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Modern Indian History
European Trading Companies


1. A sea route from Europe to India through the Cape of Good Hope was discovered by Vasco Da Gama.

  • He reached the port of Calicut in 1498 and was received by the Hindu ruler of Calicut (Known by the title of Zamorine).
  • Second visit of Vasco Da Gama in 1502.

2. Established their first factory in 1500 at Calicut which was abandoned in 1525 due to the pressure of Zamorine.

3. Cochin was the early Portuguese capital in India, later on it was replaced by Goa.

4. The first Portuguese governor in India was fransisco De Almedia (1505-09).

5. The second Portuguese governor was Alfonso De Albuquerque (1509-15).

  • He captured Goa from the ruler of Bijapur in 1510 and made it the capital of Portuguese Empire in the east.
  • He encouraged his countrymen to many Indian women.
  • He consolidated Portuguese power in India.

6. Other important governor was Nino Da Cunha (1529-1538).

  • He acquired Due and Bessein from Bahadurshah of Gujarat.

7. Next important governor was Martin Alfonso De Souza.

  • The Famous Jesuit saint Fransisco Xavier came to India with him.

8. They lost Bombay ,as it was given to Charles II of England by the king of Portugal as dowry in the marriage of his sister (1661).

9. Ultimately the Portuguses ware left with only Goa, Due and Daman which they retained till 1961.

10. They made the spice trade (particularly pepper trade) a monopoly.

11. They also sold the offices of Captains and Customs Collectors in the Indian Ocean strong holds.

12. The first effort to established commerce in Bengal was made for Chittagaon, the chief port of Bengal during this period.

  • They obtained permission from Mahmud Shah the king of Bengal, to erect factories at Chittagaon and Satgaon in 1661.
  • The second settlement at Hughli was granted them by Akbar in 1579-80.

13. The Portuguese had armed vesseles playing in the Indian ocean and Arabian sea.

  • Ships carrying commodities which were not given passes (cartaz) by the Portuguese officials.
  • Were confiscated by them.
  • The curtaz was first issued in 1502.


1. Initially their headquarters was at Pulicut after obtaining permission from of king Chandragiri till 1690 and then Nagapatnam.

2. They popularized spice and textile trade, besides they exported indigo, Saltpetre and raw silk.

3. Dutch commercial activities began to decline by the beginning of 18th century and with the Battle of Bedara with the English in 1759 came to an end.


1. The company was given a charter by Queen Elizabeth in 1600 giving it the monopoly of Eastern Trade for fifteen years.

2. The English ambassador Captain Hawkins arrived at Jehangir’s Court to seek permission, for trade with India.

  • He was granted a Mansab of 400 Zat.
  • Jehangir granted permission to erect a factory at surat (1608)
  • Sir thomas Roe came to the court of Jehangir as the ambassador of James and received permission
  • to trade and establish factories at different parts of the empire.

3. The British acquired the Zamindari of the Villages of Sutanuti, Kalikata and Govindpur (1698)

  • Job Chenock established a factory at sutanuti.
  • Sir Charles Eyre was the first president of fort william.
  • All settements in Bengal, Bihar and Orissa were placed under Fort william (1700)

4. In south factories were estblished at Masulipatnam in 1611 and at Armagaon (near Pulicat in 1626)

  • Francis Day obtained the site Madras from of Chandragiri with permission to build a fortified factory (1639)
  • This factory was named Fort St. George.
  • Madras replaced Masulipatnam as the headqurters of the coromandal coast.
  • All the English settlements in Eastern India(Bengal, Bihar and Orissa) and the coromandal were placed under the control of the president and Council of Fort St. George.

5. The Sultan of Golkunda issued the company the Golden Farman allowing them to trade within the ports of the kingdom freely on payment of duties worth 500 pagodas a year (1632).

6. In spite of all opposition English merchants, known as Interlopers continued to defy the monopoly of the company by indulging in the East Indian trade on their own.

  • These Free Merchants tried to press their demands in public as well as in Parliament.

7. The portuguese gave the island of Bombay to Charles II of England in dowry in 1662.

8. The diplomatic mission during Farrukhisyar’s reign reached the court in 1715 The mission was Led by ohn Surman.

  • Dr. William Hamilton a member of the surman commission, cured Farrukssiyar of a painful disease.
  • Farrksiyar granted a farman in 1717 for duly duly free trade.
  • The 1717 forman also gave the British right to rent additional territory around Calcutta.

9. The Company minted its coin at Bombay which circulated throughout the Mughul empire.

10. Bombay was fortified in 1720 by Charles Boon.


1. They founded settlements at Tranquebar (Tamil Nadu) in 1620 and at Serampore (Bengal) in 1676.

2. Their headquarters in India was Serampore.

3. They were more concerned with the missionary activities than trade.

4. They established their factories at Masulipatnam and Porto Novo.


1. The first French factory was set up as Surat by Francois Caron in 1668.

  • Later Maracara set up a factory at Masulipatnam in 1669 by securing a patent from the Golkunda.

2. The French ( By Francois Martin & Bellanger De Lespinary) acuired by the Muslim governor of Valikoindapuram, Sher Khan Lodi a small village in 1673.

  • The village developed into Pondichery and the first governor was Francois Martin.

3. They acquired Chandernagar in Bengal from the Mughal governor Shayista Khan in 1690.

4. Pondichery (Fort Louis) was made the headquarters of all the French settlements in India and Francois Martin became the governor general of French affairs in India.

5. Dupleix was an important French governor in India.

6. They fought a decisive battle at Wandiawaush in 1760 against English. The French were defeated and lost almost all their possession in India.

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