CAPF-AC (Assistant Commandant) Exam Study Material : History - Advent of the Europeans & Ascendance of the British

CAPF-AC (Assistant Commandant) Exam Study Material : History - Advent of the Europeans & Ascendance of the British

History : Advent of the Europeans & Ascendance of the British

Portuguese Rule

Discovery of the New Sea Route

  • The Cape route, was discovered from Europe to India by Vasco da Gama. He reached the port of Calicut on the May 17. 1498, and was received by the Hindu ruler of Calicut (known by the title of Zamorin).
  • This led to the establishment of trading stations at Calicut, Cochin and Cannanore. Cochin was the early capital of the Portuguese in India. Utter Goa replaced it.
  • Alfonso d’ Albuquerquearrived in India in 1503 as the governor of the Portuguese in India in 1509 (The first governor being Francisco de Almeida between 1505-09). He captured Goa from the ruler of Bijapur in 1510.
  • Nino da Cunha(1529-38)— transferred his capital from Cochin to Goa (1530) and acquired Diu and Bassein (1534) from Bahadur Shah of Gujarat
  • Martin Alfonso de Souza(1542-45) —the famous Jesuit saint Franrisco Xavier arrive in India with him


  • Formation of the Company in March, 1602, by a charter of the Dutch parliament the Dutch East India Company was formed with powers to make wars, conclude treaties, acquire territories and build for tresses.
  • The Dutch set up factories at Masulipatam (1605). Pulicat (1610)-. Surat (1616), Bimilipatam( 1641), K.arikal( 1645), Chinsura (1653). Kasimbuzar.Baranagore, Patna. Balasore. Negapatam(all in 1658) and Cochin (1663).
  • The Dutch replaced the the Portuguese as the most dominant power in European trade with the East, including India. Pulicat was their main centre in India till 1690, after which Negapatam replaced it. The Dutch conceded to English after their defeat in the battle of Bedera in 1759.


  • The Danes formed an East India Company and arrived in India in 1616. They established settlements at Tranquebar (in Tamil Nadu) in 1620 and at Serampore (Bengal) in 1676.
  • Serampore was their headquarters in India. They were forced to sell all their settlements in India to the British in 1854


  • The French East India Company was formed by Colbert understate patronage in 1664. The first French factory was established at Surat by Francois Caron in I66H.

  • A factory at Masulipatam was set up in 1669. The French power in India was revived tinder Lenoir and Dumas (governors) between 1720 and 1742.

  • They occupied Mahe in the Malabar, Yanam in Coromandal and Karikal in Tamil Nadu (1739). The arrival of Dupleix as French governor in India in 1742 saw the beginning of Anglo- French conflict (Carnatic wars) re- sulting in their final defeat in India


Establishment of Factories

  • The East India Company acquired Bombay from Charles II on lease. Gerald Aungier was its first governor from 1669 to 1677. The first factory was built at Surat in (1605). Later, Surat was replaced by Bombay as the headquarters of the Company on the west coast in 1687.

  • In 1639 Francis Day obtained the site of Madras from the Raja of Chandragiri with permission to build a fortified factory, which was named Fort St. George. Madras soon replaced Masulipatam as the headquarters of the English on the Coromandal coast.

  • In 1690 Job Charnock established a factory at Sutanuti and the zamindari of the three villages of Sutanuti, Kalikata and Govindpur was acquired by the British (1698). These villages later grew into the city of Calcutta.

  • The factory at Sutanuti was fortified in 1696 and this new fortified settlement was named fort William in 1700. In 1694, the British Parliament passed a resolution giving equal rights to all Englishmen to trade in the East.

  • A new rival company, known as the ‘English Company of Merchants Trading to the East Indies’ (1698) was formed The final amalgamation of the company came in I 708 under the title of’The United Company of Merchants of England Trading to the East Indies’. This new company continued its existence till 1858.

Beginning of Political Domination of British

  • In 1757, on account of the English ­hatched political conspiracy leading to the so-called battle of Plassey, where Robert Clive practically affected a wholesale defection of the forces of the Nawab of Bengal, Siraj-ud-daula, the East India Company found itself transformed from an association of traders to rulers exercising political sovereignty over a largely unknown land and people.

  • Within a decade, the Company not only won the hard-fought battle of Buxar against the deposed Mir Qasim of Bengal and his allies in 1764 but also acquired the Diwani, or the right to collect revenues on behalf of the Mughal Emperor, in Bengal, Bihar, and Orissa in 1765.

  • British rule was sought to be justified, in part, by the claims that the Indians required to be civilized, and that British rule would introduce in place of Oriental despotism and anarchy a reliable system of justice, the rule of law, and the notion of ‘fair play’.

  • Bengal, which was originally a Mughal province, had emerged as an autonomous state in the 18th century. Siraj-ud-Daula, the then Bengal Nawab, seeing the hostile activities of the British, was apprehensive of the fate of Bengal and decided to take action against them.

  • This resulted in a series of events culminating in the so-called Battle of Plassey, which made the British the ‘King-maker’ in Bengal.

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