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The Swing to the East (i.E. India) in British Imperial Priorities from 1760 onwards

Autor:   •  October 6, 2013  •  Research Paper  •  3,309 Words (14 Pages)  •  1,400 Views

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The Swing to the East (i.e. India) in British Imperial Priorities from 1760 Onwards


The East India Company (EIC) came into existence to take part in the trade of East Indian Spices. The trade was under the monopoly of Spain and Portugal until the entry of Dutch into the region in the 1600. The Dutch maintained the same control and did not allow other nations to share the trade. The British relatively entered in this trade very late. The first British pilot came in 1582, almost a century after the Portuguese explorer, Vasco da Gama, made his journey .

The immense wealth in the Indian region was the biggest attraction for the British people. The ships which came to India were loaded with the wealth on way back to their home destinations. A Portuguese ship was captured at the British port in 1593 and it was found to have loaded with 1500 tons, 36 canons and 700 men. Moreover, the ship was full of wealth, such as ivory, porcelain, gold, calicos, pearls, silk, and spices. The wealth and size of the ship took the British people by surprise .

In 1600 the royal charter was designed to form EIC, which granted permission to all British companies to trade in all the British colonies. With the increasing growth of the company, it became the largest employer in London with its dockyards on the bank of Thames River. Finally, 1707, it became the only most successful business in Britain. It was believed that first ships made the profit of more than 133 percent. Initially, seventy nine ships were sent to India, and when they came back home, they were laden with immense wealth. However, few of them got lost because of shipwreck or looted by Dutch pirates.

In spite of the long sea route the EIC had to make in reaching India, the cost of the trip was far less than the huge profits trade was generating. With this, the EIC had full control over the British market. They could make the policies in their favor as they had legally authorized dominating position in England .

Trade and Activities

In 1601, the first trip was made to Indonesia for trade in spices. It was based on four ships that made horrendous voyage as majority of the men died at the Equator due to storm. A very few number of people could make to Bantam which was the port on Indonesian island. Subsequently, the company's first ship that made to India arrived at the port of Surat in 1608. It was the rule of Mughals in India. Thomas Roe came to the Mughal Emperor and asked permission for setting up a factory at Surat .

Slowly the British traders overshadowed the Portuguese influence and expanded their trade operations in India. A number of factories were developed and trading posts were established on the east and west coast of India. British communities were successfully developed in the three main cities of India; Madras, Bombay and Calcutta.


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