The Age of Slave Trade gave away to the rapid British imperialistic expansion of commercial venues during the early modern era. Imperialistic style regimes were established in many British colonies, including the Indian subcontinent. Like the Atlantic Slave Trade, immense amounts of wealth, power, and prestige could be acquired though imperialistic establishments. Powered by the desire for wealth, fierce competition, and foreign influence, commercial monopolies and European governments dominated foreign regions all over the world, transforming them in the process. Embodied within the founding of civilization, ethnocentric views over the natives of conquered regions was common among Europeans. British and other European citizens sometimes believed that it was their duty to “civilize the barbaric savages.”
The first stage of British Expansion and development in India was marked with the initial establishments of numerous European commercial monopolies, which were granted by the government. The British presence was primarily along coastal points of the subcontinent. The Dutch and English East India Company, founded17th and 18th century, respectively, were the largest of these corporations. Almost all import and export transactions were made through these companies. Raw materials including cotton were shipped from India to England and manufactured into finish East India House goods, such as washable fabrics for furniture and clothing. The finished product would then be sold at The Elizabethan Manson astronomical prices to native Indian merchants. The served as the headquarters for East India Trading Company later expanded into the East India Company. It was Madras, Calcutta, and Bombay; transforming the villages into British controlled, commercial venues. located on Leadenhall Street, The establishment of trading ports served as the London. foundations of British rule in India.
During the late 18th century, the military and government wealth was squandered, by regional Princes, in efforts to project and extend their borders. The weakened Indian kingdoms and the decline of the Mughal Empire enabled the British to gradually conquer inland, resembling the Dutch in Java (Region of the Indonesian Archipelago). The first signs of British intervention in Indian politics and increased expansion arose in 1750. British merchants were very hostile towards natives and trading company officials often interfered with disputes between local princes. Due to the Industrial Revolution in Europe, many new communication devices were invented, allowing messages to be instantly sent. Communication played principle role in the British annex of India. For the first time, the British Parliament had much more direct control over the commanders and proceedings in India. Additionally, trade companies started to heavily recruit native Indians for the military (Sepoys). The initial trading ports on the Indian Coastline (Madras, Bombay, and Calcutta) were modified into administrative centers for most of the British controlled region. Despite the rising power of the British Raj, feuds continued to weaken Indian Princes. Natives were even willing to serve the British, where conditions and pay were higher. Sepoys would later play a tremendous role in assisting the British in conquering, sections of the Middles East, China, and South and East Africa. Background-Mughal Empire Society
The British annexation of India was met with limited opposition, mainly after the reforms enacted that interfered with traditional cultures and customs. However, several conflicts developed with the French in the 1740’s. Stragglers to the Indian trade, the French tried to gain a section of land in India. These conflicts came to a closure in 1763 and resulted in British control of the Southeast region, most significantly Bengal. Many of the servants who worked for the East India Company were assigned government administrative positions (mainly tax collecting and military) and top officials in the company assigned as governors to each province in colonial India. Although the East India Company officials were the authoritative figures in the British control, the company had to submit to constant supervision and inquiry, by the LondonSoldiers of East India Comp. Parliament. Huge armies, mainly composed of Sepoys were formed to defend the borders and prevent any potential…“Many of the servants who internal or external threat. Government court proceedingsworked for the the East India continued to go by Hindu and Islamic Laws, but were placed under the supervision of British Judges. Initially,Company were assigned British governors viewed the Indian Institutions as wellgovernment administrative adapted to the Indian society; however the attitude for many would later change and officials would startPositions…” imposing reforms to “civilize” the natives.(Extracted from Main Text)
How did the enacted reforms to civilize the natives, affect the British and Indians?
The high rate of corruption among East India Company officials forced the British parliament to enact a string of reforms that altered the control over India. The power of local British authoritative figures was greatly reduced and new laws were authorized. Jeremy Bentham and James Miller, two prominent Utilitarian philosophers, believed that for India to become must be reformed to civilize its society and raise its standards of living. Utilitarian held an ethnocentric outlook over the inferior Indian society. Indian society was originally seen by the British as well adept to the lifestyle; however Utilitarian Philosophers the opinion for many would later change. Both prominent figures in Officials believed that India was suffering from England, Jeremy Bentham underdevelopment and needed the British and James Miller both reforms for improvement in all societal aspects; believed that India society thus beginner an era of imperialistic revolution. was far below the levels of civil decency.
Evangelicals and Utilitarian were both advent supporters of reforming Indian society. The two groups challenged the religious superstitions and shocking social abuses of India. India and other British Imperialistic domains were forced to cope with the dramatic revival of European Evangelicals. These religious revivals pushed for the installment of British institutions in India. Education systems were reformed to conform with the British, enabling children of wealthy families, to be educated through western institutions. Since this reform maintained the inferiority of all native Indians and justification for lower wages, it remained very popular among the British. Due to the industrial revolution in Europe, many new inventions and innovative methods were proposed in Europe. The British government gradually introduced the inventions to India, as well as the other British colonies were. Natives were forced to infuse the new technology with their traditional lifestyle. Sati The ritual suicide of a Not only was technology being infused into India, but new scientific methods, and widow was seen as philosophical ideas were being brought into the British domain. For the first time, barbaric, by the British. croplands were measured and recorded by the government and restrictions were Many British citizens placed on sections of forestland for scientific research. encouraged the eradication of such social Seen as inhumane and barbaric, Sati, the traditional suicide for widows, was practices outlawed by the British, in efforts to oppress the “savages.” During this era, British citizens held very high levels of confidence and superiority and often felt that it was their duty to humanize the natives.
The imperialistic regime over India included both positive and negative impacts for the natives and the British. The effects can be accurately labeled as a “blessing within a curse.” For the British, immense amounts of wealth and prestige were garnered through the control of India, known as the “Jewel of the British Crown.” Unfortunately, the new ideas and inventions of the British were what pushed and even aided in the Indian revolts. In contrast to the popular belief that British control was pure tyranny, the innovations brought over would aid in the modernization and urbanization of India. However, natives were often brutally suppressed, exploited, and had absolutely no control over their liberty or virtues. The exchange of cultures and traditions led to cultural diffusion along the region. The enlightenment philosophies of democratic institutions were quickly spread through the new communication devices. Soon, the reforms by the British were utilized by the natives against them. Background: Chennai Central Station Est. in 1873, by the British, the station is still used today.
Beginning in the mid 19th century with the Sepoy Rebellion, the first movements of national liberty began to occur. Although the Indian Mutiny of 1857 was sparked through the hatred of British Imperialistic reforms and technological innovations, it was invigorated, by Indian kings and princes working to gain and preserve the lost rights of dynastic succession, threatened by British Rule. After the Sepoy Rebellion, the British parliament in London took direct control over Indian affairs from the East India Company. Native Indians would soon begin to use the new western technology, communication devices, and education to their advantage, against the British. Those who belonged to wealthy educated class founded the Indian National Conference (INC) in 1885. The aim for this organization was to promote the natives leverage in the foreign government of India. Throughout the early Sepoy Rebellion 20th century the national movement for equality intensified and INC continued to press for domain in the government, leading to The Sepoy Rebellion was the introduction of the Government of India Act in 1935. While it one of the earliest revolts enabled Indians have some power only in domestic affairs, it failed to work out cooperation with local princes and establish truce against the British. Even between the religious rivalry of Muslims and Hindus. The Indian though it was quickly Independence Act was official signed on the midnight between August 14th and 15th, 1947, marking the end of seven centuries of suppressed, it sent a foreign regimes. message to the British
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