In this article we will be covering the arrival of British East India Company. But, British were not the first to come to India. It was Portuguese who first discovered a direct sea route to India. Portuguese sailor Vasco da Gama arrived at Calicut port on May 20, 1498 AD.
After staying in India for a period of three months Vasco da Gama returned with a rich cargo which he sold in the European market at an exorbitant price- 60 times the cost of his voyage.
Formation of East India Company
Being motivated by the successful business stories of the Portuguese, a group of English merchants –‘Merchant Adventurers’ formed a company “The Governor and Company of Merchants of London Trading into the East Indies”, popularly know as the British East India Company was formed on 31st December 1600.
For trading they required the permission of Britain Queen Elizabeth.
The Company received a royal charter from Queen Elizabeth, authorizing the monopoly to trade in any country in the East of Cape of Good Hope & West of Strait of Magellan for 15 years.
Arrival of East India Company in India
Finally in 1608 British EIC reached Indian at the port of Surat.
In 1608 AD, the East India Company sent Captain William Hawkins to the court of the Mughal emperor Jahangir to seek permission to open a factory at Surat.
A Farman was issued by Jahangir permitting the English to build a factory at Surat.
In 1615 AD, Sir Thomas Roe was sent by Emperor James I of England to Jahangir’s court, to obtain the permission to trade and erect factory in different parts of the Mughal empire.
Roe was very diplomatic and thus successfully secured a royal charter giving the Company freedom to trade in the whole of the Mughal territory.
British EIC started establishing factory at part’s of Empire,
In 1619 – at Surat
In 1668 – at Bombay
In 1690 – at Calcutta.
Britishers Import Coffee and Persian Horse and export Cotton, Silk, Salt petre (use to prepare gun powder). By 1647 British EIC had established total 23 factories. These factory are used as Godam, where all products was stored also people live there along with security guards. Among all the factory 3 were established at major scale. They are not less then any fort.
1. Fort William – at Bengal
2. Fort St. George – at Madras
3. Bombay Castle – at Bombay.
Establishment and Growth of East India Company’s power in India
In 1717 Mughal king Farrukshiyar completely waived off custom duties from East India company.
Till time East India company is a trading company, after this two important battle was happens. “Battle of Buxar” and “Battle of Plassey” which made East India company a political power.