The advent of Europeans – British in India

The English in India (British in India)

The English came to India as a trading company with the charter of Queen Elizabeth I. The name of that trading company was –Governor and Company of Merchants of London trading in the East Indies. The English company was very progressive in India, as they were very interested in the benefits of trade.

  • Captain Hawkins arrived in India in the court of Jahangir in April 1609, to establish a factory in Surat but he failed at that time because of the opposition of the Portuguese. They started trading at Masulipatnam on the southeastern coast of India and later established a factory in 1616.
  • King of Portugal gifted Bombay to King Charles II as he married Portuguese princess Catherine, and then Bombay was given to East India Company on an annual payment of ten pounds in 1668.
  • The headquarter shifted from Surat to Bombay in 1687.

The English position was improving, and it was moreover improved by ‘The Golden Farman’ issued to them by the Sultan of Golconda in 1632. They extended their trading activities towards the east and started factories at Hariharpur in the Mahanadi delta and at Balasore (Odisha) in 1633.

The emergence of the British in India

The emergence of the British in India

The British became very strong in Bengal. They were allowed by Shah Shuja the “subahdar of Bengal” to trade in Bengal in return for Rs 3000 annual payment in 1651 and started factories at Hooghly in 1651 after that other places like Kasimbazar, Patna, and Rajmahal were taken.

  • The English had now succeeded to get permission for buying Zamindari for three months of villages of Sutanauti, Gobindapur, and Kalikata(kali ghat) on payment of Rs. 1200 in 1698. It was named Fort William in the year 1700 and became the seat of the Eastern Presidency (Calcutta), Sir Charles Eyer was the first president.
  • Now the time was coming as the main deal worked under John Saruman as the Mughal emperor Farrukhsiyar made three famous Farmans by giving the Company many valuable privileges in the Bengal, Gujarat, and Hyderabad. These Farmans regarded the Magna Carta of the company. In the Magna Carta, the Important terms were
    • In Bengal, the Company’s imports and exports were exempted from additional customs duties except for the annual payment of Rs. 3,000 as settled earlier.
    • The Company got permission to issue dastaks (passes) for the transportation of such goods.
    • The Company got permission to rent more land around Calcutta.
    • The Company retained its existing privilege of freedom from duties of trade and had to pay the prevailing rent only for Madras in Hyderabad.
    • It was conditioned that the coins of the Company minted in Bombay were to have currency throughout the Mughal Empire.

After all the trading and benefit they were very interested in politics and gaining power in India. 

The French in India

The French were the last Europeans who came to India for trade and benefits purposes. The Compagnie des Indes Orientales (French East India Company), was laid by the minister of King Louis XIV in 1664, the king was also very interested in the company.

  • This company was granted a 50-year monopoly on French trade in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. After that in 1667 setting up a factory in Surat India.
  • Mercara, a Persian and assistant of Caron, founded another French factory in Masulipatnam in 1669, after getting a patent from the Sultan of Golconda.
  • French obtained permission from Shaista Khan (Mughal subahdar of Bengal) to establish a township at Chandernagore near Calcutta in 1673.
  • The French were also interested in power and politics in India like the English. So they started to obtain power in India.

The Nerve Centre of French power was Pondicherry. In 1673, Sher Khan Lodi (the governor of Valikondapuram) granted a site for a settlement to the director of the Masulipatnam factory (Francois Martin).

In 1674 After taking charge of Pondicherry, Francois Martin developed it as a place of importance. It strengthened the power of the French in India, but the power was badly affected as the Pondicherry was captured by the Dutch in 1693.

  • The Treaty of Ryswick restored Pondicherry to the French in 1697. (treaty between Dutch and French)
  • French had the drawback as Francois Martin died on December 31, 1706.

Dupleix in India

Reorganization of the French company

After these drawbacks, the French company reorganized in 1720 as the ‘Perpetual Company of the Indies’ and regained its strength and was enhanced by the governors Lenoir and Dumas between 1720 and 1742. 

Carnatic Wars: For supremacy the Anglo-French Struggle

As we know both of these companies came for trade but after some time both got interested in politics and gaining power in India

First Carnatic War – (1740-48):

The name Carnatic war was given by Europeans to the Coromandel coast and its hinterland. The immediate reason for the first Carnatic war was ‘the English navies under Barnet seized some French ships to provoke France.’ After that, France reacted by seizing Madras in 1746 with the help of Mauritius, the Isle of France, under Admiral La Bourdonnais, the French governor of Mauritius. Thus the first Carnatic War began.

  • The war ended in 1748 with the Treaty of Aix-La Chapelle was signed.
  • A small French army under Captain Paradise was defeated by the strong Indian army under Mahfuz Khan at St. Thome (madras) on the banks of the River Adyar. The defeat was a hint for the British and they found that a well-organized small army could defeat a large number of Indian army as there was no discipline in them for war.

Second Carnatic War -(1749-54):

The background of this war was rivalry in India. In the first Carnatic war, the French succeeded in the Leadership of Dupleix. That strengthened French power.

  • The immediate cause of war Death of Nizam-ul-Mulk in 1748, who was the founder of the independent kingdom of Hyderabad, and the Nawab of Carnatic- Chanda sahib was released by Marathas. Nasir Jang the son of the Nizam opposed Muzaffar Jang son of Nawab also claimed the throne.
  • The French supported the claims of Muzaffar Jang and Chanda Sahib in the Deccan and Carnatic, respectively, while the English were with Nasir Jang and Anwar-ud-din.
  • The result– As a result of the war the French faced heavy loss of finance and recalled Dupleix in 1754.
  • As French governor-general in India Godeheu succeeded Dupleix.
Third Carnatic War -(1758-63):
In 1758 the English forts of St. David and Vizianagaram were captured by the French army.
  • Battle of Wandiwash –The battle of the Third Carnatic War was won by the English on January 22, 1760, at Wandiwash or Vandavasi in Tamil Nadu.
  • Ended with the Treaty of Peace of Paris in 1763 and restored to the French their factories in India. After this war, the French political power was gone.

The English proved the supreme European power in the Indian subcontinent, and the Dutch had already been defeated in the Battle of Bidara in 1759.

  • After the battle of Plassey (1757), it is said that the British rule over India started.
Main Causes of the English Success than other Europeans
  • Structure and Nature of the Trading Companies- It was formed by various rival companies and had control of a board of directors whose members were elected annually.
  • Naval Superiority- The British Royal Navy was the largest and most advanced at that time.
  • Industrial Revolution- In England the Industrial Revolution started in the early 18th century, machines like the spinning Jenny, the steam engine, the power loom, and several other new machines were invented.
  • Military Skill and Discipline- British soldiers were disciplined and well-trained. Smaller groups of English fighters defeat larger armies.
  • Stable Government- The British had a more stable government than other Europeans.
  • They had a Lesser Zeal for Religion-  They were less interested in spreading Christianity, as compared to Spain, Portugal, or the Dutch.
  • Use of Debt Market- They used the debt markets to fund their wars.

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