Sunday, 9 September 2018


• The trade and commerce relationship India had with Europeans
• The arrival of Europeans to India for trade
• The Carnatic wars in the backdrop of European political developments.
• Battle of Plassey, Battle of Buxar and Dual-Government system
• The British policy of aggression

There were trade and commerce relationship between India and Europe since ancient times. There was great demand for Indian spices like Pepper, Cardamom, Ginger and many other spices in Europe. The trade relationship continued between India, Europe and other Asian countries even during middle ages. The Arab merchants carried the Asian merchandise into Constantinople of Eastern Roman (Byzantium) Empire. Italian merchants would buy these goods and then sell in European countries. Like this, Constantinople was the center of international business and considered as the ‘Gate of European Trade’. While Arab merchants had gained monopoly over the trade in Asian countries, Italian traders had gained monopoly over trade in Europe. The merchandise from Asia had brought good profits to Italian merchants.

The fall of Constantinople: The trade and commerce between Asia and Europe was taking place through the city of Constantinople. In 1453, the Ottoman Turks captured the city of Constantinople. As a result, all the trade routes connecting the city of Constantinople came under the control of Turks. The Turks started levying too many taxes on the goods passing
through these routes. As a result, the merchants felt that the trade was not profitable. Meanwhile, Spain and Portugal were attempting to break the monopoly of Italian traders. They started encouraging courageous sailors to find a sea route to India. The invention of Compass, Astrolabes, and Gunpowder provided further impetus to this venture.

A new sea route to India: Vasco da Gama, the Portuguese sailor who left Lisbon and reached Kappadu near Calicut on the East coast of India in 1498. By this, he was successful in discovering a new sea route to India. This route continued to be the route of trade between India and Europe for many years. Like this Portuguese were the first to re-establish trade between India and Europe.

Know this:

In 1869, a huge canal was built in Egypt to connect the Red Sea and Mediterranean Sea and it is called Suez Canal. Until the building of Suez canal, the sea route discovered by Vasco da Gama was the route used for the trade between India and Europe. The ships had to pass the Cape of Good Hope, the southernmost tip of Africa to reach India. The distance
between Mumbai and London through Cape of Good Hope is 10,800 nautical miles (01 nautical mile = 1.85 KMS), it is only 6,200 nautical miles through Suez canal. The journey is reduced to half of the distance.

European Trade Companies:
With success of Portuguese, many Dutch, French and English arrived at India for trade. This development not only changed the history of India, it also changed the history of European countries.


Portuguese were the first to arrive at India for the trade and were also the last to leave India on the sea route. After Vasco da Gama, Francisco de Almeida arrived in India as the Viceroy of Portuguese. He implemented ‘Blue Water Policy’ in order to establish the supremacy over the Sea instead of supremacy over lands. Alfonso de Albuquerque, who came after Almeida, is considered as the real founder of Portuguese Empire in India. He waged a battle against the Sultan of Bijapur in 1510 and won Goa. Goa became the administrative centre of Portuguese administration in India. The Portuguese had absolute monopoly over trade with India for almost a century and their power declined with the arrival of English and French in India.


Dutch are from Holland or Netherlands. They established United East India Company in 1602 with the aim of doing business with eastern countries and entered countries like India, Java, Sumatra, Indonesia and spices rich islands. They established warehouses in Surat,
Broach, Kambe, Kochin, Nagapatanim, Masulipatanam and Chinsor and other places in India. With this they broke the monopoly of Portuguese in India. Later, unable to face competition from English and French, Dutch limited themselves to Spice rich Islands.

Know this:
The Warehouses were the places of storing merchandise. Huge walls were built around these warehouses to provide protection. English: In 1600, December 31, Queen Elizabeth issued a royal charter authorizing East India Company to trade with Eastern Countries for fifteen years. The company started the business formally in 1613. The Mughal Emperor Jahangir issued a royal permission to English to establish their first warehouse of factory at Surat. In 1617, Sir Thomas Roe arrived at the court of Jahangir as the royal ambassador from the court of James I. He sought permission from Jahangir to establish factories in other places of Mughal Empire. English established factories in Agra, Ahamadabad and Broach. In 1639, English took Madras from the King of Chandragiri and established a strong fort named St. George Fort. Later, Charles II, the Prince of England, gave Bombay as an annual rent of ten pounds a year to East India Company in 1668. In 1690, the English purchased three villages namely Sutanauti, Kalikata and Govindapura on the banks of Hugli River and built Fort William. The city of Calcutta grew around this fort. By 17th century, the English had established Bombay, Madras and Calcutta as the centers of their Presidencies. By the later
part of Eighteenth century, the English made Calcutta as their capital city. They implemented their own Civil and Criminal Procedure Codes in the areas that were under their control.


French East India Company started as a government owned. company in 1664. It started its first factory in Surat in the year 1668. Later they established its factories in Machalipatanam, Chandranagara, Mahe, Karaikallu, Cossimbazar, Balasur. In 1674, the French took Valikandapuram from a local Muslim official and developed it as a major trade center. That center is Puducheri or Pondichery. Dupleix, who arrived in Pondicherry as the Governor General of French had the high ambitions of establishing French as the major power in South India. This ambition led to Carnatic wars with the English. The Competition between English and French The Portuguese and Dutch had withdrawn from India unable to withstand the competition from French and English by 18th century. Finally, French and English resorted to show strength in order to establish their political supremacy over India. Meanwhile, political volatility aroused in the regions of Hyderabad and Carnatic (Eastern part of Tamil Nadu) and both the English and French tried to exploit the situation in their
favour. This led to three Carnatic Wars.

B - British
F - French
D - Dutch
P - Portuguese

Know this
Hyderabad Kingdom was established in 1724 by AsafJha. His feudatory ruler Dost Ali who was ruling Carnatic region was not loyal to him. The Marathas killed Dost Ali in 1740 and looted Carnatic and imprisoned his Son-in-law Chandasheb in Sathara. AsafJha named Anwaruddin as the Nawab of Carnatic in the place of Dost Ali. First Carnatic War (1746-48):
On the request of Dupleix, La Bourdonnais, a French military leader from Mauritius invaded Madras and captured it. This forced the helpless British to request the help of Anwaruddin, the Nawab of Carnatic for support. The army sent by Anwaruddin failed to defeat the French at Madras. Finally, La Bourdonnais took money from the English and returned Madras and went back to Mauritius. This enraged Dupleix and attempted to take Madras but failed in it. Finally, this war ended with a treaty in Europe between France and England called‘Treaty of Aix-la- Chapelle‘.

Know this:
The Nizam of Hyderabad, AsafJha died in 1748. A tussle started between his son Nasir Jung and his daughter’s son Mujaffar Jung for the throne. On the other hand, a fight had broken out between Chandasaheb(who was released from the Maratha prison) and Anwaruddin in Carnatic. French extended their support to Mujaffar Jung in Hyderbad and Chandasaheb in Cranatic. The English extended their supported Nasir Jung and Anwaurddin. IN 1749, the combined forces of French, Chandasaheb and Mujaffar Jung defeated Anwaurddin and killed him in Ambur battle. As a result Chandsaheb became the ruler of Carnatic. Mahammad Ali, the son of Anwaruddin, stayed at Thiruchanapalli with the help of English. In Hyderabad, Mujaffar Jung became the Nizam by killing Nasir Jung with the help of French and Chandasaheb. He got killed after a few days. The French made Salabath Jung, another son of Asaf Jha as the Nizam of Hyderbad.

Second Carnatic War (1749-1754):
In the changed circumstances, French made Salabath Jung, another son of AsafJha as the Nizam of Hyderabad. An officer named Bussi was stationed in Hyderabad for his protection by French. In Carnatic Chandasaheb was the Nawab with the help of French. Robert Clive of East India Company attacked Arcot, the capital city of Carnatic and defeated Chandsaheb. Chandsaheb was imprisoned and later killed in this war. In the place of Chandsaheb, the English named Mahammad Ali, the son of Anwaruddin, as the Nawab of Carnatic. The second Carnatic war ended with the Treaty of Pondicherry. French recalled Dupleix. This war brought laurels to English, while French suffered a political setback.

Third Carnatic War (1756-1763):
Comte de Lally of French attempted to besiege Wandiwash in 1760. In this decisive battle Sir Eyre Coote of the English army defeated the French and imprisoned Bussi. Lally escaped and hide in Pondicherry. Finally, Eyre Coote attacked Pondicherry and Lally had to surrender unconditionally in 1761. French had to lose all their bases in India due to Carnatic wars. Inspite of this, as per the ‘Treaty of Paris’ in 1763, Pondicherry was returned to French. With these developments, French lost their importance in India. Like this, English by defeating all their rivals, started consolidating their power over the Southern India.

Know this:
Robert Clive: Robert Clive, who laid the firm foundation of the British Power in India, had joined the East India Company as clerk. He played a decisive role in Carnatic wars, particularly in the siege of Arcot and played a prominent role in the British victory. He was successful in establishing the British rule over South India and was instrumental in Bengal victory also. After the Battle of Plassey in 1757, he gained control over the Nawab of Bengal also. Clive amassed immense wealth in all these ventures and helped the East India Company to earn more profit. Clive returned to England with immense wealth rich and became the Member of Parliament. With the return of Clive to England, the East India Company started facing losses in its business. Even though, there were many allegations against Clive, the British government had to resend Clive to India to save the company and also save the face of the country. The British won the Buxar battle and earned back its respect again. Clive was successful in securing the Dewani rights for the British over Bengal, Bihar and Odisha regions. This brought more wealth to Robert Clive and to East India Company as well.

Dupleix was named the Governor General of French regions in India in 1742. He dreamt of achieving French harmony over India and entered into treaties with the local kings. Hyder Ali was also trained in the army of locals raised by Dupleix. The British considered Dupleix as a formidable challenge to them. Hence, we notice clashes over between the French and the British to gain supremacy over Carnatic and Deccan Plateau. Dupleix played an important role in the First Carnatic War in 1746. The rivalry between the French and the British continued till 1754. Later, French. government recalled Dupleix as it wanted peace. The British Rule in India After gaining political control over South India, the British tried to gain control over rich Bengal province in the later part of 18th century. The Bengal province had achieved tremendous growth in the area of agriculture, commerce and industry. The East India Company was making considerable profit from this province. The Dastakths (Licence)
issued by the Mughal ruler Faruk Shiara were the main reasons for this. But, these Dastakths that were limited to the company transactions were misused by the individual officers of the company too. This resulted in huge loss to the Bengal government. Hence, all Nawabs from Murashid. Ali Khan to Ali Wardhikhan were opposing such misuses. Later this led to confrontation between the Nawabs and the company. This resulted in two crucial wars which charted a decisive course to Indian history. Plassey and Buxar were those two wars.

Know this:

Dastakath-a license that can ensure anyone to import and export without paying any tax and transport goods anywhere. Battle of Plassey (1757): Aliwardi Khan, the Nawab of Bengal died in 1756. His grandson Siraj-ud-Daula came to throne. The Plassey Battle took place between the young Nawab Siraj-ud-Daula and the British in 1757.

1. Misuse of Dastakaths: Siraj-ud-Daula was furious that the Dastakaths were misused by the officials of the company incurring losses to the government treasury.

2. Mending of the fort without permission: The British repaired the fort of Calcutta and placed canons in them. This further angered Siraj-ud-Daula and he ordered the removal of canons from the court. The British refused to do this angering the Nawab further.

3. Black Room Tragedy: Siraj-ud-Daula conquered the Fort Willaim easily and imprisoned some of the British. He imprisoned 146 Englishmen in a small room in the fort, of which 123 died. This is called as the Black Room Tragedy. This enraged Robert Clive and arrived in Bengal with a large army. Robert Clive attracted rich locals like Manikchand, Omichand, Jagath Seth and others towards him. He was successful in convincing Mir Jaffar, the military head of Siraj-ud-Daula to stay neutral in the battle by offering him the post of Nawab of Bengal. Encouraged by all these developments, Robert Clive declared war against Siraj-ud-Daula. Everything went according to the plan of Clive. Siraj-ud-Daula who tried to escape from the battle field was captured and killed.

1. This war brought out the immorality, lack of unity among the Indians and the greed of Indian businessmen.

2. Mir Jaffar became the Nawab of Bengal.

3. The company gained exclusive rights to do business in Bengal.

4. Mir Jaffar had to a pay rupees seventeen corner and seventy lakh to as a relief to Sirja-ud-Dulah’s attack on the Fort William. In nutshell, Mir Jaffar became continuous victim of the company and its employees. Even though the treasury went bankrupt due to this greedy nature, the greediness of the company and its officials were never satisfied. The British projected Mir Jaffar as an inefficient Nawab and brought in his nephew Mir Qasim as the new Nawab. Battle of Buxar (1764): Mir Qasim was an efficient administrator. In the beginning he remained loyal to the company. He paid two lakh pounds to the company and gave away few places to it. Shortly, he declared himself as an independent King. After verifying the misuse of Dastakaths, he declared that the business is duty free in Bengal. As a result, the Indians competed against British in all spheres of business. As a result, the British trade suffered considerably. This was enough for the British to oppose the Nawab. They brought in Mir Jaffar again and dethroned Mir Qasim. As Mir Qasim knew about the cunningness of the British, he went for an organized war against them. He was supported by the Indian merchants and artisans. Mir Qasim entered into agreements with the Mughal ruler Sha Alam-II and Nawab of Awadh ‘Shuj-ud-daul’. The combined forces of Mir Qasim faced the British army led by Hector Munro at Buxar in 1764. Mir Qasim got defeated and ran away from the battle field. Sha Alam-II surrendered. The efforts of the combined forces
to stop the British force failed completely.

1. Sha Alam-II accorded the Dewani rights over Bengal to the British.

2. Sha Alam-II gave away all the rights over Bengal to the British for an annual fee of rupees 26 lakhs.

3. The Nawab of Awadh had to give away a fine of rupees 50 lakh for waging a war against the company.

4. With the death of Mir Jaffar, the company paid pension to his son and took over the entire administration of Bengal.

Know this:
Dewani Rights: The right to collect land taxes The Buxar battle made the British as the real holders of power over Bihar, Bengal and Odisha provinces. Even Awadh remained under their control. In 1765, Robert Clive brought in ‘Dual-government’ concept. As per this concept, the British had the right to collect land taxes, whereas the Nawab had power over
administrative issues like justice and others. Like this, the British gained political control over India to protect their business interest.

Know this:
In 1600 – The East India Company was established
In 1602 – United East India Company was established in Netherlands
In 1619 – The Mughal emperor Jahangir issued royal charter allowing the British to conduct trade in Surat, on the west coast and in Hugli, on the east coast.
In 1639 – The English established their first warehouse in Madrass
In 1664 – French East India Company was established in France
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Item Reviewed: ADVENT OF EUROPEANS TO INDIA Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Farhan Rasheed
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