Sample Material of Our IAS Mains History Study Kit
Subject: History (Optional)
Topic: Advent of the Europeans & ascendance of the British
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’ Albuquerque arrived 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
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), Karikal( 1645), Chinsura (1653). Kasim bazaar, 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) resulting in
their final defeat in India
Before the East India Company established trade in the India.
John Mildenhall a merchant adventurer, was the first Englishman who arrived in
India in 1599 by the over land route, ostensibly for the purpose of trade with
Indian merchants, popularly known as the ‘English East India Company’. it was
formed by a group of merchants known as the “Merchant Adventures’ in 1599.
Following the decision of the East India Company to open a factory at Surat
(1608), Captain Hawkins arrived at Jahangir’s court (1609) to seek permission.
An order letter was issued by Jahangir permitting the English to build a factory
at Surat (1613). Sir Thomas Roe came to India as ambassador of James I to
Jahangir’s court in 1615 to obtain the permission to trade and erect factories
in different parts of the empire.
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.
The subsequent activities of the British there led to final
showdown in the form of the Battle of Buxar, which proved to be a turning point,
making the British real masters of Bengal, though formal authority still
remained with the Nawab. From the early 18th century onwards, the English and
French Companies were increasingly involved in Indian affairs. The Anglo-French
trade rivalry and their subsequent attempt to interfere in the politics of India
culminated in the three Carnatic Wars. By the end of the Third Carnatic War, the
French were no longer a threat to the British; who now became strong contenders
in South Indian politics.
Ascendance of the British
By 1765, the British had not only become the virtual rulers
of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa but also begun to dictate terms to the Nawabs of
both Carnatic and Awadh. In South India, the Company perceived the Mysore rulers
Haider Ali (1761-82) and his son Tipu Sultan (1782-99) as threats to its
position in Madras and in the Carnatic. The Company’s annexations following its
final military victory over Mysore state in 1799, however, led to direct
confrontations with the Marathas in a series of wars with the various Maratha
rulers (Second and Third Maratha Wars, 1803-05, 1817-18). The Company’s
territorial acquisitions under Wellesley resulting from the Fourth Mysore War
(1799), the cession of the Ganga-Yamuna doab from Awadh (1801), and the
consequences of the Maratha wars (1803-05) totaled over 135,000 square miles, an
area the size of reunited Germany.
Despite general restrictions from London on wars by the
Company, officials in India made a case before the British public and Parliament
advocating hostilities with Mysore in order to secure the safety of the
Company’s trade at Madras. The image of French resurgence in India (as ally to
Mysore or Hyderabad) added force to the bellicose voices in the Company and
England. In all, the Company fought four wars against Mysore (1767-69, 1780-84,
1790-92 and 1799). The last two of these wars ended with the Company annexing
considerable territories from Mysore in peninsular India. Much hostile exchange
and inconclusive fighting had taken place earlier (First Maratha War, 1775-82)
between Bombay and various Maratha rulers. At best, Bombay had only reached a
point of uneasy, temporary balance with these states. Hastings’ official policy
became ‘paramountcy’: the Company’s authority as paramount power superseded that
of the Indian rulers. As paramount power, the Company considered itself
justified in annexing or threatening to annex any Indian state, whenever
conditions in that state `violated’ British sensibilities.
As the Company sought a stable frontier in the northeast and
Bay of Bengal eastern littoral, Lord Amherst (1823-28) supervised the Company’s
First Burma War (1824-28). This resulted in extensive annexations in the
northeast (most notably Assam and Nagaland) and Burma (Arakan and Tenassarim).
Imperial Russia’s expansion across Asia during this period evoked British fears
for the safety of the Company’s rule in India.