin and on to the Malay Peninsula
Malay Peninsula
The Malay Peninsula or Thai-Malay Peninsula is a peninsula in Southeast Asia. The land mass runs approximately north-south and, at its terminus, is the southern-most point of the Asian mainland...

 and subsequently returned to England in 1594. In 1596, three more ships sailed east; however, these were all lost at sea. Two years later, on 24 September 1598, another group of merchants, having raised £30,133 in capital, met in London to form a corporation. Although their first attempt was not completely successful, they nonetheless sought the Queen's unofficial approval, purchased ships for their venture, increased their capital to £68,373, and convened again a year later. This time they succeeded, and on 31 December 1600, the Queen granted a Royal Charter
Royal Charter
A royal charter is a formal document issued by a monarch as letters patent, granting a right or power to an individual or a body corporate. They were, and are still, used to establish significant organizations such as cities or universities. Charters should be distinguished from warrants and...

 to "George, Earl of Cumberland
George Clifford, 3rd Earl of Cumberland
Sir George Clifford, 3rd Earl of Cumberland, KG was an English peer, as well as a naval commander and courtier in the court of Queen Elizabeth I.-Background:...

, and 215 Knight
Knight
A knight was a member of a class of lower nobility in the High Middle Ages.By the Late Middle Ages, the rank had become associated with the ideals of chivalry, a code of conduct for the perfect courtly Christian warrior....

s, Aldermen, and Burgesses" under the name, Governor and Company of Merchants of London trading with the East Indies. For a period of fifteen years the charter awarded the newly formed company a monopoly on trade with all countries east of the Cape of Good Hope and west of the Straits of Magellan. Sir James Lancaster
James Lancaster
Sir James Lancaster was a prominent Elizabethan trader and privateer.Lancaster came from Basingstoke in Hampshire. In his early life, he was a soldier and a trader in Portugal...

 commanded the first East India Company voyage in 1601.

Initially, the Company struggled in the spice trade
Spice trade
Civilizations of Asia were involved in spice trade from the ancient times, and the Greco-Roman world soon followed by trading along the Incense route and the Roman-India routes...

 due to the competition from the already well established Dutch East India Company
Dutch East India Company
The Dutch East India Company was a chartered company established in 1602, when the States-General of the Netherlands granted it a 21-year monopoly to carry out colonial activities in Asia...

. The Company opened a factory (trading post)
Factory (trading post)
Factory was the English term for the trading posts system originally established by Europeans in foreign territories, first within different states of medieval Europe, and later in their colonial possessions...

 in Bantam
Bantam (city)
Bantam in Banten province near the western end of Java was a strategically important site and formerly a major trading city, with a secure harbor on the Sunda Strait through which all ocean-going traffic passed, at the mouth of Banten River that provided a navigable passage for light craft into...

 on the first voyage and imports of pepper
Black pepper
Black pepper is a flowering vine in the family Piperaceae, cultivated for its fruit, which is usually dried and used as a spice and seasoning. The fruit, known as a peppercorn when dried, is approximately in diameter, dark red when fully mature, and, like all drupes, contains a single seed...

 from Java
Java
Java is an island of Indonesia. With a population of 135 million , it is the world's most populous island, and one of the most densely populated regions in the world. It is home to 60% of Indonesia's population. The Indonesian capital city, Jakarta, is in west Java...

 were an important part of the Company's trade for twenty years. The factory in Bantam was closed in 1683. During this time ships belonging to the company arriving in India docked at Surat
Surat
Surat , also known as Suryapur, is the commercial capital city of the Indian state of Gujarat. Surat is India's Eighth most populous city and Ninth-most populous urban agglomeration. It is also administrative capital of Surat district and one of the fastest growing cities in India. The city proper...

, which was established as a trade transit point in 1608. In the next two years, the Company built its first factory in south India in the town of Machilipatnam
Machilipatnam
Machilipatnam is a city and a special grade municipality in the Krishna district, Andhra Pradesh, India. It is located south east of state capital, Hyderabad.-History:...

 on the Coromandel Coast
Coromandel Coast
The Coromandel Coast is the name given to the southeastern coast of the Indian Subcontinent between Cape Comorin and False Divi Point...

 of the Bay of Bengal
Bay of Bengal
The Bay of Bengal , the largest bay in the world, forms the northeastern part of the Indian Ocean. It resembles a triangle in shape, and is bordered mostly by the Eastern Coast of India, southern coast of Bangladesh and Sri Lanka to the west and Burma and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands to the...

. The high profits reported by the Company after landing in India initially prompted King James I
James I of England
James VI and I was King of Scots as James VI from 24 July 1567 and King of England and Ireland as James I from the union of the English and Scottish crowns on 24 March 1603...

 to grant subsidiary licenses to other trading companies in England. But in 1609 he renewed the charter given to the Company for an indefinite period, including a clause which specified that the charter would cease to be in force if the trade turned unprofitable for three consecutive years.

The Company was led by one Governor and 24 directors
British East India Company directors
The following list of East India Company directors is taken from the “Alphabetical List of Directors of the East India Company from 1758 to 1858”, compiled by C.H. & D...

, who made up the Court of Directors. They, in turn, reported to the Court of Proprietors, which appointed them. Ten committees reported to the Court of Directors.

Foothold in India



English traders frequently engaged in hostilities with their Dutch and Portuguese counterparts in the Indian Ocean. The Company achieved a major victory over the Portuguese in the Battle of Swally
Battle of Swally
The naval Battle of Swally took place on 29–30 November 1612 off the coast of Suvali , a village near the city of Surat, Gujarat, India, and was a victory for four English East India Company galleons over four Portuguese naus and 26 barks .-Importance:This relatively small naval battle is...

 in 1612. The Company decided to explore the feasibility of gaining a territorial foothold in mainland India, with official sanction of both countries, and requested that the Crown launch a diplomatic mission. In 1612, Sir Thomas Roe
Thomas Roe
Sir Thomas Roe was an English diplomat of the Elizabethan and Jacobean periods. Roe was an accomplished scholar and a patron of learning.-Life:...

 was instructed by James I to visit the Mughal Emperor
Mughal Empire
The Mughal Empire ,‎ or Mogul Empire in traditional English usage, was an imperial power from the Indian Subcontinent. The Mughal emperors were descendants of the Timurids...

 Nuruddin Salim Jahangir
Jahangir
Jahangir was the ruler of the Mughal Empire from 1605 until his death. The name Jahangir is from Persian جهانگیر,meaning "Conqueror of the World"...

 (r. 1605 - 1627) to arrange for a commercial treaty which would give the Company exclusive rights to reside and build factories in Surat
Surat
Surat , also known as Suryapur, is the commercial capital city of the Indian state of Gujarat. Surat is India's Eighth most populous city and Ninth-most populous urban agglomeration. It is also administrative capital of Surat district and one of the fastest growing cities in India. The city proper...

 and other areas. In return, the Company offered to provide the Emperor with goods and rarities from the European market. This mission was highly successful as Jahangir sent a letter to James through Sir Thomas Roe:

Mughal king Jahangir allowed British Company to establish their business in Gujrat. European powers French, British, and Dutch began to fight among themselves for hegemony in India.

Expansion



The Company, benefiting from the imperial patronage, soon expanded its commercial trading operations, eclipsing the Portuguese Estado da India, which had established bases in Goa
Goa
Goa , a former Portuguese colony, is India's smallest state by area and the fourth smallest by population. Located in South West India in the region known as the Konkan, it is bounded by the state of Maharashtra to the north, and by Karnataka to the east and south, while the Arabian Sea forms its...

, Chittagong
Chittagong
Chittagong ) is a city in southeastern Bangladesh and the capital of an eponymous district and division. Built on the banks of the Karnaphuli River, the city is home to Bangladesh's busiest seaport and has a population of over 4.5 million, making it the second largest city in the country.A trading...

 and Bombay (which was later ceded to England as part of the dowry
Dowry
A dowry is the money, goods, or estate that a woman brings forth to the marriage. It contrasts with bride price, which is paid to the bride's parents, and dower, which is property settled on the bride herself by the groom at the time of marriage. The same culture may simultaneously practice both...

 of Catherine de Braganza
Catherine of Braganza
Catherine of Braganza was a Portuguese infanta and queen consort of England, Scotland and Ireland as the wife of King Charles II.She married the king in 1662...

). The Company created trading post
Trading post
A trading post was a place or establishment in historic Northern America where the trading of goods took place. The preferred travel route to a trading post or between trading posts, was known as a trade route....

s in Surat
Surat
Surat , also known as Suryapur, is the commercial capital city of the Indian state of Gujarat. Surat is India's Eighth most populous city and Ninth-most populous urban agglomeration. It is also administrative capital of Surat district and one of the fastest growing cities in India. The city proper...

 (where a factory was built in 1612), Madras
Chennai
Chennai , formerly known as Madras or Madarasapatinam , is the capital city of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, located on the Coromandel Coast off the Bay of Bengal. Chennai is the fourth most populous metropolitan area and the sixth most populous city in India...

 (1639), Bombay (1668), and Calcutta (1690). By 1647, the Company had 23 factories, each under the command of a factor
Factor (agent)
A factor, from the Latin "he who does" , is a person who professionally acts as the representative of another individual or other legal entity, historically with his seat at a factory , notably in the following contexts:-Mercantile factor:In a relatively large company, there could be a hierarchy,...

 or master merchant and governor if so chosen, and had 90 employees in India. The major factories became the walled forts of Fort William
Fort William, India
Fort William is a fort built in Calcutta on the Eastern banks of the River Hooghly, the major distributary of the River Ganges, during the early years of the Bengal Presidency of British India. It was named after King William III of England...

 in Bengal, Fort St George
Fort St George
Fort St George is the name of the first English fortress in India, founded in 1639 at the coastal city of Madras, the modern city of Chennai. The construction of the Fort provided the impetus for further settlements and trading activity, in what was originally a no man's land...

 in Madras, and the Bombay Castle
Bombay Castle
Bombay Castle is one of the oldest defensive structures built in the city of Mumbai . The current castle is a structure built by the British on the site of the Manor House built by a Portuguese nobleman Garcia de Orta...

.

In 1634, the Mughal emperor extended his hospitality to the English traders to the region of Bengal
Bengal
Bengal is a historical and geographical region in the northeast region of the Indian Subcontinent at the apex of the Bay of Bengal. Today, it is mainly divided between the sovereign land of People's Republic of Bangladesh and the Indian state of West Bengal, although some regions of the previous...

, and in 1717 completely waived customs duties for the trade. The company's mainstay businesses were by then in cotton, silk, indigo dye
Indigo dye
Indigo dye is an organic compound with a distinctive blue color . Historically, indigo was a natural dye extracted from plants, and this process was important economically because blue dyes were once rare. Nearly all indigo dye produced today — several thousand tons each year — is synthetic...

, saltpetre
Potassium nitrate
Potassium nitrate is a chemical compound with the formula KNO3. It is an ionic salt of potassium ions K+ and nitrate ions NO3−.It occurs as a mineral niter and is a natural solid source of nitrogen. Its common names include saltpetre , from medieval Latin sal petræ: "stone salt" or possibly "Salt...

 and tea. All the while in 1650-56, it was making inroads into the Dutch monopoly of the spice trade in the Malaccan straits, which the Dutch had acquired by ousting the Portuguese in 1640-41. In 1657, Oliver Cromwell
Oliver Cromwell
Oliver Cromwell was an English military and political leader who overthrew the English monarchy and temporarily turned England into a republican Commonwealth, and served as Lord Protector of England, Scotland, and Ireland....

 renewed the charter of 1609, and brought about minor changes in the holding of the Company. The status of the Company was further enhanced by the restoration of monarchy in England.

By a series of five acts around 1670, King Charles II
Charles II of England
Charles II was monarch of the three kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland.Charles II's father, King Charles I, was executed at Whitehall on 30 January 1649, at the climax of the English Civil War...

 provisioned it with the rights to autonomous territorial acquisitions, to mint money, to command fortresses and troops and form alliances, to make war and peace, and to exercise both civil and criminal jurisdiction over the acquired areas.

William Hedges was sent in 1682 to Shaista Khan
Shaista Khan
Mirza Abu Talib, better known by his title Shaista Khan , was a Subahdar and general in the army of the Mughal Empire. A maternal uncle to Emperor Aurangzeb, he served as the Mughal governor of Bengal from 1664 to 1688, and was a key figure during the rule of his nephew, the emperor...

, the Mughal
Mughal Empire
The Mughal Empire ,‎ or Mogul Empire in traditional English usage, was an imperial power from the Indian Subcontinent. The Mughal emperors were descendants of the Timurids...

 governor of Bengal in order to obtain a firman
Firman
A firman is a royal mandate or decree issued by a sovereign in certain historical Islamic states, including the Ottoman Empire, Mughal Empire, State of Hyderabad, and Iran under Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi. The word firman comes from the meaning "decree" or "order"...

, an imperial directive that would grant England regular trading privileges throughout the Mughal empire. However, the company's governor in London, Sir Josiah Child
Josiah Child
Sir Josiah Child of Wanstead, 1st Baronet , English merchant, economist proponent of mercantilism and governor of the East India Company, was born in London, the second son of Richard Child, a London merchant of old family.-Family:...

, interfered with Hedges's mission, causing Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb
Aurangzeb
Abul Muzaffar Muhy-ud-Din Muhammad Aurangzeb Alamgir , more commonly known as Aurangzeb or by his chosen imperial title Alamgir , was the sixth Mughal Emperor of India, whose reign lasted from 1658 until his death in 1707.Badshah Aurangzeb, having ruled most of the Indian subcontinent for nearly...

 to break off the negotiations. After that Child started war with the Mughals but the "Child's War
Child's War
Child's War - a war between English East India Company and Mughal Empire which lasted from 1686 to 1690.In 1682 English East India Company sent William Hedges to Shaista Khan, the Mughal governor of Bengal in order to obtain a firman, an imperial directive that would grant England regular trading...

" (1686–1690) ended in disaster for the English. In 1689 Mughal fleet commanded by Sidi Yakub took Bombay. After a year of resistance, the English surrendered, and in 1690 the company sent envoys to Aurangzeb's camp to plead for a pardon. The company's envoys had to prostrate themselves before the emperor, pay a large indemnity, and promise better behavior in the future. The emperor withdrew his troops and the company subsequently reestablished itself in Bombay and set up a new base in Calcutta.

Mughal convoy piracy incident of 1695


In September 1695, Captain Henry Every
Henry Every
Henry Every, also Avery or Avary, , sometimes given as John Avery, was an English pirate who operated in the Atlantic and Indian Oceans in the mid-1690s. He likely used several aliases throughout his career, including Benjamin Bridgeman, and was known as Long Ben to his crewmen and associates...

, an English pirate on board the Fancy
Fancy (ship)
The Fancy was Henry Every's ship, and was commanded by him between May 1694 to late 1695, when he retired from piracy and the fate of the Fancy becomes unknown.-History:...

, reached the Straits of Bab-el-Mandeb
Bab-el-Mandeb
The Bab-el-Mandeb meaning "Gate of Grief" in Arabic , is a strait located between Yemen on the Arabian Peninsula, Djibouti and Eritrea, north of Somalia, in the Horn of Africa, and connecting the Red Sea to the Gulf of Aden...

, where he teamed up with five other pirate captains to make an attack on the Indian fleet making the annual voyage to Mecca
Mecca
Mecca is a city in the Hijaz and the capital of Makkah province in Saudi Arabia. The city is located inland from Jeddah in a narrow valley at a height of above sea level...

. The Mughal convoy included the treasure-laden Ganj-i-Sawai, reported to be the greatest in the Muslim fleet, and its escort, the Fateh Muhammed. They were spotted passing the straits en route to Surat
Surat
Surat , also known as Suryapur, is the commercial capital city of the Indian state of Gujarat. Surat is India's Eighth most populous city and Ninth-most populous urban agglomeration. It is also administrative capital of Surat district and one of the fastest growing cities in India. The city proper...

. The pirates gave chase and caught up with the Fateh Muhammed some days later, and meeting little resistance, took some £50,000 to £60,000 worth of treasure.. Every continued in pursuit and managed to overhaul the Ganj-i-Sawai , who put up a fearsome fight but it too was eventually taken. The ship carried enormous wealth and, according to contemporary East India Company sources, was carrying a relative of the Grand Mughal, though there is no evidence to suggest that it was his daughter and her retinue. The loot from the Ganj-i-Sawai totalled between £325,000 and £600,000, including 500,000 gold and silver pieces, and has become known as the richest ship ever taken by pirates.


In a letter sent to the Privy Council by Sir John Gayer
John Gayer
Sir John Gayer was a governor of Bombay for the East India Company. He assumed the office on 17 May 1694; he officially left office on November 1704...

, then governor of Bombay and head of the East India Company, Gayer claims that "it is certain the Pyrates...did do very barbarously by the People of the [Gunsway Ganj-i-Sawai] and Abdul Gofors [Abdul Ghaffar's] Ship, to make them confess where their Money was." The pirates set free the survivors who were left aboard their emptied ships, to continue their voyage back to India.


When the news arrived in England it caused an out-cry. In response, a combined bounty of £1,000 (considered massive by the standards of the time) was offered for Every's capture by the Privy Council and East India Company, leading to the first worldwide manhunt in recorded history. The plunder of Aurangzeb
Aurangzeb
Abul Muzaffar Muhy-ud-Din Muhammad Aurangzeb Alamgir , more commonly known as Aurangzeb or by his chosen imperial title Alamgir , was the sixth Mughal Emperor of India, whose reign lasted from 1658 until his death in 1707.Badshah Aurangzeb, having ruled most of the Indian subcontinent for nearly...

's treasure ship had serious consequences for the English East India Company. The furious Mughal emperor closed four of the company's factories in India and imprisoned their officers, blaming them for their countryman's depredations, and threatened to put an end to all English trading in India. To appease Emperor Aurangzeb, Parliament exempted Every from all of the Acts of Grace (pardons) and amnesties it would subsequently issue to other pirates.


In 1711, the Company was given permission by the Kangxi Emperor
Kangxi Emperor
The Kangxi Emperor ; Manchu: elhe taifin hūwangdi ; Mongolian: Энх-Амгалан хаан, 4 May 1654 –20 December 1722) was the fourth emperor of the Qing Dynasty, the first to be born on Chinese soil south of the Pass and the second Qing emperor to rule over China proper, from 1661 to 1722.Kangxi's...

 to enter Canton (Guangzhou
Guangzhou
Guangzhou , known historically as Canton or Kwangchow, is the capital and largest city of the Guangdong province in the People's Republic of China. Located in southern China on the Pearl River, about north-northwest of Hong Kong, Guangzhou is a key national transportation hub and trading port...

), China, to trade tea for silver.

Trade monopoly



The prosperity that the officers of the company enjoyed allowed them to return to Britain and establish sprawling estates and businesses, and to obtain political power. The Company developed a lobby
Lobbying
Lobbying is the act of attempting to influence decisions made by officials in the government, most often legislators or members of regulatory agencies. Lobbying is done by various people or groups, from private-sector individuals or corporations, fellow legislators or government officials, or...

 in the English parliament. Under pressure from ambitious tradesmen and former associates of the Company (pejoratively termed Interlopers by the Company), who wanted to establish private trading firms in India, a deregulating act was passed in 1694. This allowed any English firm to trade with India, unless specifically prohibited by act of parliament, thereby annulling the charter that had been in force for almost 100 years. By an act that was passed in 1698, a new "parallel" East India Company (officially titled the English Company Trading to the East Indies) was floated under a state-backed indemnity of £2 million. The powerful stockholders of the old company quickly subscribed a sum of £315,000 in the new concern, and dominated the new body. The two companies wrestled with each other for some time, both in England and in India, for a dominant share of the trade. It quickly became evident that, in practice, the original Company faced scarcely any measurable competition. The companies merged in 1708, by a tripartite indenture involving both companies and the state. Under this arrangement, the merged company lent to the Treasury a sum of £3,200,000, in return for exclusive privileges for the next three years, after which the situation was to be reviewed. The amalgamated company became the United Company of Merchants of England Trading to the East Indies.

In the following decades there was a constant see-saw battle between the Company lobby and the Parliament. The Company sought a permanent establishment, while the Parliament would not willingly allow it greater autonomy and so relinquish the opportunity to exploit the Company's profits. In 1712, another act renewed the status of the Company, though the debts were repaid. By 1720, 15% of British imports were from India, almost all passing through the Company, which reasserted the influence of the Company lobby. The license was prolonged until 1766 by yet another act in 1730.

At this time, Britain and France became bitter rivals. Frequent skirmishes between them took place for control of colonial possessions. In 1742, fearing the monetary consequences of a war, the British government agreed to extend the deadline for the licensed exclusive trade by the Company in India until 1783, in return for a further loan of £1 million. Between 1756 and 1763, the Seven Years' War
Seven Years' War
The Seven Years' War was a global military war between 1756 and 1763, involving most of the great powers of the time and affecting Europe, North America, Central America, the West African coast, India, and the Philippines...

 diverted the state's attention towards consolidation and defence of its territorial possessions
French and Indian War
The French and Indian War is the common American name for the war between Great Britain and France in North America from 1754 to 1763. In 1756, the war erupted into the world-wide conflict known as the Seven Years' War and thus came to be regarded as the North American theater of that war...

 in Europe and its colonies in North America. The war took place on Indian soil, between the Company troops and the French forces. In 1757, the Law Officers of the Crown
Law Officers of the Crown
The Law Officers of the Crown are the chief legal advisers to the Crown, and advise and represent the various governments in the United Kingdom and the other Commonwealth Realms. In England and Wales, Northern Ireland and most Commonwealth and colonial governments, the chief law officer of the...

 delivered the Pratt-Yorke opinion
Pratt-Yorke opinion
The Pratt-York opinion was a 1757 official legal opinion issued jointly by Charles Pratt, 1st Earl Camden, the Attorney General for England and Wales, and Charles Yorke, the Solicitor General for England and Wales , regarding the legality of land purchases by the British East India Company from...

 distinguishing overseas territories acquired by right of conquest
Right of conquest
The right of conquest is the right of a conqueror to territory taken by force of arms. It was traditionally a principle of international law which has in modern times gradually given way until its proscription after the Second World War when the crime of war of aggression was first codified in the...

 from those acquired by private treaty
Treaty
A treaty is an express agreement under international law entered into by actors in international law, namely sovereign states and international organizations. A treaty may also be known as an agreement, protocol, covenant, convention or exchange of letters, among other terms...

. The opinion asserted that, while the Crown of Great Britain enjoyed sovereignty over both, only the property of the former was vested in the Crown.

With the advent of the Industrial Revolution
Industrial Revolution
The Industrial Revolution was a period from the 18th to the 19th century where major changes in agriculture, manufacturing, mining, transportation, and technology had a profound effect on the social, economic and cultural conditions of the times...

, Britain surged ahead of its European rivals. Demand for Indian commodities was boosted by the need to sustain the troops and the economy during the war, and by the increased availability of raw materials and efficient methods of production. As home to the revolution, Britain experienced higher standards of living. Its spiralling cycle of prosperity, demand, and production had a profound influence on overseas trade. The Company became the single largest player in the British global market. It reserved for itself an unassailable position in the decision-making process of the Government.

William Henry Pyne
William Henry Pyne
William Henry Pyne was an English writer, illustrator and painter. He trained at a drawing academy in London. He first exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1790. He specialized in picturesque settings including groups of people rendered in pen, ink and watercolour...

 notes in his book The Microcosm of London (1808) that
"On the 1 March 1801, the debts of the East India Company to £5,393,989 their effects to £15,404,736 and their sales increased since February 1793, from £4,988,300 to £7,602,041."

Saltpetre trade


Sir John Banks
Sir John Banks, 1st Baronet
Sir John Banks, 1st Baronet, was an English merchant and MP, who rose from relatively humble beginnings to be one of the wealthiest merchants in London and owner of several properties.-Life:...

, a businessman from Kent
Kent
Kent is a county in southeast England, and is one of the home counties. It borders East Sussex, Surrey and Greater London and has a defined boundary with Essex in the middle of the Thames Estuary. The ceremonial county boundaries of Kent include the shire county of Kent and the unitary borough of...

 who negotiated an agreement between the King and the Company, began his career in a syndicate arranging contracts for victualling the navy, an interest he kept up for most of his life. He knew Samuel Pepys
Samuel Pepys
Samuel Pepys FRS, MP, JP, was an English naval administrator and Member of Parliament who is now most famous for the diary he kept for a decade while still a relatively young man...

 and John Evelyn
John Evelyn
John Evelyn was an English writer, gardener and diarist.Evelyn's diaries or Memoirs are largely contemporaneous with those of the other noted diarist of the time, Samuel Pepys, and cast considerable light on the art, culture and politics of the time John Evelyn (31 October 1620 – 27 February...

 and founded a substantial fortune from the Levant
Levant
The Levant or ) is the geographic region and culture zone of the "eastern Mediterranean littoral between Anatolia and Egypt" . The Levant includes most of modern Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Israel, the Palestinian territories, and sometimes parts of Turkey and Iraq, and corresponds roughly to the...

 and Indian trades. He became a Director and later, as Governor of the East Indian Company in 1672, he arranged a contract which included a loan of £20,000 and £30,000 worth of saltpetre for the King 'at the price it shall sell by the candle' — that is by auction — where an inch of candle burned and as long as it was alight bidding could continue. The agreement included with the price 'an allowance of interest which is to be expressed in tallies.' This was something of a breakthrough in royal prerogative because previous requests for the King to buy at the Company's auctions had been turned down as 'not honourable or decent.' Outstanding debts were also agreed and the Company permitted to export 250 tons of saltpetre. Again in 1673, Banks successfully negotiated another contract for 700 tons of saltpetre at £37,000 between the King and the Company. So urgent was the need to supply the armed forces in the United Kingdom, America, and elsewhere that the authorities sometimes turned a blind eye on the untaxed sales. One governor of the Company was even reported as saying in 1864 that he would rather have the saltpetre made than the tax on salt.

Colonial monopoly




The Seven Years' War
Seven Years' War
The Seven Years' War was a global military war between 1756 and 1763, involving most of the great powers of the time and affecting Europe, North America, Central America, the West African coast, India, and the Philippines...

 (1756–1763) resulted in the defeat of the French forces, limited French imperial ambitions, and stunting the influence of the industrial revolution in French territories. Robert Clive, the Governor General, led the Company to a victory against Joseph François Dupleix
Joseph François Dupleix
Joseph-François, Marquis Dupleix was governor general of the French establishment in India, and the rival of Robert Clive.-Biography:Dupleix was born in Landrecies, France...

, the commander of the French forces in India, and recaptured Fort St George from the French. The Company took this respite to seize Manila
Battle of Manila (1762)
The Battle of Manila was fought during the Seven Years' War , from September 24, 1762 to October 6, 1762, between the Kingdom of Great Britain and the Kingdom of Spain in and around Manila, the capital of the Philippines, a Spanish colony at that time.-Prelude:British troops stationed in India were...

 in 1762. By the Treaty of Paris (1763)
Treaty of Paris (1763)
The Treaty of Paris, often called the Peace of Paris, or the Treaty of 1763, was signed on 10 February 1763, by the kingdoms of Great Britain, France and Spain, with Portugal in agreement. It ended the French and Indian War/Seven Years' War...

, the French were allowed to maintain their trade posts only in small enclaves in Pondicherry, Mahe, Karikal, Yanam, and Chandernagar without any military presence. Although these small outposts remained French possessions for the next two hundred years, French ambitions on Indian territories were effectively laid to rest, thus eliminating a major source of economic competition for the Company. In contrast, the Company, fresh from a colossal victory, and with the backing of a disciplined and experienced army, was able to assert its interests in the Carnatic region from its base at Madras and in Bengal
Bengal
Bengal is a historical and geographical region in the northeast region of the Indian Subcontinent at the apex of the Bay of Bengal. Today, it is mainly divided between the sovereign land of People's Republic of Bangladesh and the Indian state of West Bengal, although some regions of the previous...

 from Calcutta, without facing any further obstacles from other colonial powers.

Military expansion



The Company continued to experience resistance from local rulers during its expansion. Robert Clive led company forces against Siraj Ud Daulah, the last independent Nawab
Nawab
A Nawab or Nawaab is an honorific title given to Muslim rulers of princely states in South Asia. It is the Muslim equivalent of the term "maharaja" that was granted to Hindu rulers....

 of Bengal, Bihar
Bihar
Bihar is a state in eastern India. It is the 12th largest state in terms of geographical size at and 3rd largest by population. Almost 58% of Biharis are below the age of 25, which is the highest proportion in India....

, and Midnapore
Midnapore
Midnapore is the district headquarters of Paschim Medinipur district of West Bengal. It is situated on the banks of the Kangsabati River . This area had taken a pioneering role in India's freedom struggle...

 district in Orissa
Orissa
Orissa , officially Odisha since Nov 2011, is a state of India, located on the east coast of India, by the Bay of Bengal. It is the modern name of the ancient nation of Kalinga, which was invaded by the Maurya Emperor Ashoka in 261 BC. The modern state of Orissa was established on 1 April...

 to victory at the Battle of Plassey
Battle of Plassey
The Battle of Plassey , 23 June 1757, was a decisive British East India Company victory over the Nawab of Bengal and his French allies, establishing Company rule in South Asia which expanded over much of the Indies for the next hundred years...

 in 1757, resulting in the conquest of Bengal. This victory estranged the British and the Mughals, since Siraj Ud Daulah was a Mughal feudatory ally. But the Mughal empire was already on the wane after the demise of Aurangzeb
Aurangzeb
Abul Muzaffar Muhy-ud-Din Muhammad Aurangzeb Alamgir , more commonly known as Aurangzeb or by his chosen imperial title Alamgir , was the sixth Mughal Emperor of India, whose reign lasted from 1658 until his death in 1707.Badshah Aurangzeb, having ruled most of the Indian subcontinent for nearly...

, and was breaking up into pieces and enclaves. After the Battle of Buxar
Battle of Buxar
The Battle of Buxar was fought on 22 October 1764 between the forces under the command of the British East India Company, and the combined armies of Mir Qasim, the Nawab of Bengal; Shuja-ud-Daula Nawab of Awadh; and Shah Alam II, the Mughal Emperor...

, Shah Alam II
Shah Alam II
Shah Alam II , also known as Ali Gauhar, was a Mughal emperor of India. A son of Alamgir II, he was exiled to Allahabad in December 1759 by Ghazi-ud-Din, who appointed Shah Jahan III as the emperor. Later, he was nominated as the emperor by Ahmad Shah.Shah Alam II was considered the only and...

, the ruling emperor, gave up the administrative rights over Bengal, Bihar, and Midnapore District. Clive became the first British Governor of Bengal.

Hyder Ali
Hyder Ali
Hyder Ali was the de facto ruler of the Kingdom of Mysore in southern India. Born Hyder Naik, he distinguished himself militarily, eventually drawing the attention of Mysore's rulers...

 and Tipu Sultan
Tipu Sultan
Tipu Sultan , also known as the Tiger of Mysore, was the de facto ruler of the Kingdom of Mysore. He was the son of Hyder Ali, at that time an officer in the Mysorean army, and his second wife, Fatima or Fakhr-un-Nissa...

, the rulers of the Sultanate of Mysore
Kingdom of Mysore
The Kingdom of Mysore was a kingdom of southern India, traditionally believed to have been founded in 1399 in the vicinity of the modern city of Mysore. The kingdom, which was ruled by the Wodeyar family, initially served as a vassal state of the Vijayanagara Empire...

, offered much resistance to the British forces. Having sided with the French during the war, the rulers of Mysore continued their struggle against the Company with the four Anglo-Mysore Wars
Anglo-Mysore Wars
The Anglo-Mysore Wars were a series of wars fought in India over the last three decades of the 18th century between the Kingdom of Mysore and the British East India Company, represented chiefly by the Madras Presidency...

. Mysore finally fell to the Company forces in 1799, with the death of Tipu Sultan.

With the gradual weakening of the Maratha empire
Maratha Empire
The Maratha Empire or the Maratha Confederacy was an Indian imperial power that existed from 1674 to 1818. At its peak, the empire covered much of South Asia, encompassing a territory of over 2.8 million km²....

 in the aftermath of the three Anglo-Maratha wars
Anglo-Maratha Wars
The Anglo-Maratha Wars were three wars fought in India between the Maratha Empire and the British East India Company:* First Anglo-Maratha War * Second Anglo-Maratha War...

, the British also secured Bombay (Mumbai
Mumbai
Mumbai , formerly known as Bombay in English, is the capital of the Indian state of Maharashtra. It is the most populous city in India, and the fourth most populous city in the world, with a total metropolitan area population of approximately 20.5 million...

) and the surrounding areas. It was during these campaigns, both against Mysore and the Marathas, that Arthur Wellesley
Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington
Field Marshal Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, KG, GCB, GCH, PC, FRS , was an Irish-born British soldier and statesman, and one of the leading military and political figures of the 19th century...

, later Duke of Wellington, first showed the abilities which would lead to victory in the Peninsular War
Peninsular War
The Peninsular War was a war between France and the allied powers of Spain, the United Kingdom, and Portugal for control of the Iberian Peninsula during the Napoleonic Wars. The war began when French and Spanish armies crossed Spain and invaded Portugal in 1807. Then, in 1808, France turned on its...

 and at the Battle of Waterloo
Battle of Waterloo
The Battle of Waterloo was fought on Sunday 18 June 1815 near Waterloo in present-day Belgium, then part of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands...

. A particularly notable engagement involving forces under his command was the Battle of Assaye
Battle of Assaye
The Battle of Assaye was a major battle of the Second Anglo-Maratha War fought between the Maratha Confederacy and the British East India Company...

 (1803). Thus, the British had secured the entire region of Southern India (with the exception of small enclaves of French and local rulers), Western India and Eastern India.

The last vestiges of local administration were restricted to the northern regions of Delhi, Oudh, Rajputana
Rajputana
Rājputāna was the pre-1949 name of the present-day Indian state of Rājasthān, the largest state of the Republic of India in terms of area. George Thomas was the first in 1800 A.D., to term this region as Rajputana...

, and Punjab
Punjab region
The Punjab , also spelled Panjab |water]]s"), is a geographical region straddling the border between Pakistan and India which includes Punjab province in Pakistan and the states of the Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Chandigarh and some northern parts of the National Capital Territory of Delhi...

, where the Company's presence was ever increasing amidst infighting and offers of protection among the remaining princes. Coercive action, threats, and diplomacy aided the Company in preventing the local rulers from putting up a united struggle. The hundred years from the Battle of Plassey in 1757 to the Indian Rebellion of 1857
Indian Rebellion of 1857
The Indian Rebellion of 1857 began as a mutiny of sepoys of the British East India Company's army on 10 May 1857, in the town of Meerut, and soon escalated into other mutinies and civilian rebellions largely in the upper Gangetic plain and central India, with the major hostilities confined to...

 were a period of consolidation for the Company, which began to function more as a nation and less as a trading concern.

A cholera
Cholera
Cholera is an infection of the small intestine that is caused by the bacterium Vibrio cholerae. The main symptoms are profuse watery diarrhea and vomiting. Transmission occurs primarily by drinking or eating water or food that has been contaminated by the diarrhea of an infected person or the feces...

 pandemic began in Bengal, then spread across India by 1820. 10,000 British troops and countless Indians died during this pandemic. Between 1736 and 1834 only some 10% of East India Company's officers survived to take the final voyage home.

Opium trade



In the 18th century, Britain had a huge trade deficit with Qing Dynasty China and so in 1773, the Company created a British monopoly on opium
Opium
Opium is the dried latex obtained from the opium poppy . Opium contains up to 12% morphine, an alkaloid, which is frequently processed chemically to produce heroin for the illegal drug trade. The latex also includes codeine and non-narcotic alkaloids such as papaverine, thebaine and noscapine...

 buying in Bengal. As the opium trade was illegal in China, Company ships could not carry opium to China. So the opium produced in Bengal was sold in Calcutta on condition that it be sent to China.

Despite the Chinese ban on opium imports, reaffirmed in 1799 by the Jiaqing Emperor
Jiaqing Emperor
The Jiaqing Emperor was the seventh emperor of the Manchu-led Qing dynasty, and the fifth Qing emperor to rule over China, from 1796 to 1820....

, the drug was smuggled into China from Bengal by traffickers and agency houses such as Jardine, Matheson & Co
Jardine Matheson Holdings
Jardine Matheson Holdings Limited often referred to as Jardines, is a multinational corporation incorporated in Bermuda and based in Hong Kong. While listed on the London Stock Exchange and the Singapore Exchange, the vast majority of Jardines shares are traded in Singapore...

 and Dent & Co.
Dent & Co.
Dent & Co. or Dent's, was one of the wealthiest British merchant firms, or hongs, active in China during the 19th century. The company was a direct rival to Jardine, Matheson & Co...

 in amounts averaging 900 tons a year. The proceeds of the drug-smugglers landing their cargoes at Lintin Island were paid into the Company's factory at Canton
Guangzhou
Guangzhou , known historically as Canton or Kwangchow, is the capital and largest city of the Guangdong province in the People's Republic of China. Located in southern China on the Pearl River, about north-northwest of Hong Kong, Guangzhou is a key national transportation hub and trading port...

 and by 1825, most of the money needed to buy tea in China was raised by the illegal opium trade. In 1838, with the amount of smuggled opium entering China approaching 1,400 tons a year, the Chinese imposed a death penalty for opium smuggling and sent a Special Imperial Commissioner, Lin Zexu
Lin Zexu
Lín Zéxú ; 30 August 1785 – 22 November 1850) was a Chinese scholar and official during the Qing Dynasty.He is most recognized for his conduct and his constant position on the "high moral ground" in his fight, as a "shepherd" of his people, against the opium trade in Guangzhou...

, to curb smuggling. This resulted in the First Opium War
First Opium War
The First Anglo-Chinese War , known popularly as the First Opium War or simply the Opium War, was fought between the United Kingdom and the Qing Dynasty of China over their conflicting viewpoints on diplomatic relations, trade, and the administration of justice...

 (1839–1842). After the war Hong Kong island was ceded to Britain under the Treaty of Nanking
Treaty of Nanking
The Treaty of Nanking was signed on 29 August 1842 to mark the end of the First Opium War between the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and the Qing Dynasty of China...

 and the Chinese market opened to the opium traders of Britain and other nations. A Second Opium War
Second Opium War
The Second Opium War, the Second Anglo-Chinese War, the Second China War, the Arrow War, or the Anglo-French expedition to China, was a war pitting the British Empire and the Second French Empire against the Qing Dynasty of China, lasting from 1856 to 1860...

 fought by Britain and France against China lasted from 1856 until 1860 and led to the Treaty of Tientsin
Treaty of Tientsin
Several documents known as the "Treaty of Tien-tsin" were signed in Tianjin in June 1858, ending the first part of the Second Opium War . The Second French Empire, United Kingdom, Russian Empire, and the United States were the parties involved...

.

Regulation of the company's affairs



Financial troubles


Though the Company was becoming increasingly bold and ambitious in putting down resisting states, it was getting clearer that the Company was incapable of governing the vast expanse of the captured territories. The Bengal famine of 1770
Bengal famine of 1770
The Bengal famine of 1770 was a catastrophic famine between 1769 and 1773 that affected the lower Gangetic plain of India...

, in which one-third of the local population died, caused distress in Britain. Military and administrative costs mounted beyond control in British-administered regions in Bengal due to the ensuing drop in labour productivity. At the same time, there was commercial stagnation and trade depression throughout Europe. The directors of the company attempted to avert bankruptcy by appealing to Parliament for financial help. This led to the passing of the Tea Act
Tea Act
The Tea Act was an Act of the Parliament of Great Britain. Its principal overt objective was to reduce the massive surplus of tea held by the financially troubled British East India Company in its London warehouses. A related objective was to undercut the price of tea smuggled into Britain's...

 in 1773, which gave the Company greater autonomy in running its trade in America, and allowed it an exemption from tea import duties which its colonial competitors were required to pay. When the American colonists, who included tea merchants, were told of the act, they tried to boycott it, claiming that although the price had gone down on the tea when enforcing the act, it also would help validate the Townshend Acts
Townshend Acts
The Townshend Acts were a series of laws passed beginning in 1767 by the Parliament of Great Britain relating to the British colonies in North America. The acts are named after Charles Townshend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who proposed the program...

 and set a precedent for the king to impose additional taxes in the future. The arrival of tax-exempt Company tea, undercutting the local merchants, triggered the Boston Tea Party
Boston Tea Party
The Boston Tea Party was a direct action by colonists in Boston, a town in the British colony of Massachusetts, against the British government and the monopolistic East India Company that controlled all the tea imported into the colonies...

 in the Province of Massachusetts Bay
Province of Massachusetts Bay
The Province of Massachusetts Bay was a crown colony in North America. It was chartered on October 7, 1691 by William and Mary, the joint monarchs of the kingdoms of England and Scotland...

, one of the major events leading up to the American Revolution
American Revolution
The American Revolution was the political upheaval during the last half of the 18th century in which thirteen colonies in North America joined together to break free from the British Empire, combining to become the United States of America...

.

East India Company Act 1773


By the Regulating Act of 1773
Regulating Act of 1773
The Regulating Act of 1773 was an Act of the Parliament of Great Britain intended to overhaul the management of the East India Company's rule in India...

 (later known as the East India Company Act 1772), the Parliament of Great Britain
Parliament of Great Britain
The Parliament of Great Britain was formed in 1707 following the ratification of the Acts of Union by both the Parliament of England and Parliament of Scotland...

 imposed a series of administrative and economic reforms and by doing so clearly established its sovereignty and ultimate control over the Company. The Act recognised the Company's political functions and clearly established that the "acquisition of sovereignty
Acquisition of sovereignty
A number of methods of acquisition of sovereignty are presently or have historically been recognised by international law as lawful methods by which a state may acquire sovereignty over territory.-Accretion:...

 by the subjects of the Crown is on behalf of the Crown and not in its own right."

Despite stiff resistance from the East India lobby in parliament and from the Company's shareholders the Act was passed. It introduced substantial governmental control and allowed the land to be formally under the control of the Crown, but leased to the Company at £40,000 for two years. Under this provision governor of Bengal Warren Hastings
Warren Hastings
Warren Hastings PC was the first Governor-General of India, from 1773 to 1785. He was famously accused of corruption in an impeachment in 1787, but was acquitted in 1795. He was made a Privy Councillor in 1814.-Early life:...

 became the first Governor-General of Bengal, and had administrative powers over all of British India. It provided that his nomination, though made by a court of directors, should in future be subject to the approval of a Council of Four appointed by the Crown - namely Lt. General Sir John Clavering
John Clavering (British Army officer)
Lieutenant General Sir John Clavering KB was an army officer and diplomat.-Military career:Baptised in Lanchester, County Durham, England in 1722, Clavering was the younger son of Sir James Clavering Bt and Catherine Yorke, and younger brother of Sir Thomas Clavering, 7th Baronet...

, The Honourable Sir George Monson, Sir Richard Barwell, and Sir Philip Francis
Philip Francis (English politician)
Sir Philip Francis was an Irish-born British politician and pamphleteer, the possible author of the Letters of Junius, and the chief antagonist of Warren Hastings. His accusations against the latter led to the Impeachment of Warren Hastings by Parliament.-Early life:Born in Dublin, he was the only...

. Hastings was entrusted with the power of peace and war. British judicial personnel would also be sent to India to administer the British legal system. The Governor General and the council would have complete legislative powers. The company was allowed to maintain its virtual monopoly over trade in exchange for the biennial sum and was obligated to export a minimum quantity of goods yearly to Britain. The costs of administration were to be met by the company. These provisions were initially welcomed by the Company, but with the annual burden of the payment to be met, its finances continued steadily to decline.

East India Company Act 1784 (Pitt's India Act)


The East India Company Act 1784 (Pitt's India Act
Pitt's India Act
The East India Company Act 1784, also known as Pitt's India Act, was an Act of the Parliament of Great Britain intended to address the shortcomings of the Regulating Act of 1773 by bringing the East India Company's rule in India under the control of the British Government...

) had two key aspects:
  • Relationship to the British government: the bill differentiated the East India Company's political functions from its commercial activities. In political matters the East India Company was subordinated to the British government directly. To accomplish this, the Act created a Board of Commissioners for the Affairs of India, usually referred to as the Board of Control. The members of the Board were the Chancellor of the Exchequer
    Chancellor of the Exchequer
    The Chancellor of the Exchequer is the title held by the British Cabinet minister who is responsible for all economic and financial matters. Often simply called the Chancellor, the office-holder controls HM Treasury and plays a role akin to the posts of Minister of Finance or Secretary of the...

    , the Secretary of State
    Secretary of State (United Kingdom)
    In the United Kingdom, a Secretary of State is a Cabinet Minister in charge of a Government Department ....

    , and four Privy Councillors
    Privy Council of the United Kingdom
    Her Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council, usually known simply as the Privy Council, is a formal body of advisers to the Sovereign in the United Kingdom...

    , nominated by the King. The act specified that the Secretary of State "shall preside at, and be President of the said Board
    President of the Board of Control
    The President of the Board of Control was a British government official in the late 18th and early 19th century responsible for overseeing the British East India Company and generally serving as the chief official in London responsible for Indian affairs. The position was frequently a cabinet...

    ".
  • Internal Administration of British India: the bill laid the foundation for the centralised and bureaucratic British administration of India which would reach its peak at the beginning of the 20th century during the governor-generalship of George Nathaniel Curzon, 1st Baron Curzon.

Pitt's Act was deemed a failure because it quickly became apparent that the boundaries between government control and the company's powers were nebulous and highly subjective. The government felt obliged to respond to humanitarian calls for better treatment of local peoples in British-occupied territories. Edmund Burke
Edmund Burke
Edmund Burke PC was an Irish statesman, author, orator, political theorist and philosopher who, after moving to England, served for many years in the House of Commons of Great Britain as a member of the Whig party....

, a former East India Company shareholder and diplomat, was moved to address the situation and introduced a new Regulating Bill in 1783. The bill was defeated amid lobbying by company loyalists and accusations of nepotism in the bill's recommendations for the appointment of councillors.

Act of 1786


The Act of 1786 (26 Geo. 3 c. 16) enacted the demand of Earl Cornwallis
Charles Cornwallis, 1st Marquess Cornwallis
Charles Cornwallis, 1st Marquess Cornwallis KG , styled Viscount Brome between 1753 and 1762 and known as The Earl Cornwallis between 1762 and 1792, was a British Army officer and colonial administrator...

 that the powers of the Governor-General be enlarged to empower him, in special cases, to override the majority of his Council and act on his own special responsibility. The Act enabled the offices of the Governor-General and the Commander-in-Chief to be jointly held by the same official.

This Act clearly demarcated borders between the Crown and the Company. After this point, the Company functioned as a regularised subsidiary of the Crown, with greater accountability for its actions and reached a stable stage of expansion and consolidation. Having temporarily achieved a state of truce with the Crown, the Company continued to expand its influence to nearby territories through threats and coercive actions. By the middle of the 19th century, the Company's rule extended across most of India, Burma, Malaya
British Malaya
British Malaya loosely described a set of states on the Malay Peninsula and the Island of Singapore that were brought under British control between the 18th and the 20th centuries...

, Singapore, and British Hong Kong
British Hong Kong
British Hong Kong refers to Hong Kong as a Crown colony and later, a British dependent territory under British administration from 1841 to 1997.- Colonial establishment :...

, and a fifth of the world's population was under its trading influence.

East India Company Act 1793 (Charter Act)


The Company's charter was renewed for a further 20 years by the Charter Act of 1793
Charter Act of 1793
The East India Company Act 1793, also known as the Charter Act of 1793, was an Act of the Parliament of Great Britainwhich renewed the charter issued to the British East India Company, and continued the Company's rule in India....

. In contrast with the legislative proposals of the past two decades, the 1793 Act was not a particularly controversial measure, and made only minimal changes to the system of government in India and to British oversight of the Company's activities.

East India Company Act 1813 (Charter Act)


The aggressive policies of Lord Wellesley
Richard Wellesley, 1st Marquess Wellesley
Richard Colley Wesley, later Wellesley, 1st Marquess Wellesley, KG, PC, PC , styled Viscount Wellesley from birth until 1781, was an Anglo-Irish politician and colonial administrator....

 and the Marquis of Hastings led to the Company gaining control of all India, except for the Punjab, Sindh, and Nepal. The Indian Princes had become vassals of the Company. But the expense of wars leading to the total control of India strained the Company's finances. The Company was forced to petition Parliament for assistance. This was the background to the Charter Act of 1813
Charter Act of 1813
The East India Company Act 1813, also known as the Charter Act of 1813, was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom which renewed the charter issued to the British East India Company, and continued the Company's rule in India. However, the Company's commercial monopoly was ended, except for...

 which, among other things:
  • asserted the sovereignty of the British Crown over the Indian territories held by the Company;
  • renewed the charter of the company for a further twenty years, but
    • deprived the company of its Indian trade monopoly except for trade in tea and the trade with China
    • required the company to maintain separate and distinct its commercial and territorial accounts
  • opened India to missionaries

Government of India Act 1833


The Industrial Revolution
Industrial Revolution
The Industrial Revolution was a period from the 18th to the 19th century where major changes in agriculture, manufacturing, mining, transportation, and technology had a profound effect on the social, economic and cultural conditions of the times...

 in Britain, the consequent search for markets, and the rise of laissez-faire
Laissez-faire
In economics, laissez-faire describes an environment in which transactions between private parties are free from state intervention, including restrictive regulations, taxes, tariffs and enforced monopolies....

 economic ideology form the background to this Act (3 & 4 Will. 4 c. 85). The Act:
  • removed the Company's remaining trade monopolies and divested it of all its commercial functions
  • renewed for another twenty years the Company's political and administrative authority
  • invested the Board of Control with full power and authority over the Company. As stated by Professor Sri Ram Sharma, "The President of the Board of Control now became Minister for Indian Affairs."
  • carried further the ongoing process of administrative centralisation through investing the Governor-General in Council with, full power and authority to superintend and, control the Presidency Governments in all civil and military matters
  • initiated a machinery for the codification of laws
  • provided that no Indian subject of the Company would be debarred from holding any office under the Company by reason of his religion, place of birth, descent or colour
  • vested the Island of St Helena in the Crown


British influence continued to expand; in 1845, the Danish colony of Tranquebar
Tranquebar
Tharangambadi is a panchayat town in Nagapattinam district in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, 15 km north of Karaikal, near the mouth of a distributary of the Kaveri River. Its name means "place of the singing waves"...

 was sold to Great Britain. The Company had at various stages extended its influence to China, the Philippines, and Java. It had solved its critical lack of cash needed to buy tea by exporting Indian-grown opium to China. China's efforts to end the trade led to the First Opium War
First Opium War
The First Anglo-Chinese War , known popularly as the First Opium War or simply the Opium War, was fought between the United Kingdom and the Qing Dynasty of China over their conflicting viewpoints on diplomatic relations, trade, and the administration of justice...

 (1839–1842).

Government of India Act 1853


This Act (16 & 17 Vict. c. 95) provided that British India would remain under the administration of the Company in trust for the Crown until Parliament should decide otherwise.

Indian Mutiny of 1857–58 (Sepoy Mutiny)


The Indian Mutiny of 1857 resulted in widespread devastation in India and condemnation of the East India Company for permitting the events to occur. One of the consequences of the Indian Mutiny was that the British Government nationalised the Company. The Company lost all its administrative powers; its Indian possessions, including its armed forces, were taken over by the Crown pursuant to the provisions of the Government of India Act 1858
Government of India Act 1858
The Government of India Act 1858 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom passed on August 2, 1858. Its provisions called for the liquidation of the British East India Company and the transference of its functions to the British Crown...

.

The Company continued to manage the tea trade on behalf of the British Government (and the supply of Saint Helena
Saint Helena
Saint Helena , named after St Helena of Constantinople, is an island of volcanic origin in the South Atlantic Ocean. It is part of the British overseas territory of Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha which also includes Ascension Island and the islands of Tristan da Cunha...

) until the East India Stock Dividend Redemption Act 1873 came into effect, on 1 January 1874. The Act provided for the dissolution of the company on 1 June 1874, after a final dividend payment and the commutation or redemption of its stock. The Times
The Times
The Times is a British daily national newspaper, first published in London in 1785 under the title The Daily Universal Register . The Times and its sister paper The Sunday Times are published by Times Newspapers Limited, a subsidiary since 1981 of News International...

 reported, "It accomplished a work such as in the whole history of the human race no other company ever attempted and as such is ever likely to attempt in the years to come."

Legacy


The East India Company has had a long lasting impact on the Indian Subcontinent. Although dissolved following the rebellion of 1857, it stimulated the growth of the British Empire
British Empire
The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom. It originated with the overseas colonies and trading posts established by England in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. At its height, it was the...

. Its armies after 1857 were to become the armies of British India and it played a key role in introducing English as an official language in India.

East India Club


The East India Club
East India Club
The East India, Devonshire, Sports and Public Schools' Club, usually known as the East India Club, is a gentlemen's club founded in 1849 and situated at 16 St. James's Square in London...

 in London was formed in 1849 for officers of the East India Company. The Club still exists today as a private Gentlemen's Club
Gentlemen's club
A gentlemen's club is a members-only private club of a type originally set up by and for British upper class men in the eighteenth century, and popularised by English upper-middle class men and women in the late nineteenth century. Today, some are more open about the gender and social status of...

 with its club house situated at 16, St. James's Square, London.

Flags



The East India Company flag changed over time. From the period of 1600 to the 1707 Acts of Union
Acts of Union 1707
The Acts of Union were two Parliamentary Acts - the Union with Scotland Act passed in 1706 by the Parliament of England, and the Union with England Act passed in 1707 by the Parliament of Scotland - which put into effect the terms of the Treaty of Union that had been agreed on 22 July 1706,...

 between England and Scotland the flag consisted of a St George's cross
St George's Cross
St George's Cross is a red cross on a white background used as a symbolic reference to Saint George. The red cross on white was associated with St George from medieval times....

 in the canton and a number of alternating Red and White stripes. After 1707 the canton contained the original Union Flag consisting of a combined St George's cross and a St Andrew's cross
Flag of Scotland
The Flag of Scotland, , also known as Saint Andrew's Cross or the Saltire, is the national flag of Scotland. As the national flag it is the Saltire, rather than the Royal Standard of Scotland, which is the correct flag for all individuals and corporate bodies to fly in order to demonstrate both...

. After the Acts of Union 1800 that joined Ireland with Great Britain to form the United Kingdom, the canton of the East India Company's flag was altered accordingly to include the new Union Flag with the additional Saint Patrick's Flag
Saint Patrick's Flag
Saint Patrick's Cross is a red saltire on a white field. In heraldic language, it may be blazoned Argent, a saltire gules. Saint Patrick's Flag is a flag composed of Saint Patrick's Saltire....

. There has been much debate and discussion regarding the number of stripes on the flag and the order of the stripes. Historical documents and paintings show many variations from 9 to 13 stripes, with some images showing the top stripe being red and others showing the top stripe being white.

At the time of the American Revolution
American Revolution
The American Revolution was the political upheaval during the last half of the 18th century in which thirteen colonies in North America joined together to break free from the British Empire, combining to become the United States of America...

 the East India Company flag was identical to the Grand Union Flag
Grand Union Flag
The Grand Union Flag is considered to be the first national flag of the United States. This flag consisted of 13 red and white stripes with the British Union Flag of the time The Grand Union Flag (also the Continental Colors, the Congress Flag, the Cambridge Flag, and the First Navy Ensign) is...

. The flag probably inspired the Stars and Stripes
Flag of the United States
The national flag of the United States of America consists of thirteen equal horizontal stripes of red alternating with white, with a blue rectangle in the canton bearing fifty small, white, five-pointed stars arranged in nine offset horizontal rows of six stars alternating with rows...

 (as argued by Sir Charles Fawcett
Charles Fawcett
Sir Charles Fawcett was a British historian. He served in the Indian Civil Service whilst India was a part of the British Empire. He published a number of articles and books related to Indian history and was an expert on the British East India Company...

 in 1937).

It is argued that the stripes were inspired by local Malay flags, which were inspired by the Indonesian Majapahit Empire
Majapahit Empire
Majapahit was a vast archipelagic empire based on the island of Java from 1293 to around 1500. Majapahit reached its peak of glory during the era of Hayam Wuruk, whose reign from 1350 to 1389 marked by conquest which extended through Southeast Asia. His achievement is also credited to his prime...

's flag (as is arguably the Indonesian
Flag of Indonesia
The national flag of Indonesia, which is known as Sang Saka Merah-Putih or Bendera Merah-Putih or simply Merah-Putih in Indonesian, is based on the banner of the 13th century Majapahit Empire in East Java...

 flag today). Both the Majapahit and early EIC flags had 9 stripes of red and white.

Ships


Ships of the East India Company were called East Indiamen or simply "Indiamen". Some examples include:
  • Red Dragon
    Red Dragon (1595)
    Scourge of Malice or Malice Scourge or Mare Scourge was a 38-gun ship ordered by George Clifford, 3rd Earl of Cumberland. It was built and launched at Deptford Dockyard in 1595. The Earl used it as his flagship during raids on the Spanish Main, where it provided additional force to support his...

     (1595)
  • Earl of Abergavenny
    Earl of Abergavenny (East Indiaman)
    The Earl of Abergavenny was an East Indiaman that was wrecked in Weymouth Bay, England in 1805. She was one of the largest built and William Wordsworth's brother John was her captain her last two successful voyages to China. He was also her captain on her fifth voyage and lost his life when she...

     (1797)
  • Royal Captain (before 1773)
  • Earl of Mornington
    Earl of Mornington (East Indiaman)
    Earl of Mornington was an East India Company packet ship built in 1799 by Perry, Wells & Green of Blackwall. She performed one voyage for the East India Company, sailing from England to India and returning...

     (1799); packet ship
    Packet ship
    A "packet ship" was originally a vessel employed to carry post office mail packets to and from British embassies, colonies and outposts. In sea transport, a packet service is a regular, scheduled service, carrying freight and passengers...

  • Lord Nelson
    Lord Nelson (East Indiaman)
    Lord Nelson was an East Indiaman, launched in late 1799, sailing for the East India Company. She made five voyages, of which she completed four. On her second voyage the French privateer Bellone captured her, but the Royal Navy recaptured her within about two weeks...

     (1799)
  • Agamemnon (1855)
  • Kent (1825): Lost on her maiden voyage


During the period of the French Revolutionary
French Revolutionary Wars
The French Revolutionary Wars were a series of major conflicts, from 1792 until 1802, fought between the French Revolutionary government and several European states...

 and Napoleonic Wars
Napoleonic Wars
The Napoleonic Wars were a series of wars declared against Napoleon's French Empire by opposing coalitions that ran from 1803 to 1815. As a continuation of the wars sparked by the French Revolution of 1789, they revolutionised European armies and played out on an unprecedented scale, mainly due to...

, the East India Company arranged for letters of marque
Letter of marque
In the days of fighting sail, a Letter of Marque and Reprisal was a government licence authorizing a person to attack and capture enemy vessels, and bring them before admiralty courts for condemnation and sale...

 for its vessels such as the Lord Nelson, not so that they could carry cannons to fend off warships, privateers and pirates on their voyages to India and China, that they could do without permission, but so that should they have the opportunity to take a prize they could do so without being guilty of piracy. Similarly, the Earl of Mornington, an East India Company packet ship
Packet ship
A "packet ship" was originally a vessel employed to carry post office mail packets to and from British embassies, colonies and outposts. In sea transport, a packet service is a regular, scheduled service, carrying freight and passengers...

 of only six guns too sailed under a letter of marque.

The company also had its own navy, the Bombay Marine
History of the Indian Navy
-Early history:India has a rich maritime history dating back 5,000 years. The world's first tidal dock is believed to have been built at Lothal around 2300 BCE during the Indus Valley Civilization, near the present day Mangrol harbour on the Gujarat coast....

, equipped with warships such as the Grappler.

At the Battle of Pulo Aura
Battle of Pulo Aura
The Battle of Pulo Aura was a minor naval engagement of the Napoleonic Wars, fought on 14 February 1804, in which a large squadron of Honourable East India Company East Indiamen, powerful and well armed merchant ships, intimidated, drove off and chased a powerful French naval squadron...

, which was probably the company's most notable naval victory, Nathaniel Dance
Nathaniel Dance
Sir Nathaniel Dance was an officer of the Honourable East India Company who had a long and varied career on merchant vessels, making numerous voyages to India and back with the fleets of East Indiamen...

, Commodore of a convoy of Indiamen and sailing aboard the Warley
Warley (East Indiaman)
The Warley was a 1475-ton East Indiaman and one of the East India Company's larger and more famous vessels. She made nine voyages to the East between 1796 and 1816, most direct to China. In 1804 she participated in the Battle of Pulo Aura...

, led several Indiamen in a skirmish with a French squadron, driving them off.

Lastly, the Royal Navy
Royal Navy
The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

 bought several Company ships to convert to warships and transports. The Earl of Mornington became HMS Drake. Other examples Include:

Records


Unlike all other British Government records, the records from the East India Company (and its successor the India Office
India Office
The India Office was a British government department created in 1858 to oversee the colonial administration of India, i.e. the modern-day nations of Bangladesh, Burma, India, and Pakistan, as well as territories in South-east and Central Asia, the Middle East, and parts of the east coast of Africa...

) are not in The National Archives at Kew, London, but are stored by the British Library
British Library
The British Library is the national library of the United Kingdom, and is the world's largest library in terms of total number of items. The library is a major research library, holding over 150 million items from every country in the world, in virtually all known languages and in many formats,...

 in London as part of the Asia, Pacific, and Africa Collection. The catalogue is searchable online in the Access to Archives catalogues. Many of the East India Company records are freely available online under an agreement that the Families of the British India Society (FIBIS
FIBIS
The Families British India Society is a genealogical organisation who assist people in researching their family history and the background against which their ancestors led their lives in British India.-Scope:...

) have with the British Library.

See also



  • History of India
    History of India
    The history of India begins with evidence of human activity of Homo sapiens as long as 75,000 years ago, or with earlier hominids including Homo erectus from about 500,000 years ago. The Indus Valley Civilization, which spread and flourished in the northwestern part of the Indian subcontinent from...

  • Historiography of the British Empire
    Historiography of the British Empire
    The historiography of the British Empire refers to the studies, sources, critical methods and interpretations used by scholars to study the history of the British Empire. Scholars have long studied the Empire, looking at the causes for its formation, its relations to the French and other empires,...

  • UK company law
  • History of South Asia
    History of South Asia
    The term South Asia refers to the contemporary political entities of the Indian subcontinent and associated island. These are the states of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan and the island nations of Sri Lanka and the Maldives....

    • British Raj
      British Raj
      British Raj was the British rule in the Indian subcontinent between 1858 and 1947; The term can also refer to the period of dominion...

       (also Crown rule in India, British Indian Empire)
  • New Imperialism series
    New Imperialism
    New Imperialism refers to the colonial expansion adopted by Europe's powers and, later, Japan and the United States, during the 19th and early 20th centuries; expansion took place from the French conquest of Algeria until World War I: approximately 1830 to 1914...

    • Imperialism in Asia
      Imperialism in Asia
      Imperialism in Asia traces its roots back to the late 15th century with a series of voyages that sought a sea passage to India in the hope of establishing direct trade between Europe and Asia in spices. Before 1500 European economies were largely self-sufficient, only supplemented by minor trade...

  • Chartered companies
  • List of BEIC directors
    British East India Company directors
    The following list of East India Company directors is taken from the “Alphabetical List of Directors of the East India Company from 1758 to 1858”, compiled by C.H. & D...

  • East India Docks
    East India Docks
    The East India Docks was a group of docks in Blackwall, east London, north-east of the Isle of Dogs. Today only the entrance basin remains.-History:...

    , London
  • Blackwall Yard
    Blackwall Yard
    Blackwall Yard was a shipyard on the Thames at Blackwall, London, engaged in ship building and later ship repairs for over 350 years. The yard closed in 1987...

    , London
  • Governor-General of India
    Governor-General of India
    The Governor-General of India was the head of the British administration in India, and later, after Indian independence, the representative of the monarch and de facto head of state. The office was created in 1773, with the title of Governor-General of the Presidency of Fort William...

  • Commander-in-Chief, India
    Commander-in-Chief, India
    During the period of the British Raj, the Commander-in-Chief, India was the supreme commander of the Indian Army. The Commander-in-Chief and most of his staff were based at General Headquarters, India, and liaised with the civilian Governor-General of India...

  • Presidencies
    • Madras Presidency
      Madras Presidency
      The Madras Presidency , officially the Presidency of Fort St. George and also known as Madras Province, was an administrative subdivision of British India...

    • Bengal Presidency
      Bengal Presidency
      The Bengal Presidency originally comprising east and west Bengal, was a colonial region of the British Empire in South-Asia and beyond it. It comprised areas which are now within Bangladesh, and the present day Indian States of West Bengal, Assam, Bihar, Meghalaya, Orissa and Tripura.Penang and...

    • Bombay Presidency
      Bombay Presidency
      The Bombay Presidency was a province of British India. It was established in the 17th century as a trading post for the English East India Company, but later grew to encompass much of western and central India, as well as parts of post-partition Pakistan and the Arabian Peninsula.At its greatest...

  • Presidency armies
    Presidency armies
    The presidency armies were the armies of the three presidencies of the East India Company's rule in India, later the forces of the British Crown in India...

    • Madras Army
      Madras Army
      The Madras Army was the army of the Presidency of Madras, one of the three presidencies of the British India within the British Empire.The presidency armies, like the presidencies themselves, belonged to the East India Company until the Government of India Act 1858 transferred all three...

    • Bengal Army
      Bengal Army
      The Bengal Army was the army of the Presidency of Bengal, one of the three Presidencies of British India, in South Asia. Although based in Bengal in eastern India, the presidency stretched across northern India and the Himalayas all the way to the North West Frontier Province...

    • Bombay Army
      Bombay Army
      The Bombay Army was the army of the Bombay Presidency, one of the three Presidencies of British India, in South Asia.The Presidency armies, like the presidencies themselves, belonged to the East India Company until the Government of India Act 1858 transferred all three presidencies to the direct...

  • East India Companies
    • Assada Company, English, founded 1635 and ceased 1657
    • Dutch East India Company
      Dutch East India Company
      The Dutch East India Company was a chartered company established in 1602, when the States-General of the Netherlands granted it a 21-year monopoly to carry out colonial activities in Asia...

      , founded 1602 and ceased 1798
    • Danish East India Company
      Danish East India Company
      The Danish East India Company was a Danish chartered company.-History:It was founded in 1616, following a privilege of Danish King Christian IV....

      , founded in 1616 and ceased 1846
    • French East India Company
      French East India Company
      The French East India Company was a commercial enterprise, founded in 1664 to compete with the British and Dutch East India companies in colonial India....

      , founded 1664 and ceased 1769
    • Portuguese East India Company
      Portuguese East India Company
      - Background :Portuguese trade with India had been a crown monopoly since the Portuguese captain Vasco da Gama opened the sea route to India in 1497-99. The monopoly had been managed by the Casa da Índia, the royal trading house founded around 1500. The Casa was responsible for the yearly India...

      , founded 1628 and ceased 1633
    • Swedish East India Company
      Swedish East India Company
      The Swedish East India Company was founded in Gothenburg, Sweden, in 1731 for the purpose of conducting trade with the Far East...

      , founded 1731 and ceased 1813
  • Addiscombe Military Academy
    Addiscombe Military Academy
    The East India Company Military Seminary, colloquially known as Addiscombe Seminary, Addiscombe College, or Addiscombe Military Academy was a British military academy at Addiscombe, Surrey, in what is now the London Borough of Croydon. It was established in 1809, and closed in 1861...

     1809-1861
  • East India Company College
    East India Company College
    The East India College was a college in Hertford Heath, Hertfordshire, England. It was founded in February 1806 as the training establishment for the British East India Company . At that time, the BEIC provided general and vocational education for young gentlemen of sixteen to eighteen years old,...

     1805–1858
  • Robert Brooke 1744-1811
  • East India Company Cemetery in Macau
    Old Protestant Cemetery in Macau
    The Old Protestant Cemetery , located close to the Casa Garden, was established by the British East India Company in 1821 in Macau in response to a lack of burial sites for Protestants in the Roman Catholic Portuguese colony....

  • Spice wars
  • Carnatic Wars
    Carnatic Wars
    The Carnatic Wars were a series of military conflicts in the middle of the 18th century on the Indian subcontinent...

  • Indian Mutiny
  • British Imperial Lifeline
  • Commercial Revolution
    Commercial Revolution
    The Commercial Revolution was a period of European economic expansion, colonialism, and mercantilism which lasted from approximately the 16th century until the early 18th century. It was succeeded in the mid-18th century by the Industrial Revolution. Beginning with the Crusades, Europeans...



External links